Developer Documentation

Scheduled Tasks

WordPress provides an API for running scheduled tasks that are typically only triggered by uncached user visits to any page of the site, which can be quite unreliable. Additionally this built in cron job system does not scale well on a multi-server architecture such as that provided by Altis.

Altis provides a service called Cavalcade to solve this problem by using a system process to trigger tasks. This has the added benefits of separating background task processing from the web server processes and supporting long running tasks, up to 1 hour. See the infrastructure limitations guide for further details.

Cavalcade is also used on the Local Server and Local Chassis environments to replicate the behaviour of cloud.

The integration with WordPress is seamless, so existing WordPress themes, plugins and other 3rd party code that uses sheduled tasks will be compatible.

The Cavalcade service can be switched off but it is not recommended to do so:

{
    "extra": {
        "altis": {
            "modules": {
                "cloud": {
                    "cavalcade": false
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

Creating Scheduled Tasks

Scheduled events work by triggering an action hook, effectively running do_action( 'hook' ) at the scheduled time. The functions you need to run at the scheduled time should added to that hook using add_action().

Events can be a one-off or recurring.

Note: Scheduling an event within 10 minutes of an existing event on the same hook and with the same arguments will fail.

Intervals

Recurring events need a named interval. Out of the box these intervals are hourly, twicedaily, daily and weekly.

Additional intervals can be added using the cron_schedules filter:

add_filter( 'cron_schedules', function ( array $schedules ) : array {
    // The array key is the name used to refer to the schedule.
    $schedules['15minutes'] = [
        // The time between each recurrence.
        'interval' => 15 * 60,
        // A human readable label for the interval.
        'display' => __( 'Every 15 Minutes' ),
    ];
    return $schedules;
} );

Functions

wp_schedule_event( int $timestamp, string $recurrence, string $hook, array $args = [], bool $wp_error = false )

Schedules a recurring event starting at $timestamp. $recurrence is a named interval as described above. $hook is the action hook to trigger and $args is an optional array of data to pass to the action hook.

$wp_error affects the return value of the function, if true and setting the schedule fails a WP_Error object will be returned instead of false.

function on_do_process( $check_users ) {
    // Some long running process...
}

add_action( 'do_process', 'on_do_process' );

// Trigger first event immediately by setting the timestamp to now.
wp_schedule_event( time(), 'daily', 'do_process', [ 'check_users' => true ] );

wp_schedule_single_event( int $timestamp, string $hook, array $args = [], bool $wp_error = false )

This is the same as wp_schedule_event() but will trigger the event only once.

wp_next_scheduled( string $hook, array $args = [] )

This function should be used to check if an event for the given hook and set of arguments has already been scheduled. If one has it will return the timestamp for the next occurrence.

wp_unschedule_event( int $timestamp, string $hook, array $args = [], bool $wp_error = false )

Unschedules any event matching the timestamp, hook and arguments.

wp_clear_scheduled_hook( string $hook, array $args = [], bool $wp_error = false )

Clears all scheduled events for the given hook and set of arguments regardless of when they will run.