Ketan Singh

Collection of musing and ramblings

Pipeline Pattern in Go Part 2

Posted at — Jul 16, 2021

This post is continuation of older post Pipeline Pattern in Go Part 1. We will try to generalize the pipeline pattern into a library such that it can be used for different use-cases without having to repeat the whole thing everywhere.

P.S. You can find source here , You can also see it action on playground

Design Principle

It’s important to quantize what we want out of this library, here’s my thought process

Let there be stage

type Message interface {}

type Stage interface {
    Process(message Message) ([]Message, error)

Here we have defined two interfaces

Let there be pipeline

type PipelineOpts struct {
    Concurrency int

type Pipeline interface {
    AddPipe(pipe Stage, opt *PipelineOpts)
    Start() error
    Stop() error
    Input() chan<- Message
    Output() <-chan Message

Pipeline is the container for collection of stages and will be responsible for moving the messages.

Here’s Pipeline represent visually Pipeline

Okay so lets implement a Pipeline….err We need one more entity before we can do that

Let there be workers

Why do we need this? As you can see we can have multiple instances of a stage. Other way to put this is that multiple goroutines can execute a stateless stage. We need StageWorker to start goroutines for handling a stage, stop those goroutines when told so and drain all the channels so that all the buffered messages are processed.

type StageWorker struct {
    wg          *sync.WaitGroup
    input       chan Message
    output      chan Message
    concurrency int
    pipe        Stage

func (w *StageWorker) Start() error {

    for i := 0; i < w.concurrency; i++ {

        go func() {
            defer w.wg.Done()
            for i := range w.Input() {
                result, err := w.pipe.Process(i)
                if err != nil {
                for _, r := range result {
                    w.Output() <- r

func (w *StageWorker) WaitStop() error {
    return nil

Start() here does few things

  1. Keeps count of running goroutine via sync.WaitGroup.

  2. Calls the Process() for Stage and then passes the result to output channel for other stages.

WaitStop() just waits for goroutines to die and then returns

Our pipeline now looks like this, where stages are inside StageWorker container Pipeline

Concurrent Pipeline

ConcurrentPipeline maintains a bunch of StageWorker, which is equal to number of stages

type ConcurrentPipeline struct {
    stageWorkers []StageWorker

AddPipe() takes stage and options which for now just contains concurrency but can also contain other fields such as retry mechanism and so on.

This function links up different stages together via channels such that output of previous stage is an input to current stage.

func (c *ConcurrentPipeline) AddPipe(stage Stage, opt *PipelineOpts) {

    if opt == nil {
        opt = &PipelineOpts{Concurrency: 1}

    var input = make(chan Message, 10)
    var output = make(chan Message, 10)

    for _, i := range c.stageWorkers {
        input = i.Output()

    worker := NewStageWorker(opt.Concurrency, stage, input, output)
    c.stageWorkers = append(c.stageWorkers, worker)

As mentioned previously Output() represent output channel of last stage, used for consumption of final output.

func (c *ConcurrentPipeline) Output() <-chan Message {
    sz := len(c.stageWorkers)
    return c.stageWorkers[sz-1].Output()

Similarly Input() is input channel of first stage, typically used for starting a pipeline processing.

func (c *ConcurrentPipeline) Input() chan<- Message {
    return c.stageWorkers[0].Input()

Start() Signals underlying StageWorkers to start.

func (c *ConcurrentPipeline) Start() error {

    if len(c.StageWorkers) == 0 {
        return ErrConcurrentPipelineEmpty

    for i := 0; i < len(c.stageWorkers); i++ {
        g := c.stageWorkers[i]

    return nil

Stop() closes the channels, causing goroutines inside StageWorkers stop and waits for them to exit gracefully.

func (c *ConcurrentPipeline) Stop() error {

    for _, i := range c.stageWorkers {

    sz := len(c.stageWorkers)
    return nil

Now that all the building blocks are in place, usage is fairly simple. You can check out the example here.