3.5.7. Background Tasks

Background tasks mechanism is designed for performing tasks at the client tier asynchronously without blocking the user interface.

In order to use background tasks, do the following:

  1. Define a task as an inheritor of the BackgroundTask abstract class. Pass a link to a screen controller which will be associated with the task and the task timeout to the task constructor.

    Closing the screen will interrupt the tasks associated with it. Additionally, the task will be interrupted automatically after the specified timeout.

    Actual actions performed by the task are implemented in the run() method.

  2. Create an object of BackgroundTaskHandler class controlling the task by passing the task instance to the handle() method of the BackgroundWorker bean. A link to BackgroundWorker can be obtained by an injection in a screen controller, or through the AppBeans class.

  3. Run the task by invoking the execute() method of BackgroundTaskHandler.

UI components' state and datasources must not be read/updated from BackgroundTask run() method: use done(), progress(), and canceled() callbacks instead. An IllegalConcurrentAccessException is thrown in case you try to set a value to UI component from a background thread.


protected BackgroundWorker backgroundWorker;

public void init(Map<String, Object> params) {
    // Create task with 10 sec timeout and this screen as owner
    BackgroundTask<Integer, Void> task = new BackgroundTask<Integer, Void>(10, this) {
        public Void run(TaskLifeCycle<Integer> taskLifeCycle) throws Exception {
            // Do something in background thread
            for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
                TimeUnit.SECONDS.sleep(1); // time consuming computations
                taskLifeCycle.publish(i);  // publish current progress to show it in progress() method
            return null;

        public void canceled() {
            // Do something in UI thread if the task is canceled

        public void done(Void result) {
            // Do something in UI thread when the task is done

        public void progress(List<Integer> changes) {
            // Show current progress in UI thread
    // Get task handler object and run the task
    BackgroundTaskHandler taskHandler = backgroundWorker.handle(task);

Detailed information about methods is provided in JavaDocs for BackgroundTask, TaskLifeCycle, BackgroundTaskHandler classes.

Please note the following:

  • BackgroundTask<T, V> is a parameterized class:

    • T − the type of objects displaying task progress. Objects of this type are passed to the task’s progress() method during an invocation of TaskLifeCycle.publish() in the working thread.

    • V − task result type passed to the done() method. It can also be obtained by invoking BackgroundTaskHandler.getResult() method, which will wait for a task to complete.

  • canceled() method is invoked only during a controlled cancellation of a task, i.e. when cancel() is invoked in the TaskHandler.

  • handleTimeoutException() is invoked when the task timeout expires. If the window where the task is running closes, the task is stopped without a notification.

  • run() method of a task should support external interruptions. To ensure this, we recommend checking the TaskLifeCycle.isInterrupted() flag periodically during long processes and stopping execution when needed. Additionally, you should not silently discard InterruptedException (or any other exception) - instead you should either exit the method correctly or not handle the exception at all.

    • isCancelled() method returns true if a task was interrupted by calling the cancel() method.

      public String run(TaskLifeCycle<Integer> taskLifeCycle) {
          for (int i = 0; i < 9_000_000; i++) {
              if (taskLifeCycle.isCancelled()) {
                  log.info(" >>> Task was cancelled");
              } else {
                  log.info(" >>> Task is working: iteration #" + i);
          return "Done";
  • BackgroundTask objects are stateless. If you did not create fields for temporary data when implementing task class, you can start several parallel processes using a single task instance.

  • BackgroundHandler object (its execute() method) can only be started once. If you need to restart a task frequently, use BackgroundTaskWrapper class.

  • Use BackgroundWorkWindow or BackgroundWorkProgressWindow classes with a set of static methods to show a modal window with progress indicator and Cancel button. You can define progress indication type and allow or prohibit cancellation of the background task for the window.

  • If you need to use certain values of visual components in the task thread, you should implement their acquisition in getParams() method, which runs in the UI thread once, when a task starts. In the run() method, these parameters will be accessible via the getParams() method of the TaskLifeCycle object.

  • If any exception occurs, the framework invokes BackgroundTask.handleException() method in the UI thread, which can be used to display the error.

  • Background tasks are affected by cuba.backgroundWorker.maxActiveTasksCount and cuba.backgroundWorker.timeoutCheckInterval application properties.

In Web Client, background tasks are implemented using HTTP push provided by the Vaadin framework. See https://vaadin.com/wiki/-/wiki/Main/Working+around+push+issues for information on how to set up your web servers for this technology.

If you don’t use background tasks, but want to update UI state from a non-UI thread, use methods of the UIAccessor interface. You should get a reference to UIAccessor using the BackgroundWorker.getUIAccessor() method in the UI thread, and after that you can invoke its access() and accessSynchronously() methods from a background thread to safely read or modify the state of UI components.