Using the arq Redis queue client and dependency#

Distributed queues allow your application to decouple slow-running processing tasks from your user-facing endpoint handlers. arq is a simple distributed queue library with an asyncio API that uses Redis to store both queue metadata and results. To simplify integrating arq into your FastAPI application and test suites, Safir both an arq client (ArqQueue) with a drop-in mock for testing and an endpoint handler dependency (safir.dependencies.arq) that provides an arq client.

For information on using arq in general, see the arq documentation. For real-world examples of how this dependency, and arq-based distributed queues in general are used in FastAPI apps, see our Times Square and Noteburst applications.

Quick start#

Dependency set up and configuration#

In your application’s FastAPI setup module, typically, you need to initialize safir.dependencies.arq.ArqDependency during the start up event:

from fastapi import Depends, FastAPI
from safir.dependencies.arq import arq_dependency

app = FastAPI()

async def startup() -> None:
    await arq_dependency.initialize(
        mode=config.arq_mode, redis_settings=config.arq_redis_settings

The mode parameter for safir.dependencies.arq.ArqDependency.initialize takes ArqMode enum values of either "production" or "test". The "production" mode configures a real arq queue backed by Redis, whereas "test" configures a mock version of the arq queue.

Running under the regular "production" mode, you need to provide a arq.connections.RedisSettings instance. If your app uses a configuration system like pydantic.BaseSettings, this example Config class shows how to create a RedisSettings object from a regular Redis URI:

from urllib.parse import urlparse

from arq.connections import RedisSettings
from pydantic import BaseSettings, Field, RedisDsn
from safir.arq import ArqMode

class Config(BaseSettings):

    arq_queue_url: RedisDsn = Field(
        "redis://localhost:6379/1", env="APP_ARQ_QUEUE_URL"

    arq_mode: ArqMode = Field(ArqMode.production, env="APP_ARQ_MODE")

    def arq_redis_settings(self) -> RedisSettings:
        """Create a Redis settings instance for arq."""
        url_parts = urlparse(self.redis_queue_url)
        redis_settings = RedisSettings(
            host=url_parts.hostname or "localhost",
            port=url_parts.port or 6379,
            database=int(url_parts.path.lstrip("/")) if url_parts.path else 0,
        return redis_settings

Worker set up#

Workers that run queued tasks are separate application deployments, though they can (but don’t necessarily need to) operate from the same codebase as the FastAPI-based front-end application. A convenient pattern is to co-locate the worker inside a worker sub-package:

├── src
│   └── yourapp
│       ├──
│       ├──
│       ├──
│       └── worker
│           ├──
│           ├── functions
│           │   ├──
│           │   ├──
│           │   └──
│           ├──

The src/yourapp/worker/ module looks like:

from __future__ import annotations

import uuid
from typing import Any, Dict

import httpx
import structlog
from safir.logging import configure_logging

from ..config import config
from .functions import function_a, function_b

async def startup(ctx: Dict[Any, Any]) -> None:
    """Runs during worker start-up to set up the worker context."""
    logger = structlog.get_logger("yourapp")
    # The instance key uniquely identifies this worker in logs
    instance_key = uuid.uuid4().hex
    logger = logger.bind(worker_instance=instance_key)

    http_client = httpx.AsyncClient()
    ctx["http_client"] = http_client

    ctx["logger"] = logger"Worker start up complete")

async def shutdown(ctx: Dict[Any, Any]) -> None:
    """Runs during worker shutdown to cleanup resources."""
    if "logger" in ctx.keys():
        logger = ctx["logger"]
        logger = structlog.get_logger("yourapp")"Running worker shutdown.")

        await ctx["http_client"].aclose()
    except Exception as e:
        logger.warning("Issue closing the http_client: %s", str(e))"Worker shutdown complete.")

class WorkerSettings:
    """Configuration for the arq worker.

    See `arq.worker.Worker` for details on these attributes.

    functions = [function_a, function_b]

    redis_settings = config.arq_redis_settings

    on_startup = startup

    on_shutdown = shutdown

The WorkerSettings class is where you configure the queue and declare worker functions. See arq.worker.Worker for details.

The on_startup and on_shutdown handlers are ideal places to set up (and tear down) worker state, including network and database clients. The context variable, ctx, passed to these functions are also passed to the worker functions.

To run a worker, you run your application’s Docker image with the arq command, followed by the fully-qualified namespace of the WorkerSettings class.

Using the arq dependency in endpoint handlers#

The safir.dependencies.arq.arq_dependency dependency provides your FastAPI endpoint handlers with an ArqQueue client that you can use to add jobs (ArqQueue.enqueue) to the queue, and get metadata (ArqQueue.get_job_metadata) and results (ArqQueue.get_job_result) from the queue:

from fastapi import Depends, HTTPException
from safir.arq import ArqQueue
from safir.dependencies.arq import arq_dependency"/jobs")
async def post_job(
    arq_queue: ArqQueue = Depends(arq_dependency),
    a: str = "hello",
    b: int = 42,
) -> Dict[str, Any]:
    """Create a job."""
    job = await arq_queue.enqueue("test_task", a, a_number=b)
    return {"job_id":}

async def get_job(
    job_id: str,
    arq_queue: ArqQueue = Depends(arq_dependency),
) -> Dict[str, Any]:
    """Get metadata about a job."""
        job = await arq_queue.get_job_metadata(job_id, queue_name=queue_name)
    except JobNotFound:
        raise HTTPException(status_code=404)

    response = {
        "status": job.status,
        "args": job.args,
        "kwargs": job.kwargs,

    if job.status == JobStatus.complete:
            job_result = await arq_queue.get_job_result(
                job_id, queue_name=queue_name
        except (JobNotFound, JobResultUnavailable):
            raise HTTPException(status_code=404)
        response["result"] = job_result.result

    return response

For information on the metadata available from jobs, see JobMetadata and JobResult.

Testing applications with an arq queue#

Unit testing an application with a running distributed queue is difficult since three components (two instances of the application and a redis database) must coordinate. A better unit testing approach is to test the front-end application separately from the worker functions. To help you do this, the arq dependency allows you to run a mocked version of an arq queue. With the mocked client, your front-end application can run the three basic client methods as normal: ArqQueue.enqueue, ArqQueue.get_job_metadata, and ArqQueue.get_job_result). This mocked client is a subclass of ArqQueue called MockArqQueue.

Configuring the test mode#

You get a MockArqQueue from the safir.dependencies.arq.arq_dependency instance by passing a ArqMode.test value to the mode argument of safir.dependencies.arq.ArqDependency.initialize in your application’s start up (see Dependency set up and configuration). As the above example shows, you can make this an environment variable configuration, and then set the arq mode in your tox settings.

Interacting with the queue state#

Your tests can add jobs and get job metadata or results using the normal code paths. Since queue jobs never run, your test code needs to manually change the status of jobs and set job results. You can do this by manually calling the safir.dependencies.arq.arq_dependency instance from your test (a MockArqQueue) and using the MockArqQueue.set_in_progress and MockArqQueue.set_complete methods.

This example adapted from Noteburst shows how this works:

from safir.arq import MockArqQueue
from safir.dependencies.arq import arq_dependency

async def test_post_nbexec(
    client: AsyncClient, sample_ipynb: str, sample_ipynb_executed: str
) -> None:
    arq_queue = await arq_dependency()
    assert isinstance(arq_queue, MockArqQueue)

    response = await
            "ipynb": sample_ipynb,
            "kernel_name": "LSST",
    assert response.status_code == 202
    data = response.json()
    assert data["status"] == "queued"
    job_url = response.headers["Location"]
    job_id = data["job_id"]

    # Toggle the job to in-progress; the status should update
    await arq_queue.set_in_progress(job_id)

    response = await client.get(job_url)
    assert response.status_code == 200
    data = response.json()
    assert data["status"] == "in_progress"

    # Toggle the job to complete
    await arq_queue.set_complete(job_id, result=sample_ipynb_executed)

    response = await client.get(job_url)
    assert response.status_code == 200
    data = response.json()
    assert data["status"] == "complete"
    assert data["success"] is True
    assert data["ipynb"] == sample_ipynb_executed