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Drupal 8 Queue API – Powerful Manual and Cron Queueing

Dec 11 2015
Dec 11
Jun 27 2011
Jun 27

Here at Appnovation, we usually deploy Drupal sites on Linux servers. Recently, however, one of our clients needed Drupal to run off a Windows 2008 server. I had to set up a cron job on a Windows 2008 Server for Drupal and came across two methods for setting up a Scheduled Task.

1. Using the GUI

- Click on Start and then go to Administrative Tools, once there click the “Task Scheduler” item
- Once the Task Scheduler opens, click “Create Basic Task”
- Give the task a name and description and click next

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Jan 10 2011
Jan 10

Following the release of Drush 4 and picking up on a couple of suggestions made by Moshe Weitzman and Nick Thompson on my previous Drush 3 Automated backup post, it was time for a revised post.

Drush 4 makes it really REALLY easy to backup all your sites, no more bash scripting etc.

Install / Update to Drush 4

Follow Drush installation guide

drushrc.php Setup

In the Drupal root directory add drushrc.php with the following setup:

 * Customize this associative array with your own tables. This is the list of
 * tables whose *data* is skipped by the 'sql-dump' and 'sql-sync' commands when
 * a structure-tables-key is provided. You may add new tables to the existing
 * array or add a new element.
$options['structure-tables'] = array(
  'common' => array(

You may need to adjust the structure-tables array to suit your requirements.

Test Drush

drush --root=/var/www/html/drupal @sites st -y

If you see the status output, proceed to the next step.

Drush Backup Command

 drush --root=/var/www/html/drupal @sites sql-dump --result-file --gzip --structure-tables-key=common

This puts the the backups in timestamp named directories within ~/.drush-backups folder.


For the automated nightly backups, you can setup the cron jobs with the above mentioned command.

Related blog posts: 

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Dec 23 2010
Dec 23

Drush + Bash + Cron: Datbase Backup Goals

  • Scan sites directory for a given drupal install
  • Find all multisite folders/symlinks
  • For each multisite:
  • Use Drush to clear cache - we dont want cache table bloating up the MySQL dump file
  • Use Drush to delete watchdog logs - we dont want watchdog table bloating up the MySQL dump file
  • Use Drush to backup the database to pre-assigned folder
  • Use tar to compress and timestamp the Drush generated sql file
  • Setup Crontab to run perodically with the above commands as a bash file

Assumptions and Instructions

You will need to adjust the Bash file if any of these are not the same on your server

  • Drupal is installed in /var/www/html/drupal
  • Multisites are setup in the /var/www/html/drupal/sites folder
  • Backup folder exists in /var/www/backup/sqldumps
  • Drush is already installed in /root/drush/drush. If drush is not installed follow this Drush installation guide
  • AWK is already installed, if not, type: sudo yum install gawk

Drush Backup BASH file

Copy paste the code below and create a new bash file ideally in your/root home folder. Make the Bash file executable.

# Adjust to match your system settings
# Adjust to match your system settings
START_TIME=$(date +%Y%m%d%H%M);
# Add all multisites for a given docroot into a list. Detects all web addresses which are a directory which isn't named all, default or ends in .local.
if [ "${multisites}" = "all" ];then
        # If multisites are folders change -type d
        # If multisites are symlinks change -type l
        # Adjust $8 to match your docroot, it $x needs to be the name of the multisite folder/symlink
        multisites_list="`$FIND ${docroot}/sites/* -type l -prune | $AWK -F \/ '$8!="all" && $8!="default" && $8!~/\.local$/ { print $8 }'`"
# Must be in the docroot directory before proceeding.
cd $docroot
for multisite in $multisites_list
        # Echo to the screen the current task.
        $ECHO "##############################################################"
        $ECHO "Backing up ${multisite}"
        # Clear Drupal cache
        $DRUSH -y -u 1 -l "${multisite}" cc all
        # Truncate Watchdog
        $DRUSH -y -u 1 -l "${multisite}" wd-del all
        # SQL Dump DB
        $DRUSH -u 1 -l "${multisite}" sql-dump --result-file="${backup_dir}"/"${multisite}".sql
        # Compress the SQL Dump
        tar -czv -f "${backup_dir}"/"${START_TIME}"-"${multisite}".tar.gz -C "${backup_dir}"/ "${multisite}".sql
        # Delete original SQL Dump
        rm -f "${backup_dir}"/"${multisite}".sql
        $ECHO "Finished backing up ${multisite}"
        $ECHO "##############################################################"

Setup Crontab

Assuming your bash file containing the code above is saved as /root/drush_backup.sh, you can setup a crontab for root user.

crontab -e
1 1 * * * /root/drush_backup_db.sh

Further Reading and Links

Related blog posts: 

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Aug 09 2010
Aug 09

One great feature that Drupal has is the ability to make modules run certain tasks, often heavy ones, in the background at preset intervals. This can be achieved by a module implementing hook_cron.

Core uses this feature to index new content for the search module, ping module to notify remote sites of new content, fetch new release information from drupal.org, poll other sites for RSS feeds, and more.

Various contributed modules use this for various purposes, such as mailing out newsletters, cleaning up logs, synchronizing content with other servers/sites, and much more ...

Core Cron: All or None

This powerful core feature has some limitations though, such as:

  • All hook cron implementations for all modules are run at the same time, in sequence alphabetically or according to module weight.
  • When cron for one module is stuck, all modules following it will not be executed, and cron will not run again until 1 hour has passed.
  • There is no way to know which module is the one that caused the entire cron to get stuck. Moreover, there is no instrumentation information to know which cron hook takes the most time.

2bits.com have proposed core patches to report overcome the lack of instrumentation, by logging the information to the watchdog. The patches are useful only to those who apply them. It is unlikely that they will get in core any time soon.

For a practical example, you can use Job Queue with our own queue mail module to improve end user response time, and avoid timeouts due to sending a lot of emails. This scheme defers sending to when cron is run, and not when a user submits a node or a comment.

This works well, but for core, all cron hooks run at the same time. If you set cron to run every hour, then email sending could be delayed by an hour or even more if job queue cannot send them all in one run. If you make cron run more frequently, e.g. every 15 minutes, then all the heavy hooks such as search indexing and log cleanup will also run every 15 minutes consuming lots of resources.

Enter Elysia Cron ...

With Elysia cron, you can now have the best of both worlds: you can set cron for job_queue to run every minute, and defer other heavy stuff to once a day during off hours, or once an hour. The email is delivered quickly, within minutes, and we don't incur the penalty of long running cron hooks.

Features and Benefits of Elysia Cron

The features that Elysia cron offers are many, the important ones, with a focus on performance, are:

  • You can run different hook_cron implementations for different modules at a different frequency.
  • You are aware what the resource and performance impact of each hook_cron implementation is. This includes the time it took to run it last, the average, and maximum time. This information is very valuable in distributing different hooks across the day, and their frequencies.
  • Set a configurable maximum for cron invocations. Drupal core has a hard coded value of 240 seconds. You can adjust this up or down as per your needs.
  • Handles "stuck" crons better than core. In core, if cron is stuck, it takes one hour for it to automatically recover. In Elysia cron, the other hook invocations continue to run normally.
  • You can set the weight for each module, independent from the weight for the module in the system table. Using this, you can have a different order of execution for modules.
  • You can group modules in "contexts", assigning different run schedules for different contexts, or disable contexts globally.
  • The ability to assign a cron key, or a white list of allowed hosts that can execute cron.
  • Selectively disable cron for one or more modules, but not others, or all cron.
  • Selectively run cron for only one module.
  • Defining a cronapi that developers can use.
  • It requires no patching of core or contributed modules.

Examples of Elysia Cron in action

Here is captcha's cron, which has been configured to run only once a day in the early hours of the morning:

As well, dblog's cron runs once a day too. No need to trigger this every hours or twice an hour.

Search here is shown to be the most heavy of all cron hooks. But still, we run it twice every hour, so that the search is always fresh.

Statistics cleanup is kind of heavy too, so we run it only once a day.

Finally, xmlsitemap is a useful module, yet it is also heavy on a site with lots of nodes. Therefore we run it only once a day.

The above is not cast in stone for these module. They will vary from one site to the other depending on the server configuration, resources available and data set sizes. Moreover, even for the same site, it is recommended to monitor regularly and adjust these on an ongoing basis.

Alternatives to Elysia Cron

Elysia cron is no alone though. There are other modules that have overlapping functions, such as Super Cron, Cron Plus, and even a Cron API module. Super Cron seems promising, but Elysia does everything we need so far, so the motivation to evaluate it low on the list of priorities.

Here is an attempt to compare the various cron modules, but so far it is sparse on information.

A more powerful solution, but also more complex and heavy weight is the use of tools like Hudson Continuous Integration. Since it runs within Java it adds dependencies to the usual LAMP-only server as well as being more demanding on resources. You can read a full article on it here.

Mar 27 2010
Mar 27

This short video shows you how to create a cron job using the Dreamhost web panel that will allow you to execute cron on a Drupal site. As I have noted previously execution of the cron file is an important task for any Drupal site. Many modules rely on cron for periodic processing of data including the core search and aggregator modules. Running cron also prompts the system to check for module updates. 

Here's what I entered in the video. Be sure to replace the url with url of your site. wget -qO /dev/null http://yoursite.com/cron.php

This video is one in a series of videos I created called Getting The Most Out Of Dreamhost. If you're a current Dreamhost customer you probably already know how to do things like set up a domain or create a MySQL database so it may not be relevant to you. If you're considering Dreamhost I think the series offers a very good preview of how the web panel functions make it easy to launch new Drupal sites. There's also a discount code (LEARNDRUPAL2010) on that page that will save you $50 on a new Dreamhost web hosting account.

Note: Click the 'full screen' icon (to the left of the volume control) in order to watch online at full 1280x720 resolution.

Video Links

Flash Version

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web