Sleeping for a certain amount of iterations

Disclaimer: The patch given in this article is verified and made for the Python tag v3.6.0rc1 in Python's Git repository.

An alternative for waiting

The standard implementation of Python’s asyncio.sleep, which can be found in asyncio/, only allows to specifiy a seconds delay argument. But in certain situations, maybe, one wants to wait for a given amount of event loop iterations, instead of a given time delay.

This can be achieved easily by changing the implementation of sleep. Here is the patch.

Implementation details

Asyncio’s loop function which called in every iteration is called _run_once. Every callback deemed ready (in the _ready deque object) will be run there. A small implementation detail is that the length of the current deque is frozen when processing _ready, which has the effect that callbacks scheduled while the callbacks are processed won’t be processed in that run, but in the next. With this knowledge the patch should be easy to understand:

  • We schedule the helper function initially
  • In each call the function decreases its iterations argument
  • As long as the argument is bigger than 0, the function will schedule itself (which will happen in the next iteration)
  • Eventually the future’s result is set and the function exits, asyncio does the rest

Here is a small sample script to test the new functionality:

import asyncio

async def slow_operation(future):
    await asyncio.sleep(iterations=100_000)
    future.set_result('Future is done!')

def got_result(future):

loop = asyncio.get_event_loop()
future = asyncio.Future()