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Creating Push Tasks

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This page describes how to create tasks and place them in push queues. When you want to process a task, you must create a new task object and place it on a queue. You can explicitly specify the service and handler that process the task, and optionally pass task-specific data along to the handler. You can also fine-tune the configuration for the task, like scheduling a time in the future when it should be executed or limiting the number of times you want the task to be retried if it fails.

Creating a new task

To create and enqueue a task, get a Queue using the QueueFactory, and call its add() method. You can get a named queue specified in the queue.xml file using the getQueue() method of the factory, or you can get the default queue using getDefaultQueue(). You can call the Queue's add() method with a TaskOptions instance (produced by TaskOptions.Builder, or you can call it with no arguments to create a task with the default options for the queue.

Queue queue = QueueFactory.getDefaultQueue();
queue.add(TaskOptions.Builder.withUrl("/worker").param("key", key));

Specifying the worker service

When a task is popped off its queue, the Task Queue service sends it on to a worker service. Every task has a target and a url, which determine what service and handler will ultimately perform the task.


The target specifies the service that will receive the HTTP request to perform the task. It is a string that specifies a service/version/instance in any one of the canonical forms. The most often-used forms are:


The target string is prepended to the domain name of your app. There are three ways to set the target for a task:

  • Declare the target when you construct the task. You can set the target explicitly when creating the task by setting the Host header using TaskOptions:

    taskOptions.header("Host", versionHostname)

  • Include a target directive when you define a queue in the queue.xml, as in the definition of queue-blue. All tasks added to a queue with a target will use that target, even if a different target was assigned to the task at construction time.

  • If no target is specified according to either of the previous two methods, then the task's target is the version of the service that enqueues it. Note that if you enqueue a task from the default service and version in this manner, and the default version changes before the task executes, it will run in the new default version.


The url selects one of the handlers in the target service, which will perform the task.

The url should match one of the handler URL patterns in the target service. The url can include query parameters if the method specified in the task is GET or PULL. If no url is specified the default URL /_ah/queue/[QUEUE_NAME] is used, where [QUEUE_NAME] is the name of the task's queue.

Passing data to the handler

You can pass data to the handler as query parameters in the task's URL, but only if the method specified in the task is GET or PULL.

TaskOptions.Builder constructor has methods to add data as the payload of the HTTP request, and as parameters, which are added to the URL as query parameters.

Do not specify params if you are using the POST method along with a payload, or if you are using the GET method and you've included a url with query parameters.

Naming a task

When you create a new task, App Engine assigns the task a unique name by default. However, you can assign your own name to a task by using the name parameter. An advantage of assigning your own task names is that named tasks are de-duplicated, which means you can use task names to guarantee that a task is only added once. De-duplication continues for 9 days after the task is completed or deleted.

Note that de-duplication logic introduces significant performance overhead, resulting in increased latencies and potentially increased error rates associated with named tasks. These costs can be magnified significantly if task names are sequential, such as with timestamps. So, if you assign your own names, we recommend using a well-distributed prefix for task names, such as a hash of the contents.

If you assign your own names to tasks, note that the maximum name length is 500 characters, and the name can contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers underscores, and hyphens.

Adding tasks asynchronously

By default, the calls that add tasks to queues are synchronous. For most scenarios, synchronous calls work fine. Adding a task to a queue is usually a fast operation. There are a small percentage of add task operations that can take significantly longer, but the median time to add a task is less than 5 ms.

Add task operations to different queues cannot be batched, so the Task Queue API also provides asynchronous calls that give you the ability to add these tasks in parallel, further minimizing this latency. This is useful if you are building an extremely latency sensitive application that needs to perform several add task operations to different queues at the same time.

If you want to make asynchronous calls to a task queue, use the asynchronous methods provided by the Queue class. Call get on the returned Future to force the request to complete. When asynchronously adding tasks in a transaction, you should call get() on the Future before committing the transaction to ensure that the request has finished.

Enqueuing tasks in Cloud Datastore transactions

You can enqueue a task as part of a Datastore transaction, such that the task is only enqueued—and guaranteed to be enqueued—if the transaction is committed successfully. Tasks added in a transaction are considered to be a part of it and have the same level of isolation and consistency.

An application cannot insert more than five transactional tasks into task queues during a single transaction. Transactional tasks must not have user-specified names.

The following code sample demonstrates how to insert transactional tasks into a push queue as part of a Datastore transaction:

DatastoreService ds = DatastoreServiceFactory.getDatastoreService();
Queue queue = QueueFactory.getDefaultQueue();
try {
    Transaction txn = ds.beginTransaction();

    // ...


    // ...
} catch (DatastoreFailureException e) {

Using the DeferredTasks instead of a worker service

Setting up a handler for each distinct task (as described in the previous sections) can be cumbersome, as can serializing and deserializing complex arguments for the task—particularly if you have many diverse but small tasks that you want to run on the queue. The Java SDK includes an interface called DeferredTask. This interface lets you define a task as a single method. This interface uses Java serialization to package a unit of work into a Task Queue. A simple return from that method is considered success. Throwing any exception from that method is considered a failure.

/** A hypothetical expensive operation we want to defer on a background task. */
public static class ExpensiveOperation implements DeferredTask {

  public void run() {
    System.out.println("Doing an expensive operation...");
    // expensive operation to be backgrounded goes here

 * Basic demonstration of adding a deferred task.
 * @param request servlet request
 * @param resp servlet response
public void doGet(final HttpServletRequest request, final HttpServletResponse resp)
    throws IOException {
  // Add the task to the default queue.
  Queue queue = QueueFactory.getDefaultQueue();

  // Wait 5 seconds to run for demonstration purposes
      TaskOptions.Builder.withPayload(new ExpensiveOperation())
          .etaMillis(System.currentTimeMillis() + DELAY_MS));

  resp.getWriter().println("Task is backgrounded on queue!");

Working with tasks in a multi-tenant application

By default, push queues use the current namespace as set in the namespace manager at the time the task is created. If your application uses multitenancy, see the Namespaces Java 8 API.

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