Cleaning up a required process when you quit

Some time ago, I moved a bunch of our devops tools into a Makefile. I’m not sure exactly what the benefit was then, but there have been some challenges.

One of these was related to having to run multiple processes when performing a task, but cleaning up the dependencies when we finish our task. Specifically, we run a websocket server in production that uses Redis for PubSub. We can safely assume the developer is running redis already, since the rest of the platform also depends upon it. However, to collect the changes from Postgres and publish them into Redis, we use a custom django management command. All this does is listen for postgres notifications and forward them to redis.

$ ./ relay

Mostly we don’t keep this running in development, unless you need to be running the websocket code locally for testing. It is a hassle to remember to start a process and then kill it when you are done, so it would be convenient to start the relay command, then start our websocket worker, and clean up both processes when we quit the worker.

This can be done in a Makefile command:

    $(shell trap 'kill 0' SIGINT ; \
        ./ relay & \
        gunicon \
          -k geventwebsocket.gunicorn.workers.GeventWebsocketWorker \
          -workers=1 \
          -reload \
          webocket:application \

The trap command performs the magic - it will kill the background command when the gunicorn worker is killed with Ctrl-C.

I have some other commands which start the background process, and then use kill -0 $(shell ps ax | grep ... | head -n 1 | cut -d ' ' -f 1) to ensure they kill the process on quit, but this sometimes does not work: I should get around to changing them over to this…