Mirror of Apache CouchDB Couch EPI

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What it is

couch_epi is extensible plugin interface (EPI) for couchdb.


  1. Automatically discoverable
  2. Minimize apps that need to be started for tests
  3. Support release upgrades


  • service - an abstract functionality defined by unique name and API
  • provider - a self-contained implementation of Service's API
  • subscriber - an application or a process which uses functionality provided by Provider
  • epi_key - is a routing key it has to be in one of the following forms
    • {service_id :: atom(), key :: term()} - for couch_epi_data_source
    • service_id :: atom() - for couch_epi_functions
  • handle - is opaque data structure returned from couch_epi:get_handle(EpiKey)

Support release upgrade

We monitor the modules involved in configuration of the service/provider so we get notified when there is a code upgrade. We use this notification in order to:

  • regenerate dispatch module if needed
  • call notify/3 of a module implementing couch_epi_plugin behaviour

Call to notify/3 would be called for both providers and data_providers.

data example

Any application that wants to register some configuration data for a service using module could add an entry in its implementation of couch_epi_plugin behaviour:

data_providers() ->
        {{couch_stats, descriptions},
            {priv_file, "stats_descriptions.cfg"}, [{interval, 5000}]}
        {{couch_stats, descriptions},
            {file, "/tmp/extra_stats.cfg"}, [{interval, 5000}]},
        {{couch_stats, descriptions}, {module, my_stats}}

When service provider wants to learn about all the installed config data for it to use it would then just do something like:

 couch_epi:get(Handle, Service, Key)

The service provider also has to mention the data keys it is using in its implementation of couch_epi_plugin behaviour

data_subscriptions() ->
    [{couch_stats, descriptions}].

There are also additional functions to get the same data in various formats

  • couch_epi:all(Handle) - returns config data for all services for a given handle
  • couch_epi:get(Handle, Subscriber) - returns config data for a given subscriber
  • couch_epi:get_value(Handle, Subscriber, Key) - returns config data for a given subscriber and key
  • couch_epi:by_key(Handle, Key) - returns config data for a given key
  • couch_epi:by_key(Handle) - returns config data grouped by key
  • couch_epi:by_source(Handle) - returns config data grouped by source (subscriber)
  • couch_epi:keys(Handle) - returns list of configured keys
  • couch_epi:subscribers(Handle) - return list of known subscribers

Function dispatch example

Any application that wants to register implementation functions for a service could add the following into it's implementation of couch_epi_plugin behaviour:

providers() ->
    [{my_service, module_which_implements_the_functions}].

Adding the entry would generate a dispatch methods for any exported function of modules passed.

Services have to be defined in one of the implementations of couch_epi_plugin behaviour as:

services() ->
    [{my_service, module_to_monitor_for_codechange}].

When app wants to dispatch the call to all service providers it calls

couch_epi:apply(Handle, ServiceId, Function, Args, Opts)

There are multiple ways of doing the apply which is controlled by Opts

  • ignore_errors - the call is wrapped into try/catch
  • concurrent - spawn a new process for every service provider
  • pipe - use output of one service provider as an input for the next one


  • concurrent is incompatible with pipe
  • if there are multiple plugins providing same service they will be called in the order they listed in application:get_env(couch_epi, plugins)
  • if the same plugin provides multiple implementations of the same service the order is as defined in providers callback

decide functionality

There are cases when we want to call configured providers until any of them would make a decision. We also would want to be able to find out if any decision has been made so we could call default handler. In order to be able to do so there is couch_epi:decide/5. Every service which uses this feature would get either:

  • no_decision
  • {decided, Decision :: term()}

The provider module should return one of the above results. The current logic is to call all configured providers in order of their definition until we get {decided, term()}. If none of the providers would return this term we would return no_decision.

couch_epi_plugin behaviour

The module implementing this behaviour needs to export the following functions:

  • Module:app/0 - Returns atom representing the application name
  • Module:providers/0 - Returns list of {service_id(), module()} tuples for defined providers
  • Module:services/0 - Returns list of {service_id(), module()} tuples for defined services
  • Module:data_subscriptions/0 - Returns list of keys we define
  • Module:data_providers/0 - Returns list of keys we provide
  • Module:processes/0 - Supervisor specs which we would be injected into application supervisor
  • Module:notify/3 - Notification callback