Running a Background Process

A long-running background process in Tugboat needs some special care. If you try to add a background-process to your config file in the conventional way, Tugboat will think the Preview has not finished building, and it will be stuck in the “building” state until it eventually times out and fails.

The reason Tugboat needs to wait for all of the build commands to finish is that we stop the Services after a Preview build is finished in order to take a snapshot.

You can use two techniques to run a background process:

Use runit in an official Tugboat image

Our prebuilt images use runit to start and manage background processes.

To add your own background process that starts when the Service starts, create a directory /etc/service/yourprocessname and a script at /etc/service/yourprocessname/run to tell runit how to start your process.

For example, the following run script would start Apache:

exec httpd-foreground

Below is an example of how you might configure a Node.JS process to start. Keep in mind that runit will try to start the process as soon as the run script is present in the Service directory. So, set it up after any other build steps that it might depend on.

    image: tugboatqa/node:8
          - mkdir -p /etc/service/node
          - echo "#!/bin/sh" > /etc/service/node/run
          - echo "npm start --prefix ${TUGBOAT_ROOT}" >> /etc/service/node/run
          - chmod +x /etc/service/node/run

Use the start command

If you’re not using a Tugboat image that contains runit to start a long-running background process, another option is to use the start service command. Commands that you include in start in your .tugboat/config.yml will run every time the container starts. You might use this to warm a page cache, for example.

Start works like other service commands, so if you wanted to do something like starting a Node.JS process above but without using runit, your config might look something like this:

        - npm start --prefix ${TUGBOAT_ROOT} &