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Creating Scehduler Service using Windows Services

, 20 Feb 2010
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Recently, one of my jobs demanded me to create a windows service for scheduling some tasks without human intervention, all we need to mention those services XML file.Configure the scheduled tasks in an XML file (Tasks.xml)On Service Start, load the tasks configuration from the Tasks.xml file...
Recently, one of my jobs demanded me to create a windows service for scheduling some tasks without human intervention, all we need to mention those services XML file. Configure the scheduled tasks in an XML file (Tasks.xml)
On Service Start, load the tasks configuration from the Tasks.xml file into a DataSet.
Get a reference to the assembly that contains the tasks.
Use a Systems.Timer to run a method (RunTasks) periodically that checks the tasks that need to run and run the tasks.
This is how the Tasks.xml file looks like:
<appSchedule>
    <task name="Task1" time="06/07/2009 12:00" repeat="H" />
    <task name="Task2" time="06/15/2009 12:00" repeat="W" />
    <task name="Task3" time="06/29/2009 12:00" repeat="D" />
    <task name="Task5" time="06/10/2009 19:00" repeat="M" />
</appSchedule>
name is the class name of the task to run, time is date and time (MM/dd/yyyy HH:mm format) when the task should run, and repeat is how often the task should run (H- hourly, W-Weekly, M-Monthly, D-Daily)

Using the Code

We used ThreadPooling to ease the burden of managing the threads. Since each task has to run in its own thread and we don't know how many threads to create, we zeroed in on ThreadPooling to manage the threads.
 
namespace MailTasks
{
  public interface ITask
  {
      void RunTask();
  }
}  
 
We have System.Timer object that periodically calls the RunTasks method. We use the global boolean variable workInProgress to track if the RunTasks method is running or idling. If the workInProgress is true, we just return to wait for the completion of the earlier call to RunTasks method. If the workInProgress is false, we proceed further to run the scheduled tasks.
 
We get the list of tasks to run by calling a method GetTasksToRun(). Inside the GetTasksToRun method, we go through the DataSet with the tasks schedule information, for each task scheduled, if the current time is greater than the scheduled time, using reflection we create the Task Object that needs to run and then add it to the list of tasks to run.
 
Once we get the list of tasks to run, we update a global variable numBusy with the count of tasks to run. This numBusy variable will be used to track the number of busy threads at any given time. We loop through the scheduled tasks list, and queue each task in the ThreadPool by passing reference to a method (DoTask) and the task object itself to the ThreadPool's QueueUserWorkItem method.
 
Inside the DoTask method, we call the RunTask() method on the task object passed in as an argument. We update the next run time for the task in the DataSet by calling the method UpdateNextRunTime and decrement the count of busy threads (numBusy) in the finally.
 
Back in the RunTasks method, we wait for all the threads to complete by calling WaitOne() method on the ManualResetEvent object doneEvent.
After all the queued tasks are complete, we persist the tasks data in the DataSet back to the disk and set workInProgress to false to mark the completion of all the tasks queued.
 
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Data;
using System.Diagnostics;
using System.IO;
using System.Reflection;
using System.ServiceProcess;
using System.Threading;
using System.Timers;
using System.Xml;
using System.Configuration;
using MailTasks;
namespace SchedulerService
{
    public partial class Scheduler : ServiceBase
    {
        private static ManualResetEvent doneEvent;
        private static string configPath = string.Empty;
        private static int numBusy;
        private static DataSet dsTasks;
        private const string TASKS_NAME_SPACE = "MailTasks."; //Period is needed
        private const string DATE_FORMAT_STRING = "MM/dd/yyyy HH:mm";
        private static Assembly tasksAssembly;
        private static EventLog eventLog1;
        readonly System.Timers.Timer _timer = new System.Timers.Timer();
        private static bool workInProgress;
        public Scheduler()
        {
            InitializeComponent();
            if (!EventLog.SourceExists("MailScheduler"))
                EventLog.CreateEventSource("MailScheduler", "Application" );
            eventLog1 = new EventLog("Application", Environment.MachineName, "MailScheduler");
        }
        protected override void OnStart(string[] args)
        {
            try
            {
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Mail Scheduler Service Started");
                LoadTasksIntoDataSet();
                LoadTasksAssembly();
                _timer.Interval = 60000;
                _timer.Elapsed += RunTasks;
                _timer.Start();
            }
            catch (Exception ex)
            {
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Error occurred OnStart "+ex.Message);
            }
        }
        protected override void OnStop()
        {
            eventLog1.WriteEntry("MailScheduler service stopped");
            try
            {
                UpdateTasksConfigonDisk();
            }
            catch(Exception ex)
            {
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Error occurred onStop "+ex.Message);
            }
        }
        private static void RunTasks(object sender, ElapsedEventArgs args)
        {
            //If the processing of RunTasks lasts longer than the Timer's interval, RunTasks could be called
            //again before the previous call finished. To overcome this, using a bool variable workInProgress to track if this method is in progress
            //If not, go ahead else return
            if (workInProgress) return;
            numBusy = 0;
           // LoadTasksIntoDataSet();
            doneEvent = new ManualResetEvent(false);
            List<itask> tasksList = GetTasksToRun();
            numBusy = tasksList.Count; //Number of threads to create is not constant, depends on the tasks ready to run at a given time
            if (numBusy > 0)
            {
                workInProgress = true;
                foreach (ITask task in tasksList)
                {
                    ThreadPool.QueueUserWorkItem(DoTask, task);
                }
                doneEvent.WaitOne();
            }
            //All scheduled tasks completed, persist the tasks data to disk,iteration over
            if (numBusy == 0 && tasksList.Count > 0)
            {
                workInProgress = false;
                UpdateTasksConfigonDisk();
            }
        }
        private static void DoTask(object o)
        {
            ITask task = o as ITask;
            if (task == null) return;
            string scheduleName = task.GetType().ToString();
            try
            {
                //Event Log, starting task at this time.
                task.RunTask();
                //Task completed successfuly at this time
                int lastIndexOfPeriod = scheduleName.LastIndexOf(".");
                UpdateNextRunTime(scheduleName.Substring(lastIndexOfPeriod + 1));
            }
            catch (Exception ex)
            {
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Error occurred while executing task: " + scheduleName);
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Stack Trace is: " + ex.Message);
            }
            finally
            {
                if (Interlocked.Decrement(ref numBusy) == 0)
                {
                    doneEvent.Set();
                }
            }
        }
        private static void LoadTasksIntoDataSet()
        {
            try
            {
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Trying to Load Tasks into DataSet");
                configPath = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["tasksConfigPath"];
                XmlTextReader xmlTextReader = new XmlTextReader(configPath);
                XmlDataDocument xdoc1 = new XmlDataDocument();
                xdoc1.DataSet.ReadXml(xmlTextReader, XmlReadMode.InferSchema);
                dsTasks = xdoc1.DataSet;
                xmlTextReader.Close();
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Finished Loading Tasks into DataSet");
            }
            catch(Exception ex)
            {
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Error occurred while loading tasks into DataSet " + ex.Message);
                throw;
            }
        }
        private static void UpdateTasksConfigonDisk()
        {
            try
            {
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Attempting to save tasks information to disk ");
                StreamWriter sWrite = new StreamWriter(configPath);
                XmlTextWriter xWrite = new XmlTextWriter(sWrite);
                dsTasks.WriteXml(xWrite, XmlWriteMode.WriteSchema);
                xWrite.Close();
            }
            catch (Exception ex)
            {
               eventLog1.WriteEntry("Error occurred while savings tasks information to disk "+ex.Message);
               throw;
            }
        }
        //updating the dataset is not thread safe
        private static void UpdateNextRunTime(string taskName)
        {
            if (dsTasks == null) return;
            foreach (DataRow row in dsTasks.Tables[0].Rows)
            {
                if (taskName.ToLower() != row[0].ToString().ToLower()) continue;
                DateTime scheduledTime = DateTime.Parse(row[1].ToString());
                string repeat = row["repeat"].ToString().ToUpper();
                switch (repeat)
                {
                    case "H":
                        scheduledTime = scheduledTime.AddHours(1);
                        if (scheduledTime < DateTime.Now)
                            scheduledTime = DateTime.Now.AddHours(1);
                        break;
                    case "D":
                        while (scheduledTime < DateTime.Now)
                        {
                            scheduledTime = scheduledTime.AddDays(1);
                        }
                        break;
                    case "W":
                        while (scheduledTime < DateTime.Now)
                        {
                            scheduledTime = scheduledTime.AddDays(7);
                        }
                        break;
                    case "M":
                        while (scheduledTime < DateTime.Now)
                        {
                            scheduledTime = scheduledTime.AddMonths(1);
                        }
                        break;
                }
                row[1] = scheduledTime.ToString(DATE_FORMAT_STRING);
                dsTasks.AcceptChanges();
            }
        }
        private static List<itask> GetTasksToRun()
        {
            if (dsTasks == null) return null;
            List<itask> tasks = new List<itask>();
            foreach (DataRow row in dsTasks.Tables[0].Rows)
            {
                DateTime scheduledTime = DateTime.Parse(row[1].ToString());
                if (DateTime.Now < scheduledTime) continue;
                ITask task = CreateTaskInstance(row[0].ToString());
                if (task != null)
                    tasks.Add(task);
            }
            return tasks;
        }
        private static ITask CreateTaskInstance(string taskName)
        {
            string taskFullName = TASKS_NAME_SPACE + taskName;
            try
            {
                if(tasksAssembly==null)
                    throw new Exception("Tasks Assembly is null, cannot proceed further..");
                //Create an instance of the task
                ITask task = (ITask)tasksAssembly.CreateInstance(taskFullName, true);
                return task;
            }
            catch (Exception ex)
            {
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Error occurred while creating Task Instance " + ex.Message);
            }
            return null;
        }
        private static void LoadTasksAssembly()
        {
            try
            {
                if (tasksAssembly == null)
                    tasksAssembly = Assembly.GetAssembly(typeof(MailTasks.ITask));
            }
            catch(Exception ex)
            {
                eventLog1.WriteEntry("Error occurred while loading tasks Assembly " + ex.Message);
                throw;
            }
        }
    }
}              

Points of Interest

 
To recap, the requirements for the windows service are:
  1. The tasks should be loaded from a class library
  2. The schedule information for the tasks should be configurable in an XML file.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

Rajkumar Reddy Mar31
Technical Lead Axentis
India India
MCSD, MCTS

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralRegards Window service PinmemberMember 1000906330-Oct-13 22:13 
QuestionNice PinmemberMohsin Meghani16-Sep-13 19:36 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberkevin123318-Dec-12 22:46 
GeneralNot sure I understand the logic. So, we create a class for e... PinmemberMember 75981879-Dec-10 9:37 
GeneralReason for my vote of 4 Great piece of work. I just wish you... PinmemberMember 75981878-Dec-10 7:37 
GeneralVery Good PinmvpMd. Marufuzzaman20-Feb-10 2:22 
GeneralNice! PingroupStarcounter.com18-Feb-10 23:35 

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