Today I Learned

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Inspecting The Process Message Queue

A core tenant of Elixir is message passing between processes. So, if a process is sent a message, where does that message go? What happens if it gets sent many messages? The Process.info/2 function allows us to inspect the message queue.

First, let’s send some messages (to ourself) and then keep an eye on the length of the message queue as we go.

> send self(), {:error, "this is bad"}
{:error, "this is bad"}
> Process.info(self(), :message_queue_len)
{:message_queue_len, 1}
> send self(), {:hello, "world"}
{:hello, "world"}
> Process.info(self(), :message_queue_len)
{:message_queue_len, 2}

Now, I am curious what those specific messages are. Let’s ask Process.info/2 for the messages that are in the message queue.

> Process.info(self(), :messages)
{:messages, [error: "this is bad", hello: "world"]}

There are a lot of other things that Process.info/2 can tell us about a process. See the Erlang docs for process_info for more details.

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