Introducing Invoker - Manage processes in development envionment

Written by Hemant on June 8, 2013; tagged under ruby, productivity, gems

If you are working on a large application with several dependencies such as - more than one application server, background job, it can get tedious to start and stop and check their logs in bunch of different places.

Invoker is a small utility we wrote to manage all such processes from one place. Invoker owes much to Foreman for inspiration, however unlike Foreman it has been exclusively written to be used in development environment. Some major differences are:

To get started we need to install invoker gem which will give us command line utility called invoker, we can do that via:

gem install invoker

Currently it only works with Ruby 1.9.3 and 2.0.

After that we need to start by creating a ini file which will define processes we want to manage using invoker. For example:

directory = /home/gnufied/god_particle
command = zsh -c 'bundle exec rails s -p 5000'

directory = /home/gnufied/god_particle
command = zsh -c 'bundle exec ruby script/delayed_job'

directory = /home/gnufied/god_particle
command = zsh -c 'bundle exec ruby script/event_server'

After that we can start process manager via:

~> invoker start invoker.ini

Above command will start all your processes in one terminal with their stdout/stderr merged and labelled.

Now additionally we can control individual process by,

# Will try to stop running delayed job by sending SIGINT to the process
~> invoker remove dj

# If Process can't be killed by SIGINT send a custom signal
~> invoker remove dj -s 9

# add and start running
~> invoker add dj

One can also enable OSX notifications for crashed processes by installing terminal-notification gem. It is not a dependency, but can be useful if something crashed and you weren’t paying attention.

Using with rbenv or rvm

The way rbenv and rvm work sometimes creates problems when you are trying to use a process supervisor like invoker. There are couple of things to keep in mind, If you are running invoker with Ruby version x, but your application requires Ruby version Y:

I hope you find this gem useful and do not forget to follow us on twitter @codemancershq if you want to keep up with latest utility we are making to make our lives wee bit easier.

Source Code

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop us a mail at