Executing activities

The primary responsibility of a workflow implementation is to schedule activities for execution. The most straightforward way to do this is via the library method workflow.ExecuteActivity. The following sample code demonstrates making this call:

ao := cadence.ActivityOptions{
        TaskList:               "sampleTaskList",
        ScheduleToCloseTimeout: time.Second * 60,
        ScheduleToStartTimeout: time.Second * 60,
        StartToCloseTimeout:    time.Second * 60,
        HeartbeatTimeout:       time.Second * 10,
        WaitForCancellation:    false,
ctx = cadence.WithActivityOptions(ctx, ao)

future := workflow.ExecuteActivity(ctx, SimpleActivity, value)
var result string
if err := future.Get(ctx, &result); err != nil {
        return err

Let’s take a look at each component of this call.

Activity options

Before calling workflow.ExecuteActivity(), you must configure ActivityOptions for the invocation. These options customize various execution timeouts, and are passed in by creating a child context from the initial context and overwriting the desired values. The child context is then passed into the workflow.ExecuteActivity() call. If multiple activities are sharing the same option values, then the same context instance can be used when calling workflow.ExecuteActivity().

Activity timeouts

There can be various kinds of timeouts associated with an activity. Cadence guarantees that activities are executed at most once, so an activity either succeeds or fails with one of the following timeouts:

Timeout Description
StartToCloseTimeout Maximum time that a worker can take to process a task after it has received the task.
ScheduleToStartTimeout Time a task can wait to be picked up by an activity worker after a workflow schedules it. If there are no workers available to process this task for the specified duration, the task will timeout.
ScheduleToCloseTimeout Time a task can take to complete after it is scheduled by a workflow. This is usually greater than the sum of StartToClose and ScheduleToStart timetouts.
HeartbeatTimeout If a task doesn’t heartbeat to the Cadence service for this duration, it will be considered to have failed. This is useful for long-running tasks.

ExecuteActivity call

The first parameter in the call is the required cadence.Context object. This type is a copy of context.Context with the Done() method returning cadence.Channel instead of the native Go chan.

The second parameter is the function that we registered as an activity function. This parameter can also be a string representing the fully qualified name of the activity function. The benefit of passing in the actual function object is that the framework can validate activity parameters.

The remaining parameters are passed to the activity as part of the call. In our example, we have a single parameter: value. This list of parameters must match the list of parameters declared by the activity function. The Cadence client library will validate this.

The method call returns immediately and returns a cadence.Future. This allows you to execute more code without having to wait for the scheduled activity to complete.

When you are ready to process the results of the activity, call the Get() method on the future object returned. The parameters to this method is the ctx object we passed to the workflow.ExecuteActivity() call and an output parameter that will receive the output of the activity. The type of the output parameter must match the type of the return value declared by the activity function. The Get() method will block until the activity completes and results are available.

You can retrieve the result value returned by workflow.ExecuteActivity() from the future and use it like any normal result from a synchronous function call. The following sample code demonstrates how you can use the result if it is a string value:

var result string
if err := future.Get(ctx1, &result); err != nil {
        return err

switch result {
case "apple":
        // do something
case "banana":
        // do something
        return err

In this example, we called the Get() method on the returned future immediately after workflow.ExecuteActivity(). However, this is not necessary. If you want to execute multiple activities in parallel, you can repeatedly call workflow.ExecuteActivity(), store the returned futures, and then wait for all activities to complete by calling the Get() methods of the future at a later time.

To implement more complex wait conditions on returned future objects, use the cadence.Selector class.