lwt_eio

Run Lwt code within Eio
README

Lwt_eio is a Lwt engine that uses Eio.
It can be used to run Lwt and Eio code in a single domain.
It allows converting existing code to Eio incrementally.

See lib/lwt_eio.mli for the API.

The examples directory contains some example programs and instructions on using them.

Porting a Lwt Application to Eio

This guide will show how to migrate an existing Lwt application or library to Eio.
We'll start with this Lwt program, which reads in a list of lines, sorts them,
and writes the result to stdout:

# #require "lwt.unix";;
# open Lwt.Syntax;;

# let process_lines src fn =
    let stream = Lwt_io.read_lines src in
    let* lines = Lwt_stream.to_list stream in
    let* lines = fn lines in
    let rec write = function
      | [] -> Lwt.return_unit
      | x :: xs ->
        let* () = Lwt_io.(write_line stdout) x in
        write xs
    in
    let* () = write lines in
    Lwt_io.(flush stdout);;
val process_lines :
  Lwt_io.input_channel -> (string list -> string list Lwt.t) -> unit Lwt.t =
  <fun>

# let sort src =
    process_lines src @@ fun lines ->
    let* () = Lwt.pause () in       (* Simulate async work *)
    Lwt.return (List.sort String.compare lines);;
val sort : Lwt_io.input_channel -> unit Lwt.t = <fun>

# Lwt_main.run begin
    let input = Lwt_io.(of_bytes ~mode:input)
      (Lwt_bytes.of_bytes (Bytes.of_string "b\na\nd\nc\n")) in
    sort input
  end;;
a
b
c
d
- : unit = ()

The first step is to replace Lwt_main.run, and check that the program still works:

# #require "eio_main";;
# #require "lwt_eio";;
# open Eio.Std;;

# Eio_main.run @@ fun env ->
  Lwt_eio.with_event_loop ~clock:env#clock @@ fun _ ->
  Lwt_eio.Promise.await_lwt begin
    let input = Lwt_io.(of_bytes ~mode:input)
      (Lwt_bytes.of_bytes (Bytes.of_string "b\na\nd\nc\n")) in
    sort input
  end;;
a
b
c
d
- : unit = ()

Here, we're using the Eio event loop instead of the normal Lwt one,
but everything else stays the same.

Note: When I first tried this, it failed with Fatal error: exception Unhandled
because I'd forgotten to flush stdout in the Lwt code.
That meant that sort returned before Lwt had completely finished and then it
tried to flush lazily after the Eio loop had finished, which is an error.

We can now start converting code to Eio.
There are several places we could start.
Here we'll begin with the process_lines function.
We'll take an Eio flow instead of a Lwt_io input:

# let process_lines src fn =
    let* lines =
      Lwt_eio.run_eio @@ fun () ->
      Eio.Buf_read.of_flow src ~max_size:max_int
      |> Eio.Buf_read.lines
      |> List.of_seq
    in
    let* lines = fn lines in
    let rec write = function
      | [] -> Lwt.return_unit
      | x :: xs ->
        let* () = Lwt_io.(write_line stdout) x in
        write xs
    in
    let* () = write lines in
    Lwt_io.(flush stdout);;
val process_lines :
  #Eio.Flow.source -> (string list -> string list Lwt.t) -> unit Lwt.t =
  <fun>

Note that process_lines is still a Lwt function,
but it now uses run_eio internally to read from the input using Eio.

Warning: It's important not to call Eio functions directly from Lwt, but instead wrap such code with run_eio.
If you replace the Lwt_eio.run_eio @@ fun () -> line with Lwt.return @@
then it will appear to work in simple cases, but it will act as a blocking read.
It's similar to trying to turn a blocking call like Stdlib.input_line into an asynchronous one
using Lwt.return. It doesn't actually make it concurrent.

We can now test it using an Eio flow:

# let sort src =
    process_lines src @@ fun lines ->
    let* () = Lwt.pause () in       (* Simulate async work *)
    Lwt.return (List.sort String.compare lines);;
val sort : #Eio.Flow.source -> unit Lwt.t = <fun>

# Eio_main.run @@ fun env ->
  Lwt_eio.with_event_loop ~clock:env#clock @@ fun _ ->
  Lwt_eio.Promise.await_lwt begin
    sort (Eio.Flow.string_source "b\na\nd\nc\n")
  end;;
a
b
c
d
- : unit = ()

Let's finish converting process_lines:

# let process_lines ~src ~dst fn =
    Eio.Buf_read.of_flow src ~max_size:max_int
    |> Eio.Buf_read.lines
    |> List.of_seq
    |> fn
    |> List.iter (fun line ->
       Eio.Flow.copy_string (line ^ "\n") dst
    );;
val process_lines :
  src:#Eio.Flow.source ->
  dst:#Eio.Flow.sink -> (string list -> string list) -> unit = <fun>

Now process_lines is an Eio function. The Lwt.t types have disappeared from its signature.

Note that we now take an extra dst argument for the output:
Eio functions should always receive access to external resources explicitly.

To use the new version, we'll have to update sort to wrap its Lwt callback:

# let sort ~src ~dst =
    process_lines ~src ~dst @@ fun lines ->
    Lwt_eio.Promise.await_lwt begin
      let* () = Lwt.pause () in       (* Simulate async work *)
      Lwt.return (List.sort String.compare lines)
    end;;
val sort : src:#Eio.Flow.source -> dst:#Eio.Flow.sink -> unit = <fun>

sort itself now looks like a normal Eio function from its signature.
We can therefore now call it directly from Eio:

# Eio_main.run @@ fun env ->
  Lwt_eio.with_event_loop ~clock:env#clock @@ fun _ ->
  sort
    ~src:(Eio.Flow.string_source "b\na\nd\nc\n")
    ~dst:env#stdout;;
a
b
c
d
- : unit = ()

Finally, we can convert sort's callback to Eio code and drop the use of Lwt and Lwt_eio completely:

# let sort ~src ~dst =
    process_lines ~src ~dst @@ fun lines ->
    Fiber.yield ();     (* Simulate async work *)
    List.sort String.compare lines;;
val sort : src:#Eio.Flow.source -> dst:#Eio.Flow.sink -> unit = <fun>

# Eio_main.run @@ fun env ->
  sort
    ~src:(Eio.Flow.string_source "b\na\nd\nc\n")
    ~dst:env#stdout;;
a
b
c
d
- : unit = ()

Key points:

  • Start by replacing Lwt_main.run while keeping the rest of the code the same.

  • Update your program piece by piece, using Lwt_eio when moving between Eio and Lwt contexts.

  • Never call Eio code directly from Lwt code. Wrap it with Lwt_eio.run_eio.
    Simply wrapping the result of an Eio call with Lwt.return is NOT safe.

  • Almost all uses of Lwt promises (Lwt.t) should disappear
    (do not blindly replace Lwt promises with Eio promises).

  • You don't have to do the conversion in any particular order.

  • You may need to make other changes to your API. In particular:

    • External resources (such as stdout, the network and the filesystem) should be passed as inputs to Eio code.

    • Take a Switch.t argument if your function creates fibers or file handles that out-live the function.

    • If you are writing a library that requires Lwt_eio, consider having its main function (if any)
      take a value of type Lwt_eio.Token.t. This will remind users of the library to initialise Lwt_eio first.

Limitations

  • Lwt code can only run in a single domain, and using Lwt_eio does not change this.
    You can only run Lwt code in the domain that ran Lwt_eio.with_event_loop.

  • Lwt_eio does not make your Lwt programs run faster than before.
    Lwt jobs are still run by Lwt, and do not take advantage of Eio's io_uring support, for example.

  • Lwt_unix.fork internally uses Unix.fork, and therefore cannot be used when multiple domains are active.

How it works

Integration with Lwt is quite simple, as Lwt already has support for pluggable event loops.
When Lwt wants to wait for a file descriptor to become ready, it calls Lwt_eio,
which forks a new Eio fiber to perform the appropriate operation
(Eio_unix.await_readable, etc) and then calls Lwt's callback.

If Lwt wants to run a blocking operation, it will use a thread from its pool of systhreads to do that.
When the operation is complete, the systhread signals the main thread by making a notification file descriptor become ready,
and this is then picked up by the main event loop in the usual way.

Signals registered with Lwt_unix.on_signal likewise work by waking the main thread.

What all of this means is that Lwt threads and Eio fibers are scheduled using a single queue and do not starve each other
(any more than cooperative threads would do when not mixing concurrency systems).

If an Eio fiber is cancelled while running run_lwt, it cancels the Lwt promise too.
If the Lwt promise returned by run_eio is cancelled, the Eio fiber is cancelled too.

See test/test.md for some tests of this.

Install
Published
21 Jun 2022
Maintainers
Sources
lwt_eio-0.2.tbz
sha256=569e0c4aca057eeed2d2c272642baf16cb7a7266a5c197bdfa2f33e84e8ed4e4
sha512=e7534a9810fbdf12bc36bc67c885e45bf0ad19cbbf9df435b08c0ba6188ad8e52642d6a10b570a762e07756ac393fe5c5e337d5bccec4fb517415c7609e00b6a
Dependencies
odoc
with-doc
eio_main
with-test
mdx
>= "1.10.0" & with-test
eio
>= "0.2"
dune
>= "2.9"
Reverse Dependencies