gen_statem.3erl man page

gen_statem ā€” Generic state machine behavior.

Description

gen_statem provides a generic state machine behaviour that for new code replaces its predecessor gen_fsm since Erlang/OTP 20.0. The gen_fsm behaviour remains in OTP "as is".

Note:

If you are new to gen_statem and want an overview of concepts and operation the section gen_statem Behaviour located in the User's Guide OTP Design Principles is recommended to read before this reference manual, possibly after the Description section you are reading here.

This reference manual contains type descriptions generated from types in the gen_statem source code, so they are correct. However, the generated descriptions also reflect the type hierarchy, which sometimes makes it hard to get a good overview. If so, see the section gen_statem Behaviour in the OTP Design Principles User's Guide.

Note:

gen_statem has got the same features that gen_fsm had and adds some really useful:

Two callback modes are supported:

The callback model(s) for gen_statem differs from the one for gen_fsm, but it is still fairly easy to rewrite from gen_fsm to gen_statem.

A generic state machine process (gen_statem) implemented using this module has a standard set of interface functions and includes functionality for tracing and error reporting. It also fits into an OTP supervision tree. For more information, see OTP Design Principles.

A gen_statem assumes all specific parts to be located in a callback module exporting a predefined set of functions. The relationship between the behavior functions and the callback functions is as follows:

gen_statem module            Callback module
-----------------            ---------------
gen_statem:start
gen_statem:start_link -----> Module:init/1

Server start or code change
                      -----> Module:callback_mode/0

gen_statem:stop       -----> Module:terminate/3

gen_statem:call
gen_statem:cast
erlang:send
erlang:'!'            -----> Module:StateName/3
                             Module:handle_event/4

-                     -----> Module:terminate/3

-                     -----> Module:code_change/4

Events are of different types, so the callback functions can know the origin of an event and how to respond.

If a callback function fails or returns a bad value, the gen_statem terminates, unless otherwise stated. However, an exception of class throw is not regarded as an error but as a valid return from all callback functions.

The state callback for a specific state in a gen_statem is the callback function that is called for all events in this state. It is selected depending on which callback mode that the callback module defines with the callback function Module:callback_mode/0.

When the callback mode is state_functions, the state must be an atom and is used as the state callback name; see Module:StateName/3. This co-locates all code for a specific state in one function as the gen_statem engine branches depending on state name. Note the fact that the callback function Module:terminate/3 makes the state name terminate unusable in this mode.

When the callback mode is handle_event_function, the state can be any term and the state callback name is Module:handle_event/4. This makes it easy to branch depending on state or event as you desire. Be careful about which events you handle in which states so that you do not accidentally postpone an event forever creating an infinite busy loop.

When gen_statem receives a process message it is converted into an event and the state callback is called with the event as two arguments: type and content. When the state callback has processed the event it returns to gen_statem which does a state transition. If this state transition is to a different state, that is: NextState =/= State, it is a state change.

The state callback may return transition actions for gen_statem to execute during the state transition, for example to reply to a gen_statem:call/2,3.

One of the possible transition actions is to postpone the current event. Then it is not retried in the current state. The gen_statem engine keeps a queue of events divided into the postponed events and the events still to process. After a state change the queue restarts with the postponed events.

The gen_statem event queue model is sufficient to emulate the normal process message queue with selective receive. Postponing an event corresponds to not matching it in a receive statement, and changing states corresponds to entering a new receive statement.

The state callback can insert events using the transition actions next_event and such an event is inserted in the event queue as the next to call the state callback with. That is, as if it is the oldest incoming event. A dedicated event_type() internal can be used for such events making them impossible to mistake for external events.

Inserting an event replaces the trick of calling your own state handling functions that you often would have to resort to in, for example, gen_fsm to force processing an inserted event before others.

The gen_statem engine can automatically make a specialized call to the state callback whenever a new state is entered; see state_enter(). This is for writing code common to all state entries. Another way to do it is to explicitly insert an event at the state transition, and/or to use a dedicated state transition function, but that is something you will have to remember at every state transition to the state(s) that need it.

Note:

If you in gen_statem, for example, postpone an event in one state and then call another state callback of yours, you have not done a state change and hence the postponed event is not retried, which is logical but can be confusing.

For the details of a state transition, see type transition_option().

A gen_statem handles system messages as described in sys. The sys module can be used for debugging a gen_statem.

Notice that a gen_statem does not trap exit signals automatically, this must be explicitly initiated in the callback module (by calling process_flag(trap_exit, true).

Unless otherwise stated, all functions in this module fail if the specified gen_statem does not exist or if bad arguments are specified.

The gen_statem process can go into hibernation; see proc_lib:hibernate/3. It is done when a state callback or Module:init/1 specifies hibernate in the returned Actions list. This feature can be useful to reclaim process heap memory while the server is expected to be idle for a long time. However, use this feature with care, as hibernation can be too costly to use after every event; see erlang:hibernate/3.

There is also a server start option {hibernate_after, Timeout} for start/3,4, start_link/3,4 or enter_loop/4,5,6, that may be used to automatically hibernate the server.

Example

The following example shows a simple pushbutton model for a toggling pushbutton implemented with callback mode state_functions. You can push the button and it replies if it went on or off, and you can ask for a count of how many times it has been pushed to switch on.

The following is the complete callback module file pushbutton.erl:

-module(pushbutton).
-behaviour(gen_statem).

-export([start/0,push/0,get_count/0,stop/0]).
-export([terminate/3,code_change/4,init/1,callback_mode/0]).
-export([on/3,off/3]).

name() -> pushbutton_statem. % The registered server name

%% API.  This example uses a registered name name()
%% and does not link to the caller.
start() ->
    gen_statem:start({local,name()}, ?MODULE, [], []).
push() ->
    gen_statem:call(name(), push).
get_count() ->
    gen_statem:call(name(), get_count).
stop() ->
    gen_statem:stop(name()).

%% Mandatory callback functions
terminate(_Reason, _State, _Data) ->
    void.
code_change(_Vsn, State, Data, _Extra) ->
    {ok,State,Data}.
init([]) ->
    %% Set the initial state + data.  Data is used only as a counter.
    State = off, Data = 0,
    {ok,State,Data}.
callback_mode() -> state_functions.

%%% state callback(s)

off({call,From}, push, Data) ->
    %% Go to 'on', increment count and reply
    %% that the resulting status is 'on'
    {next_state,on,Data+1,[{reply,From,on}]};
off(EventType, EventContent, Data) ->
    handle_event(EventType, EventContent, Data).

on({call,From}, push, Data) ->
    %% Go to 'off' and reply that the resulting status is 'off'
    {next_state,off,Data,[{reply,From,off}]};
on(EventType, EventContent, Data) ->
    handle_event(EventType, EventContent, Data).

%% Handle events common to all states
handle_event({call,From}, get_count, Data) ->
    %% Reply with the current count
    {keep_state,Data,[{reply,From,Data}]};
handle_event(_, _, Data) ->
    %% Ignore all other events
    {keep_state,Data}.

The following is a shell session when running it:

1> pushbutton:start().
{ok,<0.36.0>}
2> pushbutton:get_count().
0
3> pushbutton:push().
on
4> pushbutton:get_count().
1
5> pushbutton:push().
off
6> pushbutton:get_count().
1
7> pushbutton:stop().
ok
8> pushbutton:push().
** exception exit: {noproc,{gen_statem,call,[pushbutton_statem,push,infinity]}}
     in function  gen:do_for_proc/2 (gen.erl, line 261)
     in call from gen_statem:call/3 (gen_statem.erl, line 386)

To compare styles, here follows the same example using callback mode handle_event_function, or rather the code to replace after function init/1 of the pushbutton.erl example file above:

callback_mode() -> handle_event_function.

%%% state callback(s)

handle_event({call,From}, push, off, Data) ->
    %% Go to 'on', increment count and reply
    %% that the resulting status is 'on'
    {next_state,on,Data+1,[{reply,From,on}]};
handle_event({call,From}, push, on, Data) ->
    %% Go to 'off' and reply that the resulting status is 'off'
    {next_state,off,Data,[{reply,From,off}]};
%%
%% Event handling common to all states
handle_event({call,From}, get_count, State, Data) ->
    %% Reply with the current count
    {next_state,State,Data,[{reply,From,Data}]};
handle_event(_, _, State, Data) ->
    %% Ignore all other events
    {next_state,State,Data}.

Data Types

server_name() = 
    {global, GlobalName :: term()} |
    {via, RegMod :: module(), Name :: term()} |
    {local, atom()}

Name specification to use when starting a gen_statem server. See start_link/3 and server_ref() below.

server_ref() = 
    pid() |
    (LocalName :: atom()) |
    {Name :: atom(), Node :: atom()} |
    {global, GlobalName :: term()} |
    {via, RegMod :: module(), ViaName :: term()}

Server specification to use when addressing a gen_statem server. See call/2 and server_name() above.

It can be:

pid() | LocalName:

The gen_statem is locally registered.

{Name,Node}:

The gen_statem is locally registered on another node.

{global,GlobalName}:

The gen_statem is globally registered in global.

{via,RegMod,ViaName}:

The gen_statem is registered in an alternative process registry. The registry callback module RegMod is to export functions register_name/2, unregister_name/1, whereis_name/1, and send/2, which are to behave like the corresponding functions in global. Thus, {via,global,GlobalName} is the same as {global,GlobalName}.

start_opt() = 
    {timeout, Time :: timeout()} |
    {spawn_opt, [proc_lib:spawn_option()]} |
    enter_loop_opt()

Options that can be used when starting a gen_statem server through, for example, start_link/3.

start_ret() = {ok, pid()} | ignore | {error, term()}

Return value from the start functions, for example, start_link/3.

enter_loop_opt() = 
    {hibernate_after, HibernateAfterTimeout :: timeout()} |
    {debug, Dbgs :: [sys:debug_option()]}

Options that can be used when starting a gen_statem server through, enter_loop/4-6.

hibernate_after:

HibernateAfterTimeout specifies that the gen_statem process awaits any message for HibernateAfterTimeout milliseconds and if no message is received, the process goes into hibernation automatically (by calling proc_lib:hibernate/3).

debug:

For every entry in Dbgs, the corresponding function in sys is called.

from() = {To :: pid(), Tag :: term()}

Destination to use when replying through, for example, the action() {reply,From,Reply} to a process that has called the gen_statem server using call/2.

state() = state_name() | term()

If the callback mode is handle_event_function, the state can be any term. After a state change (NextState =/= State), all postponed events are retried.

state_name() = atom()

If the callback mode is state_functions, the state must be of this type. After a state change (NextState =/= State), all postponed events are retried.

data() = term()

A term in which the state machine implementation is to store any server data it needs. The difference between this and the state() itself is that a change in this data does not cause postponed events to be retried. Hence, if a change in this data would change the set of events that are handled, then that data item is to be made a part of the state.

event_type() = 
    external_event_type() | timeout_event_type() | internal

There are 3 categories of events: external, timeout, and internal.

internal events can only be generated by the state machine itself through the transition action next_event.

external_event_type() = {call, From :: from()} | cast | info

External events are of 3 types: {call,From}, cast, or info. Calls (synchronous) and casts originate from the corresponding API functions. For calls, the event contains whom to reply to. Type info originates from regular process messages sent to the gen_statem.

timeout_event_type() = 
    timeout | {timeout, Name :: term()} | state_timeout

There are 3 types of time-out events that the state machine can generate for itself with the corresponding timeout_action()s.

callback_mode_result() = 
    callback_mode() | [callback_mode() | state_enter()]

This is the return type from Module:callback_mode/0 and selects callback mode and whether to do state enter calls, or not.

callback_mode() = state_functions | handle_event_function

The callback mode is selected when starting the gen_statem and after code change using the return value from Module:callback_mode/0.

state_functions:

The state must be of type state_name() and one callback function per state, that is, Module:StateName/3, is used.

handle_event_function:

The state can be any term and the callback function Module:handle_event/4 is used for all states.

state_enter() = state_enter

Whether the state machine should use state enter calls or not is selected when starting the gen_statem and after code change using the return value from Module:callback_mode/0.

If Module:callback_mode/0 returns a list containing state_enter, the gen_statem engine will, at every state change, call the state callback with arguments (enter, OldState, Data) or (enter, OldState, State, Data), depending on the callback mode. This may look like an event but is really a call performed after the previous state callback returned and before any event is delivered to the new state callback. See Module:StateName/3 and Module:handle_event/4. Such a call can be repeated by returning a repeat_state or repeat_state_and_data tuple from the state callback.

If Module:callback_mode/0 does not return such a list, no state enter calls are done.

If Module:code_change/4 should transform the state, it is regarded as a state rename and not a state change, which will not cause a state enter call.

Note that a state enter call will be done right before entering the initial state even though this actually is not a state change. In this case OldState =:= State, which cannot happen for a subsequent state change, but will happen when repeating the state enter call.

transition_option() = 
    postpone() |
    hibernate() |
    event_timeout() |
    generic_timeout() |
    state_timeout()

Transition options can be set by actions and modify the state transition. The state transition takes place when the state callback has processed an event and returns. Here are the sequence of steps for a state transition:

  • All returned actions are processed in order of appearance. In this step all replies generated by any reply_action() are sent. Other actions set transition_option()s that come into play in subsequent steps.
  • If state enter calls are used, and either it is the initial state or one of the callback results repeat_state_and_data or repeat_state_and_data is used the gen_statem engine calls the current state callback with arguments (enter, State, Data) or (enter, State, State, Data) (depending on callback mode) and when it returns starts again from the top of this sequence.

    If state enter calls are used, and the state changes the gen_statem engine calls the new state callback with arguments (enter, OldState, Data) or (enter, OldState, State, Data) (depending on callback mode) and when it returns starts again from the top of this sequence.

  • If postpone() is true, the current event is postponed.
  • If this is a state change, the queue of incoming events is reset to start with the oldest postponed.
  • All events stored with action() next_event are inserted to be processed before previously queued events.
  • Time-out timers event_timeout(), generic_timeout() and state_timeout() are handled. Time-outs with zero time are guaranteed to be delivered to the state machine before any external not yet received event so if there is such a time-out requested, the corresponding time-out zero event is enqueued as the newest received event; that is after already queued events such as inserted and postponed events.

    Any event cancels an event_timeout() so a zero time event time-out is only generated if the event queue is empty.
    A state change cancels a state_timeout() and any new transition option of this type belongs to the new state, that is; a state_timeout() applies to the state the state machine enters.

  • If there are enqueued events the state callback for the possibly new state is called with the oldest enqueued event, and we start again from the top of this sequence.
  • Otherwise the gen_statem goes into receive or hibernation (if hibernate() is true) to wait for the next message. In hibernation the next non-system event awakens the gen_statem, or rather the next incoming message awakens the gen_statem, but if it is a system event it goes right back into hibernation. When a new message arrives the state callback is called with the corresponding event, and we start again from the top of this sequence.
postpone() = boolean()

If true, postpones the current event and retries it after a state change (NextState =/= State).

hibernate() = boolean()

If true, hibernates the gen_statem by calling proc_lib:hibernate/3 before going into receive to wait for a new external event.

Note:

If there are enqueued events to process when hibrnation is requested, this is optimized by not hibernating but instead calling erlang:garbage_collect/0 to simulate that the gen_statem entered hibernation and immediately got awakened by an enqueued event.

event_timeout() = timeout() | integer()

Starts a timer set by enter_action() timeout. When the timer expires an event of event_type() timeout will be generated. See erlang:start_timer/4 for how Time and Options are interpreted. Future erlang:start_timer/4 Options will not necessarily be supported.

Any event that arrives cancels this time-out. Note that a retried or inserted event counts as arrived. So does a state time-out zero event, if it was generated before this time-out is requested.

If Time is infinity, no timer is started, as it never would expire anyway.

If Time is relative and 0 no timer is actually started, instead the the time-out event is enqueued to ensure that it gets processed before any not yet received external event, but after already queued events.

Note that it is not possible nor needed to cancel this time-out, as it is cancelled automatically by any other event.

generic_timeout() = timeout() | integer()

Starts a timer set by enter_action() {timeout,Name}. When the timer expires an event of event_type() {timeout,Name} will be generated. See erlang:start_timer/4 for how Time and Options are interpreted. Future erlang:start_timer/4 Options will not necessarily be supported.

If Time is infinity, no timer is started, as it never would expire anyway.

If Time is relative and 0 no timer is actually started, instead the the time-out event is enqueued to ensure that it gets processed before any not yet received external event.

Setting a timer with the same Name while it is running will restart it with the new time-out value. Therefore it is possible to cancel a specific time-out by setting it to infinity.

state_timeout() = timeout() | integer()

Starts a timer set by enter_action() state_timeout. When the timer expires an event of event_type() state_timeout will be generated. See erlang:start_timer/4 for how Time and Options are interpreted. Future erlang:start_timer/4 Options will not necessarily be supported.

If Time is infinity, no timer is started, as it never would expire anyway.

If Time is relative and 0 no timer is actually started, instead the the time-out event is enqueued to ensure that it gets processed before any not yet received external event.

Setting this timer while it is running will restart it with the new time-out value. Therefore it is possible to cancel this time-out by setting it to infinity.

timeout_option() = {abs, Abs :: boolean()}

If Abs is true an absolute timer is started, and if it is false a relative, which is the default. See erlang:start_timer/4 for details.

action() = 
    postpone |
    {postpone, Postpone :: postpone()} |
    {next_event,
     EventType :: event_type(),
     EventContent :: term()} |
    enter_action()

These transition actions can be invoked by returning them from the state callback when it is called with an event, from Module:init/1 or by giving them to enter_loop/5,6.

Actions are executed in the containing list order.

Actions that set transition options override any previous of the same type, so the last in the containing list wins. For example, the last postpone() overrides any previous postpone() in the list.

postpone:

Sets the transition_option() postpone() for this state transition. This action is ignored when returned from Module:init/1 or given to enter_loop/5,6, as there is no event to postpone in those cases.

next_event:

This action does not set any transition_option() but instead stores the specified EventType and EventContent for insertion after all actions have been executed.

The stored events are inserted in the queue as the next to process before any already queued events. The order of these stored events is preserved, so the first next_event in the containing list becomes the first to process.
An event of type internal is to be used when you want to reliably distinguish an event inserted this way from any external event.

enter_action() = 
    hibernate |
    {hibernate, Hibernate :: hibernate()} |
    timeout_action() |
    reply_action()

These transition actions can be invoked by returning them from the state callback, from Module:init/1 or by giving them to enter_loop/5,6.

Actions are executed in the containing list order.

Actions that set transition options override any previous of the same type, so the last in the containing list wins. For example, the last event_timeout() overrides any previous event_timeout() in the list.

hibernate:

Sets the transition_option() hibernate() for this state transition.

timeout_action() = 
    (Time :: event_timeout()) |
    {timeout, Time :: event_timeout(), EventContent :: term()} |
    {timeout,
     Time :: event_timeout(),
     EventContent :: term(),
     Options :: timeout_option() | [timeout_option()]} |
    {{timeout, Name :: term()},
     Time :: generic_timeout(),
     EventContent :: term()} |
    {{timeout, Name :: term()},
     Time :: generic_timeout(),
     EventContent :: term(),
     Options :: timeout_option() | [timeout_option()]} |
    {state_timeout,
     Time :: state_timeout(),
     EventContent :: term()} |
    {state_timeout,
     Time :: state_timeout(),
     EventContent :: term(),
     Options :: timeout_option() | [timeout_option()]} |
    timeout_cancel_action() |
    timeout_update_action()

These transition actions can be invoked by returning them from the state callback, from Module:init/1 or by giving them to enter_loop/5,6.

These time-out actions sets time-out transition options.

Time:

Short for {timeout,Time,Time}, that is, the time-out message is the time-out time. This form exists to make the state callback return value {next_state,NextState,NewData,Time} allowed like for gen_fsm.

timeout:

Sets the transition_option() event_timeout() to Time with EventContent and time-out options Options.

{timeout,Name}:

Sets the transition_option() generic_timeout() to Time for Name with EventContent and time-out options Options.

state_timeout:

Sets the transition_option() state_timeout() to Time with EventContent and time-out options Options.

timeout_cancel_action() = 
    {timeout, cancel} |
    {{timeout, Name :: term()}, cancel} |
    {state_timeout, cancel}

This is a shorter and clearer form of timeout_action() with Time = infinity which cancels a time-out.

timeout_update_action() = 
    {timeout, update, EventContent :: term()} |
    {{timeout, Name :: term()}, update, EventContent :: term()} |
    {state_timeout, update, EventContent :: term()}

Updates a time-out with a new EventContent. See timeout_action() for how to start a time-out.

If no time-out of the same type is active instead insert the time-out event just like when starting a time-out with relative Time = 0.

reply_action() = {reply, From :: from(), Reply :: term()}

This transition action can be invoked by returning it from the state callback, from Module:init/1 or by giving it to enter_loop/5,6.

It does not set any transition_option() but instead replies to a caller waiting for a reply in call/2. From must be the term from argument {call,From} in a call to a state callback.

Note that using this action from Module:init/1 or enter_loop/5,6 would be weird on the border of witchcraft since there has been no earlier call to a state callback in this server.

init_result(StateType) = 
    {ok, State :: StateType, Data :: data()} |
    {ok,
     State :: StateType,
     Data :: data(),
     Actions :: [action()] | action()} |
    ignore |
    {stop, Reason :: term()}

For a succesful initialization, State is the initial state() and Data the initial server data() of the gen_statem.

The Actions are executed when entering the first state just as for a state callback, except that the action postpone is forced to false since there is no event to postpone.

For an unsuccesful initialization, {stop,Reason} or ignore should be used; see start_link/3,4.

state_enter_result(State) = 
    {next_state, State, NewData :: data()} |
    {next_state, State,
     NewData :: data(),
     Actions :: [enter_action()] | enter_action()} |
    state_callback_result(enter_action())

State is the current state and it cannot be changed since the state callback was called with a state enter call.

next_state:

The gen_statem does a state transition to State, which has to be the current state, sets NewData, and executes all Actions.

event_handler_result(StateType) = 
    {next_state, NextState :: StateType, NewData :: data()} |
    {next_state,
     NextState :: StateType,
     NewData :: data(),
     Actions :: [action()] | action()} |
    state_callback_result(action())

StateType is state_name() if callback mode is state_functions, or state() if callback mode is handle_event_function.

next_state:

The gen_statem does a state transition to NextState (which can be the same as the current state), sets NewData, and executes all Actions. If NextState =/= CurrentState the state transition is a state change.

state_callback_result(ActionType) = 
    {keep_state, NewData :: data()} |
    {keep_state,
     NewData :: data(),
     Actions :: [ActionType] | ActionType} |
    keep_state_and_data |
    {keep_state_and_data, Actions :: [ActionType] | ActionType} |
    {repeat_state, NewData :: data()} |
    {repeat_state,
     NewData :: data(),
     Actions :: [ActionType] | ActionType} |
    repeat_state_and_data |
    {repeat_state_and_data, Actions :: [ActionType] | ActionType} |
    stop |
    {stop, Reason :: term()} |
    {stop, Reason :: term(), NewData :: data()} |
    {stop_and_reply,
     Reason :: term(),
     Replies :: [reply_action()] | reply_action()} |
    {stop_and_reply,
     Reason :: term(),
     Replies :: [reply_action()] | reply_action(),
     NewData :: data()}

ActionType is enter_action() if the state callback was called with a state enter call and action() if the state callback was called with an event.

keep_state:

The same as {next_state,CurrentState,NewData,Actions}.

keep_state_and_data:

The same as {keep_state,CurrentData,Actions}.

repeat_state:

If the gen_statem runs with state enter calls, the state enter call is repeated, see type transition_option(), other than that repeat_state is the same as keep_state.

repeat_state_and_data:

The same as {repeat_state,CurrentData,Actions}.

stop:

Terminates the gen_statem by calling Module:terminate/3 with Reason and NewData, if specified.

stop_and_reply:

Sends all Replies, then terminates the gen_statem by calling Module:terminate/3 with Reason and NewData, if specified.

All these terms are tuples or atoms and this property will hold in any future version of gen_statem.

Exports

call(ServerRef :: server_ref(), Request :: term()) ->
        Reply :: term()
call(ServerRef :: server_ref(),
     Request :: term(),
     Timeout ::
         timeout() |
         {clean_timeout, T :: timeout()} |
         {dirty_timeout, T :: timeout()}) ->
        Reply :: term()

Makes a synchronous call to the gen_statem ServerRef by sending a request and waiting until its reply arrives. The gen_statem calls the state callback with event_type() {call,From} and event content Request.

A Reply is generated when a state callback returns with {reply,From,Reply} as one action(), and that Reply becomes the return value of this function.

Timeout is an integer > 0, which specifies how many milliseconds to wait for a reply, or the atom infinity to wait indefinitely, which is the default. If no reply is received within the specified time, the function call fails.

Note:

For Timeout < infinity, to avoid getting a late reply in the caller's inbox if the caller should catch exceptions, this function spawns a proxy process that does the call. A late reply gets delivered to the dead proxy process, hence gets discarded. This is less efficient than using Timeout == infinity.

Timeout can also be a tuple {clean_timeout,T} or {dirty_timeout,T}, where T is the time-out time. {clean_timeout,T} works like just T described in the note above and uses a proxy process while {dirty_timeout,T} bypasses the proxy process which is more lightweight.

Note:

If you combine catching exceptions from this function with {dirty_timeout,T} to avoid that the calling process dies when the call times out, you will have to be prepared to handle a late reply. Note that there is an odd chance to get a late reply even with {dirty_timeout,infinity} or infinity for example in the event of network problems. So why not just let the calling process die by not catching the exception?

The call can also fail, for example, if the gen_statem dies before or during this function call.

cast(ServerRef :: server_ref(), Msg :: term()) -> ok

Sends an asynchronous event to the gen_statem ServerRef and returns ok immediately, ignoring if the destination node or gen_statem does not exist. The gen_statem calls the state callback with event_type() cast and event content Msg.

enter_loop(Module :: module(),
           Opts :: [enter_loop_opt()],
           State :: state(),
           Data :: data()) ->
              no_return()

The same as enter_loop/6 with Actions = [] except that no server_name() must have been registered. This creates an anonymous server.

enter_loop(Module :: module(),
           Opts :: [enter_loop_opt()],
           State :: state(),
           Data :: data(),
           Server_or_Actions :: server_name() | pid() | [action()]) ->
              no_return()

If Server_or_Actions is a list(), the same as enter_loop/6 except that no server_name() must have been registered and Actions = Server_or_Actions. This creates an anonymous server.

Otherwise the same as enter_loop/6 with Server = Server_or_Actions and Actions = [].

enter_loop(Module :: module(),
           Opts :: [enter_loop_opt()],
           State :: state(),
           Data :: data(),
           Server :: server_name() | pid(),
           Actions :: [action()] | action()) ->
              no_return()

Makes the calling process become a gen_statem. Does not return, instead the calling process enters the gen_statem receive loop and becomes a gen_statem server. The process must have been started using one of the start functions in proc_lib. The user is responsible for any initialization of the process, including registering a name for it.

This function is useful when a more complex initialization procedure is needed than the gen_statem behavior provides.

Module, Opts have the same meaning as when calling start[_link]/3,4.

If Server is self() an anonymous server is created just as when using start[_link]/3. If Server is a server_name() a named server is created just as when using start[_link]/4. However, the server_name() name must have been registered accordingly before this function is called.

State, Data, and Actions have the same meanings as in the return value of Module:init/1. Also, the callback module does not need to export a Module:init/1 function.

The function fails if the calling process was not started by a proc_lib start function, or if it is not registered according to server_name().

reply(Replies :: [reply_action()] | reply_action()) -> ok
reply(From :: from(), Reply :: term()) -> ok

This function can be used by a gen_statem to explicitly send a reply to a process that waits in call/2 when the reply cannot be defined in the return value of a state callback.

From must be the term from argument {call,From} to the state callback. A reply or multiple replies canalso be sent using one or several reply_action()s from a state callback.

Note:

A reply sent with this function is not visible in sys debug output.

start(Module :: module(), Args :: term(), Opts :: [start_opt()]) ->
         start_ret()
start(ServerName :: server_name(),
      Module :: module(),
      Args :: term(),
      Opts :: [start_opt()]) ->
         start_ret()

Creates a standalone gen_statem process according to OTP design principles (using proc_lib primitives). As it does not get linked to the calling process, this start function cannot be used by a supervisor to start a child.

For a description of arguments and return values, see start_link/3,4.

start_link(Module :: module(),
           Args :: term(),
           Opts :: [start_opt()]) ->
              start_ret()
start_link(ServerName :: server_name(),
           Module :: module(),
           Args :: term(),
           Opts :: [start_opt()]) ->
              start_ret()

Creates a gen_statem process according to OTP design principles (using proc_lib primitives) that is linked to the calling process. This is essential when the gen_statem must be part of a supervision tree so it gets linked to its supervisor.

The gen_statem process calls Module:init/1 to initialize the server. To ensure a synchronized startup procedure, start_link/3,4 does not return until Module:init/1 has returned.

ServerName specifies the server_name() to register for the gen_statem. If the gen_statem is started with start_link/3, no ServerName is provided and the gen_statem is not registered.

Module is the name of the callback module.

Args is an arbitrary term that is passed as the argument to Module:init/1.

  • If option {timeout,Time} is present in Opts, the gen_statem is allowed to spend Time milliseconds initializing or it terminates and the start function returns {error,timeout}.
  • If option {hibernate_after,HibernateAfterTimeout} is present, the gen_statem process awaits any message for HibernateAfterTimeout milliseconds and if no message is received, the process goes into hibernation automatically (by calling proc_lib:hibernate/3).
  • If option {debug,Dbgs} is present in Opts, debugging through sys is activated.
  • If option {spawn_opt,SpawnOpts} is present in Opts, SpawnOpts is passed as option list to erlang:spawn_opt/2, which is used to spawn the gen_statem process.

Note:

Using spawn option monitor is not allowed, it causes this function to fail with reason badarg.

If the gen_statem is successfully created and initialized, this function returns {ok,Pid}, where Pid is the pid() of the gen_statem. If a process with the specified ServerName exists already, this function returns {error,{already_started,Pid}}, where Pid is the pid() of that process.

If Module:init/1 fails with Reason, this function returns {error,Reason}. If Module:init/1 returns {stop,Reason} or ignore, the process is terminated and this function returns {error,Reason} or ignore, respectively.

stop(ServerRef :: server_ref()) -> ok

The same as stop(ServerRef, normal, infinity).

stop(ServerRef :: server_ref(),
     Reason :: term(),
     Timeout :: timeout()) ->
        ok

Orders the gen_statem ServerRef to exit with the specified Reason and waits for it to terminate. The gen_statem calls Module:terminate/3 before exiting.

This function returns ok if the server terminates with the expected reason. Any other reason than normal, shutdown, or {shutdown,Term} causes an error report to be issued through logger(3). The default Reason is normal.

Timeout is an integer > 0, which specifies how many milliseconds to wait for the server to terminate, or the atom infinity to wait indefinitely. Defaults to infinity. If the server does not terminate within the specified time, a timeout exception is raised.

If the process does not exist, a noproc exception is raised.

Callback Functions

The following functions are to be exported from a gen_statem callback module.

Exports

Module:callback_mode() -> CallbackMode

Types:

CallbackMode = callback_mode() | [ callback_mode() | state_enter() ]

This function is called by a gen_statem when it needs to find out the callback mode of the callback module. The value is cached by gen_statem for efficiency reasons, so this function is only called once after server start and after code change, but before the first state callback in the current code version is called. More occasions may be added in future versions of gen_statem.

Server start happens either when Module:init/1 returns or when enter_loop/4-6 is called. Code change happens when Module:code_change/4 returns.

The CallbackMode is either just callback_mode() or a list containing callback_mode() and possibly the atom state_enter.

Note:

If this function's body does not return an inline constant value the callback module is doing something strange.

Module:code_change(OldVsn, OldState, OldData, Extra) -> Result

Types:

OldVsn = Vsn | {down,Vsn}
Vsn = term()
OldState = NewState = term()
Extra = term()
Result = {ok,NewState,NewData} | Reason
OldState = NewState = state()
OldData = NewData = data()
Reason = term()

Note:

This callback is optional, so callback modules need not export it. If a release upgrade/downgrade with Change = {advanced,Extra} specified in the .appup file is made when code_change/4 is not implemented the process will crash with exit reason undef.

This function is called by a gen_statem when it is to update its internal state during a release upgrade/downgrade, that is, when the instruction {update,Module,Change,...}, where Change = {advanced,Extra}, is specified in the appup file. For more information, see OTP Design Principles.

For an upgrade, OldVsn is Vsn, and for a downgrade, OldVsn is {down,Vsn}. Vsn is defined by the vsn attribute(s) of the old version of the callback module Module. If no such attribute is defined, the version is the checksum of the Beam file.

OldState and OldData is the internal state of the gen_statem.

Extra is passed "as is" from the {advanced,Extra} part of the update instruction.

If successful, the function must return the updated internal state in an {ok,NewState,NewData} tuple.

If the function returns a failure Reason, the ongoing upgrade fails and rolls back to the old release. Note that Reason cannot be an {ok,_,_} tuple since that will be regarded as a {ok,NewState,NewData} tuple, and that a tuple matching {ok,_} is an also invalid failure Reason. It is recommended to use an atom as Reason since it will be wrapped in an {error,Reason} tuple.

Also note when upgrading a gen_statem, this function and hence the Change = {advanced,Extra} parameter in the appup file is not only needed to update the internal state or to act on the Extra argument. It is also needed if an upgrade or downgrade should change callback mode, or else the callback mode after the code change will not be honoured, most probably causing a server crash.

Module:init(Args) -> Result(StateType)

Types:

Args = term()
Result(StateType) = init_result(StateType)

Whenever a gen_statem is started using start_link/3,4 or start/3,4, this function is called by the new process to initialize the implementation state and server data.

Args is the Args argument provided to that start function.

Note:

Note that if the gen_statem is started through proc_lib and enter_loop/4-6, this callback will never be called. Since this callback is not optional it can in that case be implemented as:

init(Args) -> erlang:error(not_implemented, [Args]).

Module:format_status(Opt, [PDict,State,Data]) -> Status

Types:

Opt = normal | terminate
PDict = [{Key, Value}]
State = state()
Data = data()
Key = term()
Value = term()
Status = term()

Note:

This callback is optional, so a callback module does not need to export it. The gen_statem module provides a default implementation of this function that returns {State,Data}.

If this callback is exported but fails, to hide possibly sensitive data, the default function will instead return {State,Info}, where Info says nothing but the fact that format_status/2 has crashed.

This function is called by a gen_statem process when any of the following apply:

  • One of sys:get_status/1,2 is invoked to get the gen_statem status. Opt is set to the atom normal for this case.
  • The gen_statem terminates abnormally and logs an error. Opt is set to the atom terminate for this case.

This function is useful for changing the form and appearance of the gen_statem status for these cases. A callback module wishing to change the sys:get_status/1,2 return value and how its status appears in termination error logs exports an instance of format_status/2, which returns a term describing the current status of the gen_statem.

PDict is the current value of the process dictionary of the gen_statem.

State is the internal state of the gen_statem.

Data is the internal server data of the gen_statem.

The function is to return Status, a term that contains the appropriate details of the current state and status of the gen_statem. There are no restrictions on the form Status can take, but for the sys:get_status/1,2 case (when Opt is normal), the recommended form for the Status value is [{data, [{"State", Term}]}], where Term provides relevant details of the gen_statem state. Following this recommendation is not required, but it makes the callback module status consistent with the rest of the sys:get_status/1,2 return value.

One use for this function is to return compact alternative state representations to avoid having large state terms printed in log files. Another use is to hide sensitive data from being written to the error log.

Module:StateName(enter, OldState, Data) -> StateEnterResult(StateName)
Module:StateName(EventType, EventContent, Data) -> StateFunctionResult
Module:handle_event(enter, OldState, State, Data) -> StateEnterResult(State)
Module:handle_event(EventType, EventContent, State, Data) -> HandleEventResult

Types:

EventType = event_type()
EventContent = term()
State = state()
Data = NewData = data()
StateEnterResult(StateName) = state_enter_result(StateName)
StateFunctionResult = event_handler_result(state_name())
StateEnterResult(State) = state_enter_result(State)
HandleEventResult = event_handler_result(state())

Whenever a gen_statem receives an event from call/2, cast/2, or as a normal process message, one of these functions is called. If callback mode is state_functions, Module:StateName/3 is called, and if it is handle_event_function, Module:handle_event/4 is called.

If EventType is {call,From}, the caller waits for a reply. The reply can be sent from this or from any other state callback by returning with {reply,From,Reply} in Actions, in Replies, or by calling reply(From, Reply).

If this function returns with a next state that does not match equal (=/=) to the current state, all postponed events are retried in the next state.

The only difference between StateFunctionResult and HandleEventResult is that for StateFunctionResult the next state must be an atom, but for HandleEventResult there is no restriction on the next state.

For options that can be set and actions that can be done by gen_statem after returning from this function, see action().

When the gen_statem runs with state enter calls, these functions are also called with arguments (enter, OldState, ...) during every state change. In this case there are some restrictions on the actions that may be returned: postpone() is not allowed since a state enter call is not an event so there is no event to postpone, and {next_event,_,_} is not allowed since using state enter calls should not affect how events are consumed and produced. You may also not change states from this call. Should you return {next_state,NextState, ...} with NextState =/= State the gen_statem crashes. Note that it is actually allowed to use {repeat_state, NewData, ...} although it makes little sense since you immediately will be called again with a new state enter call making this just a weird way of looping, and there are better ways to loop in Erlang. If you do not update NewData and have some loop termination condition, or if you use {repeat_state_and_data, _} or repeat_state_and_data you have an infinite loop! You are advised to use {keep_state,...}, {keep_state_and_data,_} or keep_state_and_data since changing states from a state enter call is not possible anyway.

Note the fact that you can use throw to return the result, which can be useful. For example to bail out with throw(keep_state_and_data) from deep within complex code that cannot return {next_state,State,Data} because State or Data is no longer in scope.

Module:terminate(Reason, State, Data) -> Ignored

Types:

Reason = normal | shutdown | {shutdown,term()} | term()
State = state()
Data = data()
Ignored = term()

Note:

This callback is optional, so callback modules need not export it. The gen_statem module provides a default implementation without cleanup.

This function is called by a gen_statem when it is about to terminate. It is to be the opposite of Module:init/1 and do any necessary cleaning up. When it returns, the gen_statem terminates with Reason. The return value is ignored.

Reason is a term denoting the stop reason and State is the internal state of the gen_statem.

Reason depends on why the gen_statem is terminating. If it is because another callback function has returned, a stop tuple {stop,Reason} in Actions, Reason has the value specified in that tuple. If it is because of a failure, Reason is the error reason.

If the gen_statem is part of a supervision tree and is ordered by its supervisor to terminate, this function is called with Reason = shutdown if both the following conditions apply:

  • The gen_statem has been set to trap exit signals.
  • The shutdown strategy as defined in the supervisor's child specification is an integer time-out value, not brutal_kill.

Even if the gen_statem is not part of a supervision tree, this function is called if it receives an 'EXIT' message from its parent. Reason is the same as in the 'EXIT' message.

Otherwise, the gen_statem is immediately terminated.

Notice that for any other reason than normal, shutdown, or {shutdown,Term}, the gen_statem is assumed to terminate because of an error and an error report is issued using logger(3).

See Also

gen_event(3), gen_fsm(3), gen_server(3), proc_lib(3), supervisor(3), sys(3).

Referenced By

gen_server.3erl(3), supervisor.3erl(3).

stdlib 3.10 Ericsson AB Erlang Module Definition