eventlet-py3k / README.twisted

--work in progress--

Twisted provides solid foundation for asynchronous programming in Python.
Eventlet makes asynchronous programming look like synchronous, thus
achieving higher signal-to-noise ratio than traditional twisted programs have.

Eventlet on top of twisted provides:
 * stable twisted
 * usable and readable synchronous style
 * existing twisted code can be used without any changes
 * existing blocking code can be used after trivial changes applied

Eventlet features:

 * utilities for spawning and controlling greenlet execution:
   api.spawn, api.kill, proc module
 * utilities for communicating between greenlets:
   coros.event, coros.queue, proc module
 * standard Python modules that won't block the reactor: package
 * utilities specific to twisted hub:
   eventlet.twistedutil package

Getting started with eventlet on twisted

This section will only mention stuff that may be useful but it
won't explain in details how to use it. For that, refer to the
docstrings of the modules and the examples.

There are 2 ways of using twisted with eventlet, one that is
familiar to twisted developers and another that is familiar
to eventlet developers:

 1. explicitly start the main loop in the main greenlet;
 2. implicitly start the main loop in a dedicated greenlet.

To enable (1), add this line at the top of your program:
from eventlet.twistedutil import join_reactor
then start the reactor as you would do in a regular twisted application.

For (2) just make sure that you have reactor installed before using
any of eventlet functions. Otherwise a non-twisted hub will be selected
and twisted code won't work.

Most of examples/twisted_* use twisted style with the exception of and All of the non-twisted
examples in examples directory use eventlet-style (they work with any
of eventlet's hubs, not just twisted-based).

Eventlet implements "blocking" operations by switching to the main loop
greenlet, thus it's impossible to call a blocking function when you are
already in the main loop. Therefore one must be cautious in a twisted
callback, calling only a non-blocking subset of eventlet API here. The
following functions won't unschedule the current greenlet and are safe
to call from anywhere:

1. Greenlet creation functions: api.spawn, proc.spawn,
   twistedutil.deferToGreenThread and others based on api.spawn.

2. send(), send_exception(), poll(), ready() methods of coros.event
   and coros.Queue.

3. wait(timeout=0) is identical to poll(). Currently only Proc.wait
   supports timeout parameter.


Other classes that use these names should follow the convention.

For an example on how to take advantage of eventlet in a twisted
application using deferToGreenThread see examples/

Although eventlet provides module that implements
interface of the standard Python socket, there's also a way to use twisted's
network code in a synchronous fashion via GreenTransport class.
A GreenTransport interface is reminiscent of socket but it's not a drop-in
replacement. It combines features of TCPTransport and Protocol in a single

 * all of transport methods (like getPeer()) are available directly on
   a GreenTransport instance; in addition, underlying transport object
   is available via 'transport' attribute;
 * write method is overriden: it may block if transport write buffer is full;
 * read() and recv() methods are provided to retrieve the data from protocol

To make a GreenTransport instance use twistedutil.protocol.GreenClientCreator
(usage is similar to that of twisted.internet.protocol.ClientCreator)

For an example on how to get a connected GreenTransport instance,
see, or
For an example on how to use GreenTransport for incoming connections,

* twistedutil.block_on - wait for a deferred to fire
  block_on(reactor.callInThread(func, args))
* twistedutil.protocol.basic.LineOnlyReceiverTransport - a green transport
  variant built on top of LineOnlyReceiver protocol. Demonstrates how
  to convert a protocol to a synchronous mode.


To understand how eventlet works, one has to understand how to use greenlet:

Essential points

* There always exists MAIN greenlet
* Every greenlet except MAIN has a parent. MAIN therefore could be detected as g.parent is None
* When greenlet is finished it's return value is propagated to the parent (i.e. switch() call
  in the parent greenlet returns it)
* When an exception leaves a greelen, it's propagated to the parent (i.e. switch() in the parent
  re-raises it) unless it's a subclass of GreenletExit, which is returned as a value.
* parent can be reassigned (by simply setting 'parent' attribute). A cycle would be detected and
  rejected with ValueError

Note, that there's no scheduler of any sort; if a coroutine wants to be
scheduled again it must take care of it itself. As an application developer,
however, you don't need to worry about it as that's what eventlet does behind
the scenes. The cost of that is that you should not use greenlet's switch() and
throw() methods, they will likely leave the current greenlet unscheduled
forever. Eventlet also takes advantage of greenlet's `parent' attribute,
so you should not meddle with it either.

How does eventlet work

Twisted's reactor and eventlet's hub are very similar in what they do.
Both continuously perform polling on the list of registered descriptors
and each time a specific event is fired, the associated callback function
is called. In addition, both maintain a list of scheduled calls.

Polling is performed by the main loop - a function that both reactor and hub have.
When twisted calls user's callback it's expected to return almost immediately,
without any blocking I/O calls.

Eventlet runs the main loop in a dedicated greenlet (MAIN_LOOP). It is the same
greenlet as MAIN if you use join_reactor. Otherwise it's a separate greenlet
started implicitly. The execution is organized in a such way that the switching
always involves MAIN_LOOP. All of functions in eventlet that appear "blocking"
use the following algorithm:

1. register a callback that switches back to the current greenlet when
   an event of interest happens
2. switch to the MAIN_LOOP

For example, here's what eventlet's socket recv() does:

= blocking operation RECV on socket d =

user's greenlet (USER)             main loop's greenlet (MAIN_LOOP)
(inside d.recv() call)
add_descriptor(d, RECV)
data=MAIN_LOOP.switch() ---------> poll for events
  ^---------------------\               |
                        |              ... ---------------------------> may execute other greenlets here
                        |               |
                        |          event RECV on descriptor d?
                        |               |
                        |          d.remove_descriptor(d, RECV)
                        |               |
                        |          data = d.recv() # calling blocking op that will return immediately
                        |               |
                        \--------- USER.switch(data) # argument data here becomes return value in user's switch
  return data