We will take a closer look at the implementation for the remote key/value store in xmpl. This post is part of a series.

In previous posts xmpl - in-memory key/value store and xmpl - on-file key/value store we looked at two possible ways of implementing the key/value store interface, namely via a wrapper of a simple hash (resulting in KVStore::InMemory) or via a wrapper to this class that also takes care to save changes on a JSON-encoded file (resulting in KVStore::OnFile).

This time we will take a look at the last alternative: a remote repository implementing what described in xmpl - the key/value API.

To do this, we rely on another great feature of Mojolicious: the ease to use its Mojo::UserAgent class to send calls to a remote instance of xmpl itself!

package KVStore::Remote {
   use Mojo::UserAgent;

This time we keep no cache at all and we always ask the remote instance for performing any action, be it read some data or store them. This is done under the assumption that the backend might be exposed to more than one single client, so it’s just easier to avoid caching altogheter. And, of course, that we are not aiming for any kind of performance.

   sub as_hash ($self) { $self->ua->get($self->url)->result->json->{kv} }
   sub get ($self, $key) {
      my $result = $self->ua->get($self->url_for($key))->result;
      die "failed\n" unless $result->is_success;
      return $result->json->{value};
   sub has ($self, $key) {
      return ! $self->ua->head($self->url_for($key))->result->is_error;
   sub remove ($self, $key) {
      say "remove <$key>";
   sub set ($self, $key, $value) {say "$key<$value>";
      my $result = $self->ua->put($self->url_for($key),
         {'Content-Type' => 'application/octet-stream'} => $value)->result;
      die "failed " . $result->content unless $result->is_success;

We are not following a RESTful approach here, as you might have seen. This means that we don’t provide a list of endpoints for the different operations inside all (or some) or our answers - we just expect the client on the other side to build the right URL and use them.

Again, it’s a test program and the API is so limited that doing it “properly” would have not added value. Well, it does not now, but only until it will.

The is_healthy() method is always successful:

sub is_healthy { return 1 }

This might seem counterintuitive. Why not ask the remote also in this case, or raise something if a timeout occurs?

The answer lies in how this is_healthy method will be eventually consumed, i.e. possibly by a Kubernetes liveness probe. We don’t want Kubernetes to evict our pod(s) for the frontend every time the backend is unavailable… so we just ignore it and always flag that things are fine.

The rest of the code in the class is just for housekeeping, e.g. to track the URL, generate URLs specific to the different remote endpoints, etc.

sub new ($package, %as) {
   my $self = bless { %as }, $package;
   $self->{_url} = Mojo::URL->new($as{url} =~ s{/*\z}{/kvs/}rmxs);
   return $self;
sub origin ($self) { return $self->url }
sub ua ($self) { state $ua = Mojo::UserAgent->new; $ua }
sub url ($self) { $self->{_url}->clone }
sub url_for ($self, $key) {
   die "invalid key <$key>\n" unless $key =~ m{\A[\-\w.]+\z};
   my $target = $self->url;
   return $target;

If you want to look at the complete code for the class… head to it!

Before closing, though, it’s time to take a look at how we are selecting the right key/value store in our code:

sub kvstore ($be = undef) {
   state $kvstore = sub {
      return KVStore::InMemory->new unless defined $be;
      return KVStore::Remote->new(url => $be) if $be =~ m{\A http }mxs;
      return KVStore::OnFile->new(filepath => $be);

Using a state variable basically makes kvstore a factory function that returns a singleton. OK, enough jargon: using a state variable makes kvstore return always the same object, initialized once.

The selection process across the different alternatives is performed only the very first time the function is called, that is like this:

kvstore($ENV{KVSTORE}); # set kvstore singleton for this instance

Hence, the environment variable KVSTORE is what eventually tells xmpl what key/value store to use, which will be the in-memory implementation if nothing is set, the remote backend if the value seems to be a URL, and a file otherwise.

Stay safe!