Karan Sharma

Receiving notifications from Supervisor

5 minutes (1343 words)

Supervisor Events Zine

đź”—Supervisor Events

I had a seemingly simple task which was to receive notifications any time a process managed by Supervisor restarts. I wanted a generic solution where I could get notifications for any change in the process state. Supervisor Events saved my day, although I would admit it wasn’t straightforward to set up.

Supervisor uses STDIN/STDOUT mechanism to communicate with the event listener. You need to configure your event listener in such a way that it can understand the STDIN sent by Supervisor and also communicate back using STDOUT. You can write this event handler in any language you like as long as you conform to the specially formatted messages that Supervisor sends and expects. I had struggled the most at this step and my google-fu didn’t help much in this case.

Supervisor by default will send these events even if no listener is configured. Once you have your own listener setup, you can execute any task you want, eg: send email/telegram/slack messages etc.

In order to configure your event listener, you need to add it to your supervisor.conf. Here’s an example configuration:


For the program to know that it has to send a notification at wowevent pool, you need to add the events key to the program section of supervisor.conf.


Now everytime myprog is about to start, it will send an event to wowevent event pool. Your event listener which is configured at /home/work/testevent/test.py will handle the notification and execute tasks which you want to perform.

There are a bunch of event states that Supervisor captures, I was interested in knowing when my process has started, so I used PROCESS_STATE_RUNNING. You can take a look at all different event types here.

During all this experimentation I came across a bug (which I later found it is a known issue, and an open bug since 4 years now). If you’ve been using Supervisor I am sure at least once you’ve been bitten by not rereading the config file and wondering why Supervisor isn’t picking up changes in config file when you restart the Supervisor. So reread and update becomes a muscle memory after this event . The bug with events is that if you make any changes to the event group, reread doesn’t pick up this change. I initially thought this must be the standard way Supervisor is behaving because I didn’t change any program group. I randomly decided to change the event listener name and BAM! Supervisor read the new configuration and everything suddenly works! ARGH. Why do complex problems have such simple solutions (not a solution, rather a workaround, but you get the drift right?)

đź”—Supervisor Event Listener Protocol

Supervisor sends a header which is a key value pair of meta-attributes about the process and event. This header looks something like

ver:3.0 server:supervisor serial:208 pool:mylistener poolserial:0 eventname:PROCESS_STATE_RUNNING len:69

The event listener mylistener will be in ACKNOWLEDGED state when Supervisor sends the event PROCESS_STATE_RUNNING. Now that the myslistener state has received this ACKNOWLEDGED state, the event listener will send READY back to Supervisor. This is to let Supervisor know that the listener has received the notification. Supervisor puts the listener to BUSY state now and here you can do write your custom task. Supervisor waits for the task to get executed and when it does, the listener needs to communicate back with the result. This process is one full request-response cycle.

Let us write a simple Python script which will listen to Supervisor event notification and communicate back, all in a protocol Supervisor understands.

import sys
import requests

import logging
logger = logging.getLogger('event_listener')
handler = logging.FileHandler('/home/user/prod/events/logs/response.log')
formatter = logging.Formatter('%(asctime)s %(levelname)s %(message)s')

Here I am just setting up basic logging structure since I want to keep the stdout messages separate from what Supervisor uses.

def write_stdout(s):
    # only eventlistener protocol messages may be sent to stdout

def write_stderr(s):

We have written helper functions which will be used to communicate with Supervisor. Now comes the main part (Sorry for bad pun! )

def main():
    while 1:
        # Hey Supervisor, I'm ready for some action

        # Reading the header from STDIN
        line = sys.stdin.readline()

        # read event payload and print it to stderr
        headers = dict([ x.split(':') for x in line.split() ])
        data = sys.stdin.read(int(headers['len']))

        # add your events here

        # transition from READY to ACKNOWLEDGED
        write_stdout('RESULT 2\nOK')
        logger.debug("It's all fine and dandy")

if __name__ == '__main__':

Let us break this into pieces.


We flush READY with a linefeed character (\n) to STDOUT. Supervisor has put mylistener to BUSY state now.

line = sys.stdin.readline()

line would be the header which we discussed previously.

data = sys.stdin.read(int(headers['len']))

This part is interesting. Here, we capture the len key from the header and read the next STDIN line up to this many chars. The data would consist of our event payload. Event payload looks something like:

processname:prog-restartv3_0 groupname:prog-restartv3 from_state:STOPPED tries:0ver:3.0 server:supervisor serial:25 pool:prog-restartv3 poolserial:3 eventname:PROCESS_STATE_STARTING len:76`

This is the handler where you can send an email, send a request to API, log it to file etc.

write_stdout('RESULT 2\nOK')

Finally, we tell Supervisor to put the listener from BUSY to ACKNOWLEDGED state, by sending a result structure. The result could be FAIL or OK, so you need to send RESULT followed by the length of the state variable. For example for OK you will send RESULT 2\nOK but for FAIL you have to send RESULT 4\nFAIL.

That’s pretty much all you need to start receiving notifications from Supervisor every time your program changes its state. If you found this article useful, I’d love if you share this on Twitter or Facebook and let your friends know about it too.

Tags: #Python #Supervisor