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What is the best way to repeatedly execute a function every x seconds in Python?

Posted by: admin November 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

I want to repeatedly execute a function in Python every 60 seconds forever (just like an NSTimer in Objective C). This code will run as a daemon and is effectively like calling the python script every minute using a cron, but without requiring that to be set up by the user.

In this question about a cron implemented in Python, the solution appears to effectively just sleep() for x seconds. I don’t need such advanced functionality so perhaps something like this would work

while True:
    # Code executed here
    time.sleep(60)

Are there any foreseeable problems with this code?

Answers:

Use the sched module, which implements a general purpose event scheduler.

import sched, time
s = sched.scheduler(time.time, time.sleep)
def do_something(sc): 
    print "Doing stuff..."
    # do your stuff
    s.enter(60, 1, do_something, (sc,))

s.enter(60, 1, do_something, (s,))
s.run()

Questions:
Answers:

Just lock your time loop to the system clock. Easy.

import time
starttime=time.time()
while True:
  print "tick"
  time.sleep(60.0 - ((time.time() - starttime) % 60.0))

Questions:
Answers:

You might want to consider Twisted which is a python networking library that implements the Reactor Pattern.

from twisted.internet import task
from twisted.internet import reactor

timeout = 60.0 # Sixty seconds

def doWork():
    #do work here
    pass

l = task.LoopingCall(doWork)
l.start(timeout) # call every sixty seconds

reactor.run()

While “while True: sleep(60)” will probably work Twisted probably already implements many of the features that you will eventually need (daemonization, logging or exception handling as pointed out by bobince) and will probably be a more robust solution

Questions:
Answers:

The easier way I believe to be:

import time

def executeSomething():
    #code here
    time.sleep(60)

while True:
    executeSomething()

This way your code is executed, then it waits 60 seconds then it executes again, waits, execute, etc…
No need to complicate things 😀

Questions:
Answers:

If you want a non-blocking way to execute your function periodically, instead of a blocking infinite loop I’d use a threaded timer. This way your code can keep running and perform other tasks and still have your function called every n seconds. I use this technique a lot for printing progress info on long, CPU/Disk/Network intensive tasks.

Here’s the code I’ve posted in a similar question, with start() and stop() control:

from threading import Timer

class RepeatedTimer(object):
    def __init__(self, interval, function, *args, **kwargs):
        self._timer     = None
        self.interval   = interval
        self.function   = function
        self.args       = args
        self.kwargs     = kwargs
        self.is_running = False
        self.start()

    def _run(self):
        self.is_running = False
        self.start()
        self.function(*self.args, **self.kwargs)

    def start(self):
        if not self.is_running:
            self._timer = Timer(self.interval, self._run)
            self._timer.start()
            self.is_running = True

    def stop(self):
        self._timer.cancel()
        self.is_running = False

Usage:

from time import sleep

def hello(name):
    print "Hello %s!" % name

print "starting..."
rt = RepeatedTimer(1, hello, "World") # it auto-starts, no need of rt.start()
try:
    sleep(5) # your long-running job goes here...
finally:
    rt.stop() # better in a try/finally block to make sure the program ends!

Features:

  • Standard library only, no external dependencies
  • start() and stop() are safe to call multiple times even if the timer has already started/stopped
  • function to be called can have positional and named arguments
  • You can change interval anytime, it will be effective after next run. Same for args, kwargs and even function!
Questions:
Answers:

Here’s an update to the code from MestreLion that avoids drifiting over time:

class RepeatedTimer(object):
  def __init__(self, interval, function, *args, **kwargs):
    self._timer = None
    self.interval = interval
    self.function = function
    self.args = args
    self.kwargs = kwargs
    self.is_running = False
    self.next_call = time.time()
    self.start()

  def _run(self):
    self.is_running = False
    self.start()
    self.function(*self.args, **self.kwargs)

  def start(self):
    if not self.is_running:
      self.next_call += self.interval
      self._timer = threading.Timer(self.next_call - time.time(), self._run)
      self._timer.start()
      self.is_running = True

  def stop(self):
    self._timer.cancel()
    self.is_running = False

Questions:
Answers:

I faced a similar problem some time back. May be http://cronus.readthedocs.org might help?

For v0.2, the following snippet works

import cronus.beat as beat

beat.set_rate(2) # 2 Hz
while beat.true():
    # do some time consuming work here
    beat.sleep() # total loop duration would be 0.5 sec

Questions:
Answers:

The main difference between that and cron is that an exception will kill the daemon for good. You might want to wrap with an exception catcher and logger.

Questions:
Answers:

One possible answer:

import time
t=time.time()

while True:
    if time.time()-t>10:
        #run your task here
        t=time.time()

Questions:
Answers:

I use this to cause 60 events per hour with most events occurring at the same number of seconds after the whole minute:

import math
import time
import random

TICK = 60 # one minute tick size
TICK_TIMING = 59 # execute on 59th second of the tick
TICK_MINIMUM = 30 # minimum catch up tick size when lagging

def set_timing():

    now = time.time()
    elapsed = now - info['begin']
    minutes = math.floor(elapsed/TICK)
    tick_elapsed = now - info['completion_time']
    if (info['tick']+1) > minutes:
        wait = max(0,(TICK_TIMING-(time.time() % TICK)))
        print ('standard wait: %.2f' % wait)
        time.sleep(wait)
    elif tick_elapsed < TICK_MINIMUM:
        wait = TICK_MINIMUM-tick_elapsed
        print ('minimum wait: %.2f' % wait)
        time.sleep(wait)
    else:
        print ('skip set_timing(); no wait')
    drift = ((time.time() - info['begin']) - info['tick']*TICK -
        TICK_TIMING + info['begin']%TICK)
    print ('drift: %.6f' % drift)

info['tick'] = 0
info['begin'] = time.time()
info['completion_time'] = info['begin'] - TICK

while 1:

    set_timing()

    print('hello world')

    #random real world event
    time.sleep(random.random()*TICK_MINIMUM)

    info['tick'] += 1
    info['completion_time'] = time.time()

Depending upon actual conditions you might get ticks of length:

60,60,62,58,60,60,120,30,30,60,60,60,60,60...etc.

but at the end of 60 minutes you’ll have 60 ticks; and most of them will occur at the correct offset to the minute you prefer.

On my system I get typical drift of < 1/20th of a second until need for correction arises.

The advantage of this method is resolution of clock drift; which can cause issues if you’re doing things like appending one item per tick and you expect 60 items appended per hour. Failure to account for drift can cause secondary indications like moving averages to consider data too deep into the past resulting in faulty output.

Questions:
Answers:

e.g., Display current local time

import datetime
import glib
import logger

def get_local_time():
    current_time = datetime.datetime.now().strftime("%H:%M")
    logger.info("get_local_time(): %s",current_time)
    return str(current_time)

def display_local_time():
    logger.info("Current time is: %s", get_local_time())

# call every minute
glib.timeout_add(60*1000, display_local_time)