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What is Flow#join in Akka Streams

I'm a learner of Akka Streams in Scala. While I was reading at the IncomingConnection, I found Flow#join. Then, I found the following image on the comment of Flow#join.

+------+        +-------+
|      | ~Out~> |       |
| this |        | other |
|      | <~In~  |       |
+------+        +-------+

But, I'm wondering what its structure is. I think the "join" makes a loop.

So I would like you to explain what structure "join" makes, and tell me simple sample code using Flow#join

like image 951
ryo Avatar asked Feb 07 '23 13:02


1 Answers

The docs state:

Join this Flow to another Flow, by cross connecting the inputs and outputs, creating a RunnableGraph

Here is a good example from akka.http.scaladsl that can help explain why this is useful:

   * Represents one accepted incoming HTTP connection.
  final case class IncomingConnection(
    localAddress: InetSocketAddress,
    remoteAddress: InetSocketAddress,
    flow: Flow[HttpResponse, HttpRequest, NotUsed]) {

     * Handles the connection with the given flow, which is materialized exactly once
     * and the respective materialization result returned.
    def handleWith[Mat](handler: Flow[HttpRequest, HttpResponse, Mat])(implicit fm: Materializer): Mat =

As you may know a handler for an Akka http flow always flow from HttpRequest to HttpResponse, but as you can see an IncomingConnection.flow flows from HttpResponseto a HttpRequest. In other words, it's the user's responsibility to create a response out of a request and Akka Http's responsibility to send that response and produce another request. This does indeed make a closed loop when it involves another Flow, therefore the join method creates a RunnableGraph.

To understand how the connection is handled you should learn a little bit more about BidiFlow. The result of a BidiFlow#join is another flow, because a BidiFlow has two inputs and two outputs. Here is a link to an excellent explanation with examples.

like image 149
Lodewijk Bogaards Avatar answered Mar 05 '23 18:03

Lodewijk Bogaards