Key Features

Dynamic workflow execution graphs

Determine the workflow execution graphs at runtime based on the data you are processing. Cadence does not pre-compute the execution graphs at compile time or at workflow start time. Therefore, you have the ability to write workflows that can dynamically adjust to the amount of data they are processing. If you need to trigger 10 instances of an activity to efficiently process all the data in one run, but only 3 for a subsequent run, you can do that.

Child Workflows

Orchestrate the execution of a workflow from within another workflow. Cadence will return the results of the child workflow execution to the parent workflow upon completion of the child workflow. No polling is required in the parent workflow to monitor the status of the child workflow, making the process efficient and fault tolerant.

Durable Timers

Implement delayed execution of tasks in your workflows that are robust to worker failures. Cadence provides two easy-to-use APIs for implementing time-based events in your workflows: workflow.Sleep and workflow.Timer. Cadence ensures that the timer settings are persisted and the events are generated even if the workers executing the workflow crash.


Modify/influence the execution path of a running workflow by pushing additional data directly to the workflow using a signal. Via the Signal facility, Cadence provides a mechanism to consume external events directly in workflow code.

Task routing

Efficiently process large amounts of data using a Cadence workflow by caching the data locally on a worker and executing all activities meant to process that data on that same worker. Cadence enables you to choose the worker you want to execute a certain activity by scheduling that activity execution in the worker’s specific task list.

Unique workflow ID enforcement

Use business entity IDs for your workflows and let Cadence ensure that only one workflow is running for a particular entity at a time. Cadence implements an atomic “uniqueness check” and ensures that no race conditions are possible that would result in multiple workflow executions for the same workflow ID. Therefore, you can implement your code to attempt to start a workflow without checking if the ID is already in use, even in cases where only one active execution per workflow ID is desired.

Perpetual/ContinueAsNew workflows

Run periodic tasks as a single perpetually running workflow. With the ContinueAsNew facility, Cadence allows you to leverage the “unique workflow ID enforcement” feature for periodic workflows. Cadence completes the current execution and starts the new execution atomically, ensuring that you get to keep your workflow ID. By starting a new execution, Cadence also ensures that workflow execution history does not grow indefinitely for perpetual workflows.

At-most-once activity execution

Execute non-idempotent activities as part of your workflows. Cadence will not automatically retry activities on failure. For every activity execution, Cadence will return a success result, a failure result, or a timeout to the workflow code and let the workflow code determine how each one of those result types should be handled.

Async Activity Completion

Incorporate human input or third-party service asynchronous callbacks into your workflows. Cadence allows a workflow to pause execution on an activity and wait for an external actor to resume it with a callback. During this pause, the activity does not have any actively executing code, such as a polling loop, and is merely an entry in the Cadence datastore. Therefore, the workflow is unaffected by any worker failures happening over the duration of the pause.

Activity Heartbeating

Detect unexpected failures or crashes and track progress in long-running activities early. By configuring your activity to report progress periodically to the Cadence server, you can detect a crash that occurs 10 minutes into an hour-long activity execution much sooner, instead of waiting for the 60-minute execution timeout. The recorded progress before the crash gives you sufficient information to determine whether to restart the activity from the beginning or resume it from the point of failure.

Timeouts for activities and workflow executions

Protect against stuck and unresponsive activities and workflows with appropriate timeout values. Cadence requires that timeout values are provided for every activity or workflow invocation. There is no upper bound on the timeout values, so you can set timeouts that span days, weeks, or even months.


Get a list of all your active and/or completed workflows. Explore the execution history of a particular workflow execution. Cadence provides a set of visibility APIs that allow you, the workflow owner, to monitor past and current workflow executions.


Replay any workflow execution history locally under a debugger. The Cadence client library provides an API that allows you to capture a stack trace from any failed workflow execution history.


Many Cadence users need to get information from workflows. The only data available from the visibility APIs are the workflow ID and run ID. Users then have to take the approach of getting the list of workflows, getting the workflow description, and potentially executing a query for each workflow (side note: don’t scrub the history, use a query). This is a time-consuming process.

The memo feature addresses many of these scenarios. When starting a workflow, you can specify some data to associate with that workflow run. This data is immutable but is available through the visibility APIs when listing workflows.