The Poller module is intended to provide convenient services for background polling of channel changes. Once you have some channels you might be interested in periodical check for updates. Poller helps to do this task common to many applications. It accepts channels for registration and creates the schedule for their updates.

Poller uses simple, but powerful engine to work with rules. Application may define rules (Approvers) to decide whether the addition of separate items in channels should occur. This way you can filter old, unwanted or other items before they are added to the application database.

Also it has listeners (Observers) which are notified each time interesting event occurs. By interesting events we mean:

  • polling of channel started, finished or errored
  • channel data updated (updated information about channel itself, not its items)
  • new item found

You can add as many listeners as you need and each of them will get an event notification from Poller.

Module structure

The module has very small number of classes in the package (de.nava.informa.utils.poller) for you to remember in order to work effectively with it:

  • Poller - the main class and central access point to all of Poller services.
  • PollerApproverIF - interface for Approver implementations. Each Approver added to Poller will be consulted each time new item found in registered channel. Approver can approve or deny addition of newly found item to the channel. If you have several Approvers installed then all of them should vote for addition or item will not be added.
  • PollerObserverIF - interface for Observer implementation. Each Observer added to Poller will be notified each time some event occurs over registered channel. Events are specified briefly in previous section.

In addition there is additional convenience class provided for transferring changes into Informa persistent storage. PersistenceObserver listens to all events coming from Poller and performs consequent changes to underlying storage using manager specified on construction. Note that if you plan to use it instances of channels Poller will be dealing with should be produced by Persistence Manager. Otherwise they will not be understood by it and you can get confusing results.

Working with Poller


Initialization of Poller is very simple. You create new instance of Poller and it starts to work right away. Here's the code for that:

Poller poller = new Poller();

Default period of polls is set to one hour. You can change it and we will show a bit later how.

Poller is capable of doing its work in multiple threads. Doing so it dramatically increases performance of polling. Default value of number of working threads is determined by underlying scheduler. At the moment of this writing the default is set to 5 threads, but it may change, though it's not likely to. In most cases you do not need to deal with such a details, but if you really need full control over that you can specify number of working threads on creation or change it at run-time.

// Here we create a single-threaded Poller
Poller poller = new Poller(1);

// Here we change number of threads to 3

You should note that change from bigger number of threads down to smaller can take some time. It's not time of the method call itself, but a time of transition. It works this way because the threads requiring to be removed can be busy with processing at the time of change and engine will wait for completion before killing them.

In addition, you can control how Poller behaves when scanning the feed for a new items. The parameter is called "item scanning policy", specified during Poller construction and can have the following values:

  • POLICY_SCAN_ALL - default policy meaning that Poller will walk throught the whole feed.
  • POLICY_SKIP_AFTER_EXISTING - this policy means that Poller will stop checking items once it finds the already existing one. It's helpful to save time spent on checking old items, but hardly relies on the fact that we cannot see anything useful after the existing items.
// Here we create a single-threaded Poller with specific item scanning policy
Poller poller = new Poller(1, Poller.POLICY_SKIP_AFTER_EXISTING);


Observers, as it was described before, receive notifications on interesting events:

  • start of polling;
  • finish of polling;
  • abnormal termination of polling because of errors;
  • chang in channel information;
  • finding of new items.

From the list of events it becomes clear what lifecycle of the channel processing looks like. One necessary note is that only one of events (whether 'finish of polling' or 'abnormal termination') can be fired on completion.

Another note is that Poller is not adding new items to the channels for itself. One of your observers should take care of it.

Once you have instance of Poller you need to register at least one observer to make it useful. Here's the piece of code:

Poller poller = new Poller();

// Create and register observer
PollerObserverIF observer = new MyObserver();

You may need to remove some observer from the list and you can do it this way:



Approvers are very simple by their nature. They have a single method which is called by worker threads of Poller when they find some new items in channels. Approver should give an answer to them if it likes new item and approves it to be added.

Adding and removing of approvers is also simple:

// Adding new approver
PollerApproverIF approver = new MyApprover();

// Removing approver

Registering and unregistering channels

The next step after you have created Poller instance and set all necessary observers and approvers is to register some channels. When you register channel Poller contacts underlying scheduler to create plan of updates for the channel. The first checking of the channel will start right after that.

// Register channel with default polling period

It was the code which registers new channel. Simple, isn't it?

By default, Poller uses its global period setting (which is equal to one hour) to initialize channel and build the updates plan with scheduler, but you may wish to specify your own period for each particular channel.

// Register channel with polling period set to 10 minutes
poller.registerChannel(channel, 10 * 60 * 1000);

Unregistering of the channel is very straightforward:

// Unregister channel

The call of this method guaraties that channel will never be processed again before it is added back. However, if channel was under processing when unregistering was requested the processing of channel will not be stopped for integrity reasons. It should pass full processing cycle in any case.

Updating channel immediately

At any time user or your application may decide to update the channel out of normal update plan. For this particular case there's a method which instructs scheduler to fire update event immediately and rebuild entire plan of updates for this channel taking current moment in time as starting point. Here is the code:

// Trigger immediate updating and rebuild updates plan

Changing global update period setting

By now you already know that Poller has its own global updates period setting. It applies the setting to all new registrations having no custom period defined. It might be necessary to your application to change this setting to fit better its needs. Changing can happen at any time and guaranties intellectual behavior.

The change will reflect in rescheduling of all currently registered channels. Rescheduling doesn't simply resets all of the plans (if it did this way we could end up with immediate update of all registered channels and this is definitely not what we want), but evaluates if time to update each of the channels has come (channels are older than age specified by new period). If so then the update event will be fired. In any case the plan of channels will be updated with new period setting in mind. Intelligence of this sort ensures that Poller will not overload the network or CPU in any case.

Here's the code:

// Set global updates period to 5 minutes.
poller.setPeriod(5 * 60 * 1000);

Things to note

  • You should carefully choose settings for periods. Too often updates may bring overload to network.
  • You should remember that if you have several Approvers all of them must vote for item in order to make Poller fire itemFound event.
  • Poller is supposed to be thread-safe. You can count on it.