Actor lifecycle

An actor goes through several stages in life. Transitions between stages are accompanied by statuses. Statuses help us to understand better what's happening with actors. So, a good way to understand actor lifecycle is to get familiar with statuses.


  • Initializing

    An initial status. The actor doesn't handle incoming messages and is doing some initialization, e.g. subscribing to other actors, collecting an initial state, connecting to DB, etc.

  • Normal

    The actor handles incoming messages.

    This status appears on first ctx.(try_)recv() call.

  • Terminating

    An actor is preparing to termination, e.g. doing some cleanup, flushing data, etc.

    It happens when the actor's mailbox is closed and all messages are handled. Additionally, if the actor uses TerminationPolicy::manually, it also happens when Terminate is received.

  • Terminated

    A terminal status. The actor's exec() finished without errors.

  • Alarming

    The actor has some long term problem, but still handles messages, maybe in a special way.

    Currently, this status can be set manually only.

  • Failed

    A terminal status. The actor panicked or his exec() returns Err.

Built-in status transitions

The schema doesn't include the Alarming status, because it can be set only manually for now.

From the point of view of the main actor's loop:

async fn exec(mut ctx: Context) {
    // Status: Initializing
    //  subscribe to other actors, connect to DB, etc

    while let Some(envelope) = ctx.recv().await {
        // Status: Normal
        //  handle messages

    // Status: Terminating
    //  make cleanup, flush data, etc
} // Status: Terminated or Failed

Manual status management

It's possible to avoid managing statuses totally, built-in logic is reasonable enough. However, with the increasing complexity of actors, it can be helpful to provide more information about the current status.

The basic way to change status:


Also, details can be provided with each status:

ctx.set_status(ActorStatus::INITIALIZING.with_details("loading state"));

Subscribing to actor's statuses

TODO: SubscribeToActorStatuses, ActorStatusReport