Parallel Geturl

Keith Vetter 2004-03-06 : Here's the problem: I needed to download about several thousand web pages in a way that wouldn't take all night and day. (FYI these pages are maps from Terraserver--see also [1 ] and TkTopoMap). Each page only takes a few seconds but the vast number of pages needed makes the total time too large, plus I discovered that about 1% of the requests time out.

The obvious solution is to somehow launch multiple requests in parallel, but straight tcl doesn't support classic parallelism. Before when I faced this problem I used a complicated scheme involving the after command (see TkMapper) but later realized that the callback option to ::http::geturl provided a better solution.

This time I decided to write a package to solve the problem in a simple but efficient manner. The public API is just Add, Launch, Reset, Config and Status. But in the simplest manner you just need Add to provide the url and callback routine for every page you want to download, and the package will do the rest: launch off a set of simultaneous requests, manage timeout errors, launch new requests when others complete and insure the user's callback routine gets called when the request completes.

I've included a rather sexy demo (which takes up more lines of code) that lets you see the package in action and tweak different parameters. Two notes: First, I was able to go from 5 second per page to about 7 pages per second. Second, if I set the timeout too low or parallelism too high I crash tcl with a bad memory read error (Windows 2K 8.4.4).

SSS 2010-2-24 Note that the sexy demo works fine for a bit. Then (I believe) Micro$oft notices you hammering their server and throttles you (fair enough). Then requests start to time out, and about the time you get through the first 30 timeouts, the stack fills up - out of stack space (infinite loop?). I haven't chased the stack overflow down, so it could be demo code, or due to the package. (Windows Tcl/Tk 8.5.2) Not a complaint, just a note - a very sexy demo, and cool code. Thanks.

KPV 2010-2-24 : Interesting, I've used it to download high hundreds of files and didn't get any errors. That was on Windows Server 2003 and on XP. I'll try it on Windows 7 and see what happens.


 ##+##########################################################################
 #
 # Parallel Geturl -- package (and demo) that efficiently downloads large
 # numbers of web pages while also handling timeout failures. Web requests
 # are queued up and a set number are simultaneously fired off. As requests
 # complete, new ones of popped off the queue and launched.
 # by Keith Vetter, March 5, 2004
 
 package require Tk
 package require http
 
 namespace eval PGU {
    variable options                            ;# User tweakable values
    variable queue                              ;# Request queue
    variable qhead 1                            ;# First empty slot
    variable qtail 0                            ;# Last in use slot
    variable stats                              ;# Array of statistics
    variable wait 0                             ;# For vwait
    
    array set options {-degree 50 -timeout 30000 -maxRetries 5}
 
    proc ::PGU::Reset {} {
        variable queue
        variable stats
        variable qhead 1
        variable qtail 0
        variable wait 0
        
        catch {unset queue}
        array set queue {}
        array set stats {qlen 0 pending 0 done 0 timeouts 0}
    }
    ::PGU::Reset
 }
 ##+##########################################################################
 # 
 # ::PGU::Config -- allow user to configure some parameters
 # 
 proc ::PGU::Config {args} {
    variable options
    set o [lsort [array names options]]
 
    if {[llength $args] == 0} {                 ;# Return all results
        set result {}
        foreach name $o {
            lappend result $name $options($name)
        }
        return $result
    }
    foreach {flag value} $args {                ;# Get one or set some
        if {[lsearch $o $flag] == -1} {
            return -code error "Unknown option $flag, must be: [join $o ", "]"
        }
        if {[llength $args] == 1} {             ;# Get one config value
            return $options($flag)
        }
        set options($flag) $value               ;# Set the config value
    }
 }
 ##+##########################################################################
 # 
 # ::PGU::Add -- adds a url and callback command to are request queue
 # 
 proc ::PGU::Add {url cmd {nolaunch 0}} {
    variable queue ; variable qtail ; variable stats
 
    set queue([incr qtail]) [list $url $cmd 0]
    incr stats(qlen)
    DEMO:ShowStatus $qtail queued               ;# REMOVE if not demo
    if {$nolaunch} return
    ::PGU::Launch
 }
 ##+##########################################################################
 # 
 # ::PGU::Launch -- launches web requests if we have the capacity
 # 
 proc ::PGU::Launch {} {
    variable queue
    variable qtail
    variable qhead
    variable options
    variable stats
 
    while {1} {
        if {$qtail < $qhead} return             ;# Empty queue
        if {$stats(pending) >= $options(-degree)} return ;# No slots open
 
        set id $qhead
        incr qhead
        incr stats(pending)
        incr stats(qlen) -1
        DEMO:ShowStatus $id pending             ;# REMOVE if not demo
 
        set url [lindex $queue($id) 0]
        ::http::geturl $url -timeout $options(-timeout) \
            -command [list ::PGU::_HTTPCommand $id]
    }
 }
 ##+##########################################################################
 # 
 # ::PGU::_HTTPCommand -- our geturl callback command that handles
 # queue maintenance, timeout retries and user callbacks.
 # 
 proc ::PGU::_HTTPCommand {id token} {
    variable queue
    variable stats
    variable options
    variable wait
 
    foreach {url cmd cnt} $queue($id) break
    
    set status [::http::status $token]
    if {$status == "timeout"} {
        incr stats(timeouts)
        incr cnt -1
        if {abs($cnt) < $options(-maxRetries)} {
            ::http::cleanup $token
 
            DEMO:ShowStatus $id timeout         ;# REMOVE if not demo
            lset queue($id) 2 $cnt              ;# Remember retry attempts
            ::http::geturl $url -timeout $options(-timeout) \
                -command [list ::PGU::_HTTPCommand $id]
            return
        }
        DEMO:ShowStatus $id failure             ;# REMOVE if not demo
    } else {
        DEMO:ShowStatus $id done                ;# REMOVE if not demo
    }
    incr stats(pending) -1                      ;# One less outstanding request
    incr stats(done)
    ::PGU::Launch                               ;# Try launching another request
 
    set n [catch {eval $cmd $token} emsg]
    if {$n} {puts stderr "ERRORX: $emsg\n"
        set ::CMD "$cmd $token"
    }
    ::http::cleanup $token
 
    if {$stats(qlen) == 0 && $stats(pending) == 0} { ;# If done trigger vwait
        set wait 1
    }
 }
 ##+##########################################################################
 # 
 # ::PGU::Wait -- blocks until all geturl request queue is empty
 # 
 proc ::PGU::Wait {} {
    vwait ::PGU::wait
 }
 ##+##########################################################################
 # 
 # ::PGU::Status -- returns some statistics of the current state
 # 
 proc ::PGU::Status {} {
    variable stats
    return [list $stats(qlen) $stats(pending) $stats(done) $stats(timeouts)]
 }
 
 ################################################################
 ################################################################
 ################################################################
 #
 # DEMO CODE
 #
 #
 array set colors "queued blue    pending yellow    done green
                  timeout orange   failure red       unused [. cget -bg]"
 
 # Called by PGU code to update squares w/ appropriate status color
 proc DEMO:ShowStatus {id status} {
    .f.l$id config -bg $::colors($status)
 }
 
 # Our callback to the ::http::geturl command
 proc HTTPCommand {id token} {
    global status
 
    Tick                                        ;# Update statistics
    return
 
    # Code to save off the web page data
    set fname "maps/${id}_[expr {int(rand() * 1000)}].jpg"
    set fout [open $fname "w"]
    fconfigure $fout -translation binary
    puts -nonewline $fout [::http::data $token]
    close $fout
 }
 
 # Puts up our (more and more complex) demo GUI
 proc DoDisplay {} {
    wm title . "Parallel Geturl"
    
    label .j; .j configure -font "[font actual [.j cget -font]] -weight bold"
    catch {font delete myBold} ; eval font create myBold [.j cget -font]
    
    frame .f -bd 2 -relief raised
    frame .ctrl -bd 2 -relief ridge
    frame .key -bd 2 -relief ridge
    grid .f .ctrl -row 0 -sticky news
 
    # Draw all the cells
    set ID 0
    for {set row 0} {$row < 25} {incr row} {
        for {set col 0} {$col < 15} {incr col} {
            set w .f.l[incr ID]
            label $w -width 4 -bd 2 -relief sunken -text $ID -fg gray50
            grid $w -row $row -column $col
        }
    }
 
    # Key section
    set cnt 3
    label .key.key -text KEY -font myBold -bd 2 -relief raised
    grid .key.key - - -row 0 -sticky ew -pady {0 5}
    foreach state {unused queued pending done timeout failure} {
        label .key.$state -bd 2 -relief ridge -bg $::colors($state) \
            -font myBold -text [string totitle $state]
        grid .key.$state -row [expr {$cnt / 3}] -column [expr {$cnt % 3}] \
            -padx 10 -sticky ew
        incr cnt
    }
    .key.queued config -fg white
    grid rowconfigure .key 100 -minsize 5
    grid columnconfigure .key 1 -weight 1
    
    # Stats section
    frame .stats -bd 2 -relief ridge
    label .stats.stats -text STATS -font myBold -bd 2 -relief raised
    grid .stats.stats - -row 0 -sticky ew
    grid columnconfigure .stats 1 -weight 1
    
    foreach w {start duration qlen pending done timeouts} {
        set title [string totitle $w]
        label .$w -text "$title:" -anchor e -font myBold
        label ._$w -textvariable status($w) -anchor w -font myBold -width 9
        grid .$w ._$w -in .stats -sticky ew
    }
    .qlen config -text "Queue"
 
    # Configuration section
    frame .config -bd 2 -relief ridge
    label .config.config -text CONFIGURATION -font myBold -bd 2 -relief raised
    grid .config.config - -row 0 -sticky ew
    grid columnconfigure .config 1 -weight 1
    label .config.cnt -text "Test Count:" -font myBold -anchor e
    scale .config.scnt -orient h -from 1 -to $ID -font myBold -relief ridge \
        -variable status(cnt) -command Squares
    label .config.degree -text "Parallelism:" -font myBold -anchor e
    scale .config.sdegree -orient h -from 1 -to 200 -font myBold \
        -relief ridge -variable ::PGU::options(-degree)
    label .config.timeout -text Timeout: -font myBold -anchor e
    scale .config.stime -orient h -from 1000 -to 60000 -font myBold \
        -relief ridge -variable ::PGU::options(-timeout) -resolution 1000
    grid .config.cnt .config.scnt -sticky ew
    grid .config.degree .config.sdegree -sticky ew
    grid .config.timeout .config.stime -sticky ew
 
    label .finish -fg red -textvariable status(finish) \
        -font "[font actual myBold] -size 18"
    frame .frun -bd 2 -relief sunken -padx 10 -pady 10
    button .run -text "Run Demo" -font myBold -command RunDemo
    
    grid .key -in .ctrl -sticky new
    grid .stats -in .ctrl -sticky new -pady 5
    grid .config -in .ctrl -sticky sew
    grid rowconfigure .ctrl 50 -weight 1
    grid .finish -in .ctrl -row 60
    grid .frun -in .ctrl -pady 10
    grid .run -in .frun
 
    button .about -text "?" -font myBold -command About
    place .about -in .ctrl -relx 1.0 -rely 1.0 -anchor se
    bind all <Key-F2> {console show}
 }
 proc RunDemo {{n {}}} {
    global status
 
    if {$n == {}} {set n $status(cnt)}
    set status(milli) [clock clicks -milliseconds]
    set status(start) [clock format [clock seconds] -format %T]
    foreach w {duration qlen pending done timeouts} {set status($w) 0}
    set status(finish) ""
    Busy 1
 
    # Start the downloads
    ::PGU::Reset
    Tick
    for {set i 0} {$i < $n} {incr i} {
        set url [GenerateURL $i]
        ::PGU::Add $url [list HTTPCommand $i] 1
    }
    ::PGU::Launch
    
    ::PGU::Wait
    set status(finish) "DONE"
    Busy 0
 }
 proc Tick {} {
    global status
 
    after cancel $status(aid,tick)
    if {$status(finish) != ""} return
    set milli [expr {[clock clicks -milliseconds] - $status(milli)}]
    set status(duration) [expr {round($milli / 100) / 10.0}]
    foreach {status(qlen) status(pending) status(done) status(timeouts)} \
        [::PGU::Status] break
 
    set status(aid,tick) [after 1000 Tick]
 }
 proc Busy {onoff} {
    set state [expr {$onoff ? "disabled" : "normal"}]
    set fg [expr {$onoff ? "gray50" : "black"}]
    foreach w [concat [winfo child .config] .run] {
        if {$w == ".config.config"} continue
        $w config -state $state -fg $fg
    }
 }
 proc Squares {n} {
    for {set i 1} {[winfo exists .f.l$i]} {incr i} {
        .f.l$i config -bg $::colors(unused) \
            -fg [expr {$i > $n ? "gray50" : "black"}]
    }
 }
 proc About {} {
    set msg "Parallel Geturl\nby Keith Vetter, March 5, 2004\n\n"
    append msg "This program demonstrates an efficient way to\n"
    append msg "download a large number of web pages while also\n"
    append msg "handling timeout failures. Web requests are queued\n"
    append msg "up and a set number of them are simultaneously\n"
    append msg "launched. As request complete, new ones are\n"
    append msg "popped off the queue and fired."
 
    tk_messageBox -message $msg -title "About Parallel Geturl"
 }
 
 # Creates a url to fetch a semi random page from the Terraserver
 proc GenerateURL {id} {
    set y [expr {5000 + int(rand() * 1000)}]    ;# Avoid caching affects
    set x [expr {400 + $id}]
    set url "http://terraserver.microsoft.com/tile.ashx?T=2&S=12&W=0&Z=17"
    append url "&Y=$y&X=$x"
    return $url
 }
 
 set status(aid,tick) 0
 set status(cnt) 100
 DoDisplay

The TIL contains a rather similar package called massgeturl. The package is a bit more advanced. For example, it handles redirects and can control the number of outbound connections for sites. To do this it has a simplistic queuing system and URLs to be fetched have priorities to control which one will be fetched next when being popped out of the queue. EF


uniquename 2013aug19

For the readers who do not have the time/facilities/whatever to setup the code above and then execute it, here is an image of the GUI that this code produces.

vetter_ParallelGeturl_wiki11060_screenshot_827x545.jpg

I made two changes to the code above to be able to display the GUI:

  • since I do not have the 'http' package installed, I commented out the check for that package
  • I added the following statement to the top of the code (to run on a Linux distro)
   #!/usr/bin/wish