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FW: publish Last Call Working Draft of Web Workers; deadline March 7

From: Travis Leithead <Travis.Leithead@microsoft.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 21:34:58 +0000
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
CC: public-webapps <public-webapps@w3.org>, Travis Leithead <Travis.Leithead@microsoft.com>, Adrian Bateman <adrianba@microsoft.com>
Message-ID: <9768D477C67135458BF978A45BCF9B38307CEAA6@TK5EX14MBXW603.wingroup.windeploy.ntdev.microsoft.com>
>From: Ian Hickson [mailto:ian@hixie.ch]
>Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:19 PM
>On Wed, 9 Mar 2011, Adrian Bateman wrote:
>> Based on our understanding of the web worker lifetime model (Section
>> 4.4), dedicated workers are allowed to enter into an "orphaned" state
>> where they have a message port that is keeping them alive (see example
>> at the end of this feedback).
>I do not believe this is entirely accurate. It's the combination of having
>a document owner and having something that protects it (like a port) that
>keeps a worker alive.

I was just simplifying, but you are correct. It's guaranteed to be alive while it is protected.

>> We can imagine scenarios where the
>> orphaned workers are still able to provide "results" to a document
>> (e.g., via connecting to a shared worker), however these use cases 1)
>> seem largely irrelevant, 2) can be handled by shared workers if needed
>> and 3) overly complicate the implementation (in our analysis) of
>> dedicated workers.
>I strongly disagree with point (1). The great thing about the
>MessageChannel / Web Worker model is that you can create a worker, have it
>vend a port, and then forget about the worker but still have everything
>work. It is an absolutely key feature of the API. I don't see how shared
>workers would do this better.
>Could you elaborate on why it complicates the implementation?

We imagine that being able to "cascade-delete" workers when an owning worker/document is closed is easier than explicitly managing each worker's lifetime separately. However, an actual implementation would be required to know for sure. I deduce this based on Opera's choice of implementation. 

>> We note that no browser appears to implement the lifetime model as
>> specified in the latest editor's draft (that we can test).
>Do you have a test I could examine to test this?

We tried a scenario similar to the one described below:
1. D creates W1
2. W1 creates W2
3. Message channel M1 established between D and W2
4. W1 is closed (via close() or by terminate())
5. D uses M1 to try and get a response from W2
   If so, test passes
   If not, test fails (when W1 closed, it took W2 with it)

>> 1 - Lifetime based on a dedicated worker's document "reachability":
>> This alternate lifetime model keeps a dedicated worker alive until it
>> can no longer communicate with the document(s) to which it is
>> associated (through its implicit port or any other port). This
>> proposed lifetime model is based on graph reachability, where the
>> nodes in the graph are web workers and the arcs in the graph are
>> implicit and explicit message ports owned by a worker (i.e., "the
>> worker's ports"). A dedicated worker's lifetime is managed by whether the
>dedicated worker can "reach"
>> the document(s) in its list of "the worker's documents". See the
>> example at the end for how the currently speced lifetime model changes
>> with this approach.
>It has to be more than just reachability of the original document, because
>otherwise if an iframe vends a port from a worker to its parent, and then
>drops all references, this would expose specifics about GC behaviour.
>> 2 - Lifetime that prevents orphaning dedicated workers: In this
>> alternate lifetime model, orphaned dedicated workers are never
>> allowed, and the lifetime of the worker is strictly controlled by its
>> implicit port. Therefore, whenever a worker creates another worker, if
>> the "parent" worker is terminated or closed, then the "child" worker
>> will be terminated or closed as well (preventing the child from
>> becoming an orphan). This model is enforced regardless of other
>> message ports that the child may have.
>This doesn't seem significantly simpler than what we have now, for
>implementations (it's just keeping track of one port instead of a list),
>while being significantly less useful for authors (no "fire-and-forget"
>model is possible). Since "fire-and-forget" is an important use case, I do
>not believe we should do this.

Indeed the fire-and-forget model was raised as a valid scenario in a different thread.

>> Example that creates an orphaned dedicated workers:
>> Steps:
>>   1. Document 'D' creates dedicated worker 'W1'
>>   2. Dedicated worker W1 creates a dedicated worker 'W2'
>>   3. Document 'D' creates dedicated worker 'W3'
>>   4. Dedicated worker W3 creates a dedicated worker 'W4'
>>      (At this point W1 and W3 are "parent" workers and W2 and W4 are
>"child" workers.)
>>   5. W1 creates a message channel and passes the channel's ports to
>document 'D' and 'W2'
>>   6. W3 creates a message channel and passes the channel's ports to
>document 'D' and 'W4'
>>      ('D' now has an independent message port for W2 and W4.)
>>   7. Document 'D' creates a message channel and passes the channel's
>ports to 'W2' and 'W4'
>>      (W2 and W4 now have a direct communication channel between
>>   8. Document 'D' terminates worker 'W1'
>>      (Terminating W1 causes all W1's ports to be disentangled [step 15 of
>section 4.5
>>      processing model] which effects W2's implicit port; however, W2 is
>not terminated
>>      because it is still considered a "protected" worker, since its list
>of the worker's
>>      ports is not empty.)
>>   9. Document 'D' terminates worker 'W3'
>>      ('D' still has communication ports with W2 and W4 and can test that
>they are still
>>      alive. W2 and W4 are now "orphaned" from their original creator, but
>still have a
>>      connection to the document 'D'.)
>>   10. Document 'D' closes the port connected to 'W2'
>>       (W2 is now only connected via a message port to W4, and can send
>information to
>>       'D' via W4.)
>>   11. Document 'D' closes the port connected to 'W4'
>>       (Document 'D' now has *no* connections to W2 or W4-those workers
>are completely
>>       orphaned from it. However, W2 and W4 are still alive because they
>are "protected"
>>       since they have a message port connection to each other.)
>> At this point, the only way (that we can think of) for W2 and W4 to
>> "report back" to document 'D' is by connecting to a shared worker that
>> can broker communications between these workers and document 'D' (if
>document 'D' connects to this same shared worker).
>They can also communicate via the network, or via IndexDB.
>Note that there's a whole host of reasons why they might not need to ever
>communicate back to D, though.
>Suppose that W1 is a Network API, and W3 is a User Contacts Database API.
>D creates W1 and W3 because it needs a network and it needs contacts. It
>then asks W1 for a port so that it can give W3 access to the network; W1
>sends back to D that port and D sends it on to W3.
>W3 then spans a worker (W4) to handle network synchronistion, and passes it
>the network port. It can drop its direct connection to W4 because W4 is
>just going to be monitoring the database and the network (via its port to
>W1) and updating things.
>W1 similarly offloads its low-level network duties to a separate worker, in
>this case W2.
>At this point, everything is working just fine, with the contacts database
>being updated in the background. Why should D, W1, and W3 keep all the
>references to the objects they are never going to use again? It seems like
>it would make the API really confusing to authors if things broke unless
>they kept references around. Nothing in the Web platform has worked like
>that so far -- for example, you can create an XHR object, set up event
>handlers, and then forget all about it and it'll still contact the network
>and do its stuff.

This is a fine example that justifies keeping the spec's object lifetime as-is.
Received on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 21:35:33 UTC

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