Temporal Ruby SDK

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Temporal is a distributed, scalable, durable, and highly available orchestration engine used to execute asynchronous long-running business logic in a scalable and resilient way.

"Temporal Ruby SDK" is the framework for authoring workflows and activities using the Ruby programming language.


The Ruby SDK is under development. There are no compatibility guarantees at this time.

At this point the SDK only supports the Temporal Client capabilities:

  • Starting a workflow (defined in any other SDK)
  • Interacting with a workflow (cancelling, querying, signalling, etc)
  • Interceptor and Data Conversion support
  • gRPC access to Temporal Server
  • Temporal Cloud is not yet supported due to the lack of TLS support, but it's coming soon

As well as Activity Worker capabilities:

  • Definiting activities
  • Activity heartbeats/cancellations
  • Running activity workers

Quick Start


Add the temporalio gem to your Gemfile:

gem 'temporalio'

The SDK is now ready for use. To build from source, see Dev Setup.

NOTE: This README is for the current branch and not necessarily what's released on RubyGems.



A client can be created and used to start a workflow like so:

# Establish a gRPC connection to the server
connection = Temporalio::Connection.new('localhost:7233')

# Initialize a Client with a namespace
client = Temporalio::Client.new(connection, 'my-namespace')

# Start a workflow
handle = client.start_workflow('MyWorkflow', 'some input', id: 'my-id', task_queue: 'my-task-queue')

# Wait for the workflow to finish processing
result = handle.result
puts "Result: #{result}"

Some things to note about the above code:

  • A Client does not have an explicit "close"
  • TLS is not yet supported
  • All positional arguments after the workflow name are treated as workflow arguments
  • The handle represents the workflow that was started and can be used for more than just getting the result
  • Clients can have many more options not shown here (e.g. data converters and interceptors)

Data Conversion

Data converters are used to convert raw Temporal payloads to/from actual Ruby types. These consist of 3 distinct types of converters:

  • Payload Converters to convert Ruby values to/from serialized bytes
  • Payload Codecs to convert bytes to bytes (e.g. for compression or encryption)
  • Failure Converters to convert exceptions to/from serialized failures

The default data converter supports converting multiple types including:

  • nil
  • bytes (String with Encoding::ASCII_8BIT)
  • Anything that JSON.generate supports

This notably doesn't include any Date, Time, or DateTime objects as they may not work across different SDKs. A custom payload converter can be implemented to support these.


Workers host workflows (coming soon) and/or activities. Here's how to run a worker:

require 'temporal'

# Establish a gRPC connection to the server
connection = Temporal::Connection.new('localhost:7233')

# Initialize a new worker with your activities
worker = Temporal::Worker.new(connection, 'my-namespace', 'my-task-queue', activities: [MyActivity])

# Occupy the thread by running the worker

Some things to note about the above code:

  • This creates/uses the same connection that is used for initializing a client
  • Workers can have many more options not shown here (e.g. data converters and interceptors)

In order to have more control over running of a worker you can provide a block of code by the end of which the worker will shut itself down:

# Initialize worker_1, worker_2 and worker_3 as in the example above

# Run the worker for 5 seconds, then shut down
worker_1.run { sleep 5 }

# Or shut the worker down when a workflow completes (very useful for running specs):
client = Temporal::Client.new(connection, 'my-namespace')
handle = client.start_workflow('MyWorkflow', 'some input', id: 'my-id', task_queue: 'my-task-queue')
worker_2.run { handle.result }

# Or wait for some external signal to stop the worker
stop_queue = Queue.new
Signal.trap('USR1') { stop_queue.close }
worker_3.run { stop_queue.pop }

You can also shut down a running worker by calling Temporal::Worker#shutdown from a separate thread at any time.

Running multiple workers

In order to run multiple workers in the same thread you can use the Temporal::Worker.run method:

# Initialize workers
worker_1 = Temporal::Worker.new(connection, 'my-namespace-1', 'my-task-queue-1', activities: [MyActivity1, MyActivity2])
worker_2 = Temporal::Worker.new(connection, 'my-namespace-2', 'my-task-queue-1', activities: [MyActivity3])
worker_3 = Temporal::Worker.new(connection, 'my-namespace-1', 'my-task-queue-2', activities: [MyActivity4])

Temporal::Worker.run(worker_1, worker_2, worker_3)

Please note that similar to Temporal::Worker#run, Temporal::Worker.run accepts a block that behaves the same way — the workers will be shut down when the block finishes.

You can also configure your worker to listen on process signals to initiate a shutdown:

Temporal::Worker.run(worker_1, worker_2, worker_3, shutdown_signals: %w[INT TERM])

Worker Shutdown

The Temporal::Worker#run (as well as Temporal::Worker#shutdown) invocation will wait on all activities to complete, so if a long-running activity does not at least respect cancellation, the shutdown may never complete.

If a worker was initialized with a graceful_shutdown_timeout option then a cancellation will be issued for every running activity after the set timeout. The bahaviour is mostly identical to a server requested cancellation and should be handled accordingly. More on this in Heartbeating and Cancellation.



Activities are defined by subclassing Temporal::Activity class:

class SayHelloActivity < Temporal::Activity
  # Optionally specify a custom activity name:
  #   (The class name `SayHelloActivity` will be used by default)
  activity_name 'say-hello'

  def execute(name)
    return "Hello, #{name}!"

Some things to note about activity definitions:

  • Long running activities should regularly heartbeat and handle cancellation
  • Activities can only have positional arguments. Best practice is to only take a single argument that is an object/dataclass of fields that can be added to as needed.

Activity Context

Activity classes have access to Temporal::Activity::Context via the activity method. Which itself provides access to useful methods, specifically:

  • info - Returns the immutable info of the currently running activity
  • heartbeat(*details) - Record a heartbeat
  • cancelled? - Whether a cancellation has been requested on this activity
  • shield - Prevent cancel exception from being thrown during the provided block of code
Heartbeating and Cancellation

In order for a non-local activity to be notified of cancellation requests, it must call activity.heartbeat. It is strongly recommended that all but the fastest executing activities call this method regularly.

In addition to obtaining cancellation information, heartbeats also support detail data that is persisted on the server for retrieval during activity retry. If an activity calls activity.heartbeat(123, 456) and then fails and is retried, activity.info.heartbeat_details will return an array containing 123 and 456 on the next run.

A cancellation is implemented using the Thread#raise method, which will raise a Temporal::Error::ActivityCancelled during the execution of an activity. This means that your code might get interrupted at any point and never complete. In order to protect critical parts of your activities wrap them in activity.shield:

class ActivityWithCriticalLogic < Temporal::Activity
  def execute
    activity.shield do


    activity.shield do

This will ensure that a cancellation request received while inside the activity.shield block will not raise an exception until that block finishes.

In case the entire activity is considered critical, you can mark it as shielded! and ignore cancellation requests altogether:

class CriticalActivity < Temporal::Activity

  def execute

For any long-running activity using this approach it is recommended to periodically check activity.cancelled? flag and respond accordingly.

Please note that your activities can also get cancelled during a worker shutdown process (if configured accordingly).

Dev Setup

Once you've forked/cloned the repository you want to make sure all the submodules are fetched as well. You can do that using:

> git submodule update --recursive

From there you should be able to install all the Ruby gems using:

> bundle install

In order to compile the Rust Bridge you need to have rust, cargo and rustup installed. You will also need to install the rustfmt component:

> rustup component add rustfmt

Now you should be able to compile a dev build of the Bridge:

> bundle exec rake bridge:build

You can then run all the specs against a dev build using:

> bundle exec rspec

And open an IRB session using:

> bundle console