Short anatomy of node-redis client

I am trying to write simple redis-client in rust. As part of that exercise, I have read the source code of Node.js Redis Client. I want to jot down some notes on how it works.

A Redis Client opens a TCP connection and it writes and reads over that connection. We will to examine these 3 things in detail. Opening a connection, writing a command and reading a reponse.

Opening a connection

RedisClient definition in this file.

class RedisClient {
  // ....
  constructor(options?: RedisClientOptions<M, F, S>) {
        super();
        this.#options = this.#initiateOptions(options);
        this.#queue = this.#initiateQueue();
        this.#socket = this.#initiateSocket();
        // ....
  }
  // ....
}

In the constructor, we see that RedisClient object has two private variables this.#queue & this.#socket that are relevant to us.

class RedisClient {
  // ....
    #initiateSocket(): RedisSocket {
        const socketInitiator = async (): Promise<void> => {
            const promises = [];

            if (this.#selectedDB !== 0) {
                promises.push(
                    this.#queue.addCommand(
                        ['SELECT', this.#selectedDB.toString()],
                        { asap: true }
                    )
                );
            }

            if (this.#options?.readonly) {
                promises.push(
                    this.#queue.addCommand(
                        COMMANDS.READONLY.transformArguments(),
                        { asap: true }
                    )
                );
            }

            if (this.#options?.name) {
                promises.push(
                    this.#queue.addCommand(
                        COMMANDS.CLIENT_SETNAME.transformArguments(this.#options.name),
                        { asap: true }
                    )
                );
            }

            if (this.#options?.username || this.#options?.password) {
                promises.push(
                    this.#queue.addCommand(
                        COMMANDS.AUTH.transformArguments({
                            username: this.#options.username,
                            password: this.#options.password ?? ''
                        }),
                        { asap: true }
                    )
                );
            }

            const resubscribePromise = this.#queue.resubscribe();
            if (resubscribePromise) {
                promises.push(resubscribePromise);
            }

            if (promises.length) {
                this.#tick(true);
                await Promise.all(promises);
            }
        };

        return new RedisSocket(socketInitiator, this.#options?.socket)
            .on('data', chunk => this.#queue.onReplyChunk(chunk))
            .on('error', err => {
                this.emit('error', err);
                if (this.#socket.isOpen && !this.#options?.disableOfflineQueue) {
                    this.#queue.flushWaitingForReply(err);
                } else {
                    this.#queue.flushAll(err);
                }
            })
            .on('connect', () => this.emit('connect'))
            .on('ready', () => {
                this.emit('ready');
                this.#tick();
            })
            .on('reconnecting', () => this.emit('reconnecting'))
            .on('drain', () => this.#tick())
            .on('end', () => this.emit('end'));
    }
  // ....
}

initiateSocket method returns a RedisSocket object which is turn an EventEmitter. The method also pushes some commands onto this.#queue. RedisSocket definition is in this file.

class RedisSocket {

    // ...
    async #connect(retries: number, hadError?: boolean): Promise<void> {
        if (retries > 0 || hadError) {
            this.emit('reconnecting');
        }

        try {
            this.#isOpen = true;
            this.#socket = await this.#createSocket();
            this.#writableNeedDrain = false;
            this.emit('connect');

            try {
                await this.#initiator();
            } catch (err) {
                this.#socket.destroy();
                this.#socket = undefined;
                throw err;
            }
            this.#isReady = true;
            this.emit('ready');
        } catch (err) {
            this.emit('error', err);

            const retryIn = (this.#options?.reconnectStrategy ?? RedisSocket.#defaultReconnectStrategy)(retries);
            if (retryIn instanceof Error) {
                this.#isOpen = false;
                throw new ReconnectStrategyError(retryIn, err);
            }

            await promiseTimeout(retryIn);
            return this.#connect(retries + 1);
        }
    }

    #createSocket(): Promise<net.Socket | tls.TLSSocket> {
        return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
            const {connectEvent, socket} = RedisSocket.#isTlsSocket(this.#options) ?
                this.#createTlsSocket() :
                this.#createNetSocket();

            if (this.#options.connectTimeout) {
                socket.setTimeout(this.#options.connectTimeout, () => socket.destroy(new ConnectionTimeoutError()));
            }

            socket
                .setNoDelay(this.#options.noDelay)
                .once('error', reject)
                .once(connectEvent, () => {
                    socket
                        .setTimeout(0)
                        // https://github.com/nodejs/node/issues/31663
                        .setKeepAlive(this.#options.keepAlive !== false, this.#options.keepAlive || 0)
                        .off('error', reject)
                        .once('error', (err: Error) => this.#onSocketError(err))
                        .once('close', hadError => {
                            if (!hadError && this.#isOpen && this.#socket === socket) {
                                this.#onSocketError(new SocketClosedUnexpectedlyError());
                            }
                        })
                        .on('drain', () => {
                            this.#writableNeedDrain = false;
                            this.emit('drain');
                        })
                        .on('data', data => this.emit('data', data));

                    resolve(socket);
                });
        });
    }

    #createNetSocket(): CreateSocketReturn<net.Socket> {
        return {
            connectEvent: 'connect',
            socket: net.connect(this.#options as net.NetConnectOpts) // TODO
        };
    }

    // ...
}

The #createSocket & #createNetSocket method finally lead us to TCP connection logic we are looking for.

From Node.js documentation, net module

The net module provides an asynchronous network API for creating stream-based TCP or IPC servers (net.createServer()) and clients (net.createConnection()).

Writing commands

Once the connection is established, we trigger several callbacks that we have setup so far. The socket connected is stored in this.#socket and the this.#initiator callback is called (socket.ts L108) which is passed as the argument to be RedisSocket constructor.

There are several commands queued from the initiator callback ([socket.ts L224-261]). Let’s look at this.#queue from RedisClient. this.#queue is an instance of RedisCommandQueue. RedisCommandQueue definition is in this file.

RedisCommandQueue is backed by two doubly-linked lists (yallist) #waitingToBeSent and #waitingForReply. The names are self explanatory, one queue for keep commands yet to sent and the other for response yet to be recieved.

    addCommand<T = RedisCommandRawReply>(args: RedisCommandArguments, options?: QueueCommandOptions): Promise<T> {
        if (this.#pubSubState.isActive && !options?.ignorePubSubMode) {
            return Promise.reject(new Error('Cannot send commands in PubSub mode'));
        } else if (this.#maxLength && this.#waitingToBeSent.length + this.#waitingForReply.length >= this.#maxLength) {
            return Promise.reject(new Error('The queue is full'));
        } else if (options?.signal?.aborted) {
            return Promise.reject(new AbortError());
        }

        return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
            const node = new LinkedList.Node<CommandWaitingToBeSent>({
                args,
                chainId: options?.chainId,
                returnBuffers: options?.returnBuffers,
                resolve,
                reject
            });

            if (options?.signal) {
                const listener = () => {
                    this.#waitingToBeSent.removeNode(node);
                    node.value.reject(new AbortError());
                };
                node.value.abort = {
                    signal: options.signal,
                    listener
                };
                // AbortSignal type is incorrent
                (options.signal as any).addEventListener('abort', listener, {
                    once: true
                });
            }

            if (options?.asap) {
                this.#waitingToBeSent.unshiftNode(node);
            } else {
                this.#waitingToBeSent.pushNode(node);
            }
        });
    }

Every command enqueued returns a Promise so it’s caller can recieve the response asynchronously. The command is stored as an object along with the promise’s resolve and reject functions.

One thing to note the queues are using doubly-linked lists so commands if need be can be added to the front of the queue. All the commands in the socket initiator pass an additional argument { asap: true }. The authentication command is the last command enqueued from socket initiator with { asap: true } so it will be exectued first.

So far we queued commands, Let’s examine how they are sent.

RedisSocket.#socket will emit a ready event and RedisSocket will in turn emit ready event too. In RedisClient.#initiateSocket, RedisSocket has a callback for ready event.

        return new RedisSocket(socketInitiator, this.#options?.socket)
            .on('data', chunk => this.#queue.onReplyChunk(chunk))
            .on('error', err => {
                this.emit('error', err);
                if (this.#socket.isOpen && !this.#options?.disableOfflineQueue) {
                    this.#queue.flushWaitingForReply(err);
                } else {
                    this.#queue.flushAll(err);
                }
            })
            .on('connect', () => this.emit('connect'))
            .on('ready', () => {
                this.emit('ready');
                this.#tick();
            })
            .on('reconnecting', () => this.emit('reconnecting'))
            .on('drain', () => this.#tick())
            .on('end', () => this.emit('end'));

Let’s examine RedisClient.#tick method and related methods

    #tick(force = false): void {
        if (this.#socket.writableNeedDrain || (!force && !this.#socket.isReady)) {
            return;
        }

        this.#socket.cork();

        while (!this.#socket.writableNeedDrain) {
            const args = this.#queue.getCommandToSend();
            if (args === undefined) break;

            this.#socket.writeCommand(args);
        }
    }
    getCommandToSend(): RedisCommandArguments | undefined {
        const toSend = this.#waitingToBeSent.shift();
        if (!toSend) return;

        let encoded: RedisCommandArguments;
        try {
            encoded = encodeCommand(toSend.args);
        } catch (err) {
            toSend.reject(err);
            return;
        }

        this.#waitingForReply.push({
            resolve: toSend.resolve,
            reject: toSend.reject,
            channelsCounter: toSend.channelsCounter,
            returnBuffers: toSend.returnBuffers
        });
        this.#chainInExecution = toSend.chainId;
        return encoded;
    }
    writeCommand(args: RedisCommandArguments): void {
        if (!this.#socket) {
            throw new ClientClosedError();
        }

        for (const toWrite of args) {
            this.#writableNeedDrain = !this.#socket.write(toWrite);
        }
    }

this.#socket.cork() is a rabbit hole on it’s own. This blog post explains it in a good detail.

RedisCommandQueue.getCommandToSend method will pop the first command off the the queue and encode the command in RESP2 protocol. RedisCommandQueue.#waitingForReply queue is enqueued with node containing RedisCommandQueue.addCommand return value promise’s resolve and reject so they can be called once a response is recieved.

The encoded command is written to the socket in RedisSocket.writeCommand with this.#socket.write. RedisSocket.#writableNeedDrain tracks if the TCP socket’s buffer is full and stops RedisClient.#tick from enqueueing more commands.

Returns true if the entire data was flushed successfully to the kernel buffer. Returns false if all or part of the data was queued in user memory. ‘drain’ will be emitted when the buffer is again free.

socket.write documentation

Is this handling backpressure? Yep. It seems so. Read this great blog post.

            .on('drain', () => this.#tick())

RedisClient.#tick will enqueue command until RedisSocket.#writableNeedDrain is true. RedisClient.#tick will be called again when RedisSocket will emit drain.

Reading a response

        return new RedisSocket(socketInitiator, this.#options?.socket)
            .on('data', chunk => this.#queue.onReplyChunk(chunk))
    onReplyChunk(chunk: Buffer): void {
        this.#decoder.write(chunk);
    }

RedisSocket will queue data coming from the TCP socket to RedisCommandQueue.onReplyChunk method.

    #decoder = new RESP2Decoder({
        returnStringsAsBuffers: () => {
            return !!this.#waitingForReply.head?.value.returnBuffers ||
                this.#pubSubState.isActive;
        },
        onReply: reply => {
            if (this.#handlePubSubReply(reply)) {
                return;
            } else if (!this.#waitingForReply.length) {
                throw new Error('Got an unexpected reply from Redis');
            }

            const { resolve, reject } = this.#waitingForReply.shift()!;
            if (reply instanceof ErrorReply) {
                reject(reply);
            } else {
                resolve(reply);
            }
        }
    });

RESP2Decoder will decode the response and call onReply. RedisCommandQueue.#waitingForReply will pop a node so that it can finally settle to the Promise that was created in RedisCommandQueue.addCommand.

What a journey! I feel great understanding how all this works.