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Timeout vs Blocking operations


Iterate with timeout

While using platonic-sqs in real development practice, I found out that it lacks an important feature: a function named SQSReceiver.iterate_with_timeout(timeout=...) to continue reading messages from the queue until, while waiting for the next message, a timeout occurs.

This function we often had to implement ourselves, creating the boilerplate that I specifically tried to avoid by starting the whole platonic project.

Short vs Long polling

In current implementation, receive() and __iter__() are using the ReceiveMessage API call without WaitTimeSeconds parameter, which means they rely upon short polling instead of long polling.

Short polling means we only query a subset of SQS servers to optimize for performance. Since we repeat the call in cycle, we are likely to pay for a handful of empty receive events.

Timeout length

Right now, we support providing timeout as timedelta() instance. We convert it to seconds count and then provide as WaitTimeSeconds parameter to the aforementioned ReceiveMessage call. But in fact, the max value of that parameter is 20:

Value 50 for parameter WaitTimeSeconds is invalid. Reason: must be <= 0 and >= 20 if provided.

which is not properly handled in the library code.

Interface structure

While adding new operations to the class, we have to avoid overly cluttering it. The interface of the class should stay concise and minimalistic. How do we organize the interface of the platonic Queue class and its derivatives to solve this issue?


Every operation which entails reading from the queue supports two variants: timeout operation and blocking operation. Examples:

Blocking Timeout
One receive() receive_with_timeout()
Many __iter__() iterate_with_timeout()

But in fact, the blocking operations can be represented as timeout operations with timeout=INFINITY. To encapsulate timeout behavior, we are going to create a new Timeout class with a number of subclasses.

Usage of Timeout class

timeout = ConstantTimeout(timeout=timedelta(minutes=5))

with timeout.timer() as as timer:
    while timer.remaining_seconds > 0:
        ...  # do something

An ConstantTimeout or InfiniteTimeout instance is going to be passed to constructor of the queue.


We will easily iterate over a queue using the iterator protocol - this is both idiomatic and will support timeouts.

I believe that, in most cases, when having created a queue, people will only care about blocking operations or about operations that timeout, not both at the same queue object.


The idea originated from a discussion with Artem Malyshev. Grazie mille!