Using services in a flow

Service classes are long-lived instances that can trigger or be triggered by flows from within a node. A Service class is limited to a single instance per node. During startup, the node handles the creation of the service. If there is problem when instantiating service the node will report in the log what the problem was and terminate.

Services allow related, reusable, functions to be separated into their own class where their functionality is grouped together. These functions can then be called from other services or flows.

Creating a Service

To define a Service class:

  • Add the CordaService annotation
  • Add a constructor with a single parameter of AppServiceHub
  • Extend SingletonSerializeAsToken

Below is an empty implementation of a Service class:

@CordaService
class MyCordaService(private val serviceHub: AppServiceHub) : SingletonSerializeAsToken() {

    init {
        // Custom code ran at service creation

        // Optional: Express interest in receiving lifecycle events
        services.register { processEvent(it) }
    }

    private fun processEvent(event: ServiceLifecycleEvent) {
        // Lifecycle event handling code including full use of serviceHub
        when (event) {
            STATE_MACHINE_STARTED -> {
                services.vaultService.queryBy(...)
                services.startFlow(...)
            }
            else -> {
                // Process other types of events
            }
        }
    }

    // public api of service
}
@CordaService
public class MyCordaService extends SingletonSerializeAsToken {

    private final AppServiceHub serviceHub;

    public MyCordaService(AppServiceHub serviceHub) {
        this.serviceHub = serviceHub;
        // Custom code ran at service creation

        // Optional: Express interest in receiving lifecycle events
        serviceHub.register(SERVICE_PRIORITY_NORMAL, this::processEvent);
    }

    private void processEvent(ServiceLifecycleEvent event) {
        switch (event) {
            case STATE_MACHINE_STARTED:
                serviceHub.getVaultService().queryBy(...)
                serviceHub.startFlow(...)
                break;
            default:
                // Process other types of events
                break;
        }
    }

    // public api of service
}

The AppServiceHub provides the ServiceHub functionality to the Service class, with the extra ability to start flows. Starting flows from AppServiceHub is explained further in Starting Flows from a Service.

The AppServiceHub also provides access to database which will enable the Service class to perform DB transactions from the threads managed by the Service.

Also the AppServiceHub provides ability for CordaService to subscribe for lifecycle events of the node, such that it will get notified about node finishing initialisation and when the node is shutting down such that CordaService will be able to perform clean-up of some critical resources. For more details please have refer to KDocs for ServiceLifecycleObserver.

Retrieving a Service

A Service class can be retrieved by calling ServiceHub.cordaService which returns the single instance of the class passed into the function:

val service: MyCordaService = serviceHub.cordaService(MyCordaService::class.java)
MyCordaService service = serviceHub.cordaService(MyCordaService.class);

Starting Flows from a Service

Starting flows via a service can lead to deadlock within the node’s flow worker queue, which will prevent new flows from starting. To avoid this, the rules bellow should be followed:

  • When called from a running flow, the service must invoke the new flow from another thread. The existing flow cannot await the execution of the new flow.
  • When ServiceHub.trackBy is placed inside the service, flows started inside the observable must be placed onto another thread.
  • Flows started by other means, do not require any special treatment.