How to Implement a Simple Task Queue in Node.js

How to Implement a Simple Task Queue in Node.js

Learn how to easily implement Queues in your Node.js apps. Queues are important for managing the execution of long-running tasks to prevent bottlenecks. This tutorial explains and demonstrates queuing systems. Queues are often used to process long-running tasks such as email newsletter delivery.

Learn how to easily implement Queues in your Node.js apps. Queues are important for managing the execution of long-running tasks to prevent bottlenecks.

This tutorial explains and demonstrates queuing systems. Queues are often used to process long-running tasks such as email newsletter delivery.

It’s not always practical to execute a task the moment it’s requested.

Consider an email newsletter administration system. After writing, an administrator must hit a big red “SEND NOW” button. The application could send every email immediately and show a “completed” response. That would work for a dozen messages, but how long would it take for 1,000 subscribers or more? The browser request would time out before the process completed.

Another example: a user can upload any number of photographs to a gallery application. The system resizes and sharpens each image for alternative dimensions. This process could run on upload, but it would to incur a delay for every image.

It’s more effective to decouple tasks in these situations. The user receives an instant response but task processing occurs in the background. Other applications or servers handle tasks and schedule re-attempts on failure. The user can receive alerts or examine logs to determine progress.

Queues

queue is a data structure which holds a collection of items:

  • Any process can send (or enqueue) an item at any time — such as send newsletter X to recipient Y.
  • Any process can receive (or dequeue) the item at the front of the queue — for example, the item that’s been in the queue for longest.

Queues are a first-in-first-out (FIFO) structure. The first item added to the queue will be the first out.

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