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:index-group: EJB
:jbake-type: page
:jbake-status: status=published
= @Asynchronous Methods
The @Asynchronous annotation was introduced in EJB 3.1 as a simple way
of creating asynchronous processing.
Every time a method annotated `@Asynchronous` is invoked by anyone it
will immediately return regardless of how long the method actually
takes. Each invocation returns a[Future]
object that essentially starts out _empty_ and will later have its value
filled in by the container when the related method call actually
completes. Returning a `Future` object is not required and
`@Asynchronous` methods can of course return `void`.
== Example
Here, in `JobProcessorTest`,
`final Future<String> red = processor.addJob("red");` proceeds to the
next statement,
`final Future<String> orange = processor.addJob("orange");`
without waiting for the `addJob()` method to complete. And later we could
ask for the result using the `Future<?>.get()` method like
`assertEquals("blue", blue.get());`
It waits for the processing to complete (if its not completed already)
and gets the result. If you did not care about the result, you could
simply have your asynchronous method as a `void` method.[Future]
Object from docs,
A Future represents the result of an asynchronous computation. Methods
are provided to check if the computation is complete, to wait for its
completion, and to retrieve the result of the computation. The result
can only be retrieved using method get when the computation has
completed, blocking if necessary until it is ready. Cancellation is
performed by the cancel method. Additional methods are provided to
determine if the task completed normally or was cancelled. Once a
computation has completed, the computation cannot be cancelled. If you
would like to use a Future for the sake of cancellability but not
provide a usable result, you can declare types of the form Future<?> and
return null as a result of the underlying task
== The code
public class JobProcessor {
public Future<String> addJob(String jobName) {
// Pretend this job takes a while
// Return our result
return new AsyncResult<String>(jobName);
private void doSomeHeavyLifting() {
try {
} catch (InterruptedException e) {
throw new IllegalStateException(e);
== Test
public class JobProcessorTest extends TestCase {
public void test() throws Exception {
final Context context = EJBContainer.createEJBContainer().getContext();
final JobProcessor processor = (JobProcessor) context.lookup("java:global/async-methods/JobProcessor");
final long start = System.nanoTime();
// Queue up a bunch of work
final Future<String> red = processor.addJob("red");
final Future<String> orange = processor.addJob("orange");
final Future<String> yellow = processor.addJob("yellow");
final Future<String> green = processor.addJob("green");
final Future<String> blue = processor.addJob("blue");
final Future<String> violet = processor.addJob("violet");
// Wait for the result -- 1 minute worth of work
assertEquals("blue", blue.get());
assertEquals("orange", orange.get());
assertEquals("green", green.get());
assertEquals("red", red.get());
assertEquals("yellow", yellow.get());
assertEquals("violet", violet.get());
// How long did it take?
final long total = TimeUnit.NANOSECONDS.toSeconds(System.nanoTime() - start);
// Execution should be around 9 - 21 seconds
// The execution time depends on the number of threads available for asynchronous execution.
// In the best case it is 10s plus some minimal processing time.
assertTrue("Expected > 9 but was: " + total, total > 9);
assertTrue("Expected < 21 but was: " + total, total < 21);
Running org.superbiz.async.JobProcessorTest
INFO - ********************************************************************************
INFO - Startup: Wed Feb 27 12:46:11 BRT 2019
INFO - Copyright 1999-2018 (C) Apache OpenEJB Project, All Rights Reserved.
INFO - Version: 8.0.0-SNAPSHOT
INFO - Build date: 20190227
INFO - Build time: 04:12
INFO - ********************************************************************************
INFO - openejb.home = /home/soro/git/apache/tomee/examples/async-methods
INFO - openejb.base = /home/soro/git/apache/tomee/examples/async-methods
INFO - Created new singletonService org.apache.openejb.cdi.ThreadSingletonServiceImpl@22f71333
INFO - Succeeded in installing singleton service
INFO - Using 'javax.ejb.embeddable.EJBContainer=true'
INFO - Cannot find the configuration file [conf/openejb.xml]. Will attempt to create one for the beans deployed.
INFO - Configuring Service(id=Default Security Service, type=SecurityService, provider-id=Default Security Service)
INFO - Configuring Service(id=Default Transaction Manager, type=TransactionManager, provider-id=Default Transaction Manager)
INFO - Creating TransactionManager(id=Default Transaction Manager)
INFO - Creating SecurityService(id=Default Security Service)
INFO - Found EjbModule in classpath: /home/soro/git/apache/tomee/examples/async-methods/target/classes
INFO - Beginning load: /home/soro/git/apache/tomee/examples/async-methods/target/classes
INFO - Configuring enterprise application: /home/soro/git/apache/tomee/examples/async-methods
INFO - Auto-deploying ejb JobProcessor: EjbDeployment(deployment-id=JobProcessor)
INFO - Configuring Service(id=Default Singleton Container, type=Container, provider-id=Default Singleton Container)
INFO - Auto-creating a container for bean JobProcessor: Container(type=SINGLETON, id=Default Singleton Container)
INFO - Creating Container(id=Default Singleton Container)
INFO - Configuring Service(id=Default Managed Container, type=Container, provider-id=Default Managed Container)
INFO - Auto-creating a container for bean org.superbiz.async.JobProcessorTest: Container(type=MANAGED, id=Default Managed Container)
INFO - Creating Container(id=Default Managed Container)
INFO - Using directory /tmp for stateful session passivation
INFO - Enterprise application "/home/soro/git/apache/tomee/examples/async-methods" loaded.
INFO - Assembling app: /home/soro/git/apache/tomee/examples/async-methods
INFO - Jndi(name="java:global/async-methods/JobProcessor!org.superbiz.async.JobProcessor")
INFO - Jndi(name="java:global/async-methods/JobProcessor")
INFO - Existing thread singleton service in SystemInstance(): org.apache.openejb.cdi.ThreadSingletonServiceImpl@22f71333
INFO - Some Principal APIs could not be loaded: org.eclipse.microprofile.jwt.JsonWebToken out of org.eclipse.microprofile.jwt.JsonWebToken not found
INFO - OpenWebBeans Container is starting...
INFO - Adding OpenWebBeansPlugin : [CdiPlugin]
INFO - All injection points were validated successfully.
INFO - OpenWebBeans Container has started, it took 316 ms.
INFO - Created Ejb(deployment-id=JobProcessor, ejb-name=JobProcessor, container=Default Singleton Container)
INFO - Started Ejb(deployment-id=JobProcessor, ejb-name=JobProcessor, container=Default Singleton Container)
INFO - Deployed Application(path=/home/soro/git/apache/tomee/examples/async-methods)
Tests run: 1, Failures: 0, Errors: 0, Skipped: 0, Time elapsed: 23.491 sec
Results :
Tests run: 1, Failures: 0, Errors: 0, Skipped: 0
== How it works under the covers
Under the covers what makes this work is:
* The `JobProcessor` the caller sees is not actually an instance of
`JobProcessor`. Rather its a subclass or proxy that has all the methods
overridden. Methods that are supposed to be asynchronous are handled
* Calls to an asynchronous method simply result in a `Runnable` being
created that wraps the method and parameters you gave. This runnable is
given to an[Executor]
which is simply a work queue attached to a thread pool.
* After adding the work to the queue, the proxied version of the method
returns an implementation of `Future` that is linked to the `Runnable`
which is now waiting on the queue.
* When the `Runnable` finally executes the method on the _real_
`JobProcessor` instance, it will take the return value and set it into
the `Future` making it available to the caller.
Important to note that the `AsyncResult` object the `JobProcessor`
returns is not the same `Future` object the caller is holding. It would
have been neat if the real `JobProcessor` could just return `String` and
the callers version of `JobProcessor` could return `Future<String>`,
but we didnt see any way to do that without adding more complexity. So
the `AsyncResult` is a simple wrapper object. The container will pull
the `String` out, throw the `AsyncResult` away, then put the `String` in
the _real_ `Future` that the caller is holding.
To get progress along the way, simply pass a thread-safe object like[AtomicInteger]
to the `@Asynchronous` method and have the bean code periodically update
it with the percent complete.
== Related Examples
For complex asynchronous processing, JavaEEs answer is
`@MessageDrivenBean`. Have a look at the
link:../simple-mdb/README.html[simple-mdb] example