Skip to main content

· 7 min read

Reliable, extensible and performant

Worker 0.16 is here — freshly updated with optional TypeScript typing for tasks, a public jobs interface, a new plugin system, and much more besides!

The new plugin system enables ESM and CommonJS to peacefully coexist, adds support for writing tasks in import()–capable compile–to–JS languages like TypeScript, adds support for writing tasks in alternative languages (e.g. Python, Ruby, Rust), and could open the door to a lot more customizability in future! Version 0.16 also introduces support for “Worker Pro” — a plugin available to most Sponsors which monitors running workers, releases locked jobs from workers that exit uncleanly, helps ease migrations to new releases, and will add more quality–of–life improvements in time.

We’ve backported a large amount of v0.16’s functionality to v0.13 and v0.15; this includes plugin and Worker Pro support to ease migration to the new version.

Thank you to each and every one of our sponsors, together you have made this massive release possible!

What’s new in Version 0.16?

Inspired by the Graphile heart and the PostGraphile elephant, Graphile Worker gets its new heart–shaped worker–ant logo. We admire the industriousness of rainforest leaf–cutter ants, relentlessly working away traversing miles of branches to bring food and messages back to their colony. What better animal to represent the spirit of Graphile Worker?

The new Graphile Worker logo is an ant face

New Graphile Worker website!

As Graphile Worker’s featureset has been growing, managing it all through a README has become challenging, both for users and for maintenance. We’ve moved all the documentation to a new website and spent some time overhauling it with new tips and notes (and corrections). You’re on that new site right now! See the new documentation at

Graphile Config and the new plugin system

Worker is now optionally configurable with Graphile Config. This enables a whole suite of new options and features, not the least of which is you can now share preset files across multiple projects! Graphile Config takes everything we’ve learned from the PostGraphile project relating to configuration and plugins and expands these capabilities into a generic system that Worker can leverage. The plumbing has been completed, the initial hooks are there and ready to be used by everyone to make Worker even more adaptable and powerful than ever before. If you need to do something that there’s not a hook for yet, adding a suitable one is likely straightforward… get in touch for guidance!

Native ESM support!

The first thing we did with the new plugin system was to move the code for loading a task into its own plugin, and add support for loading both CommonJS files and ESM files. Since it’s a plugin, you can replace it entirely, loading tasks in any way you see fit!

Compile–to–JS language support!

With the plugin mentioned above you can add more file extensions to your config for any “compile–to–javascript” language that can be import()–ed — just be sure to make the relevant "loaders" available, e.g. for native TypeScript support you might use NODE_OPTIONS="--loader ts-node/esm" npx graphile-worker

Tasks in even more languages!

And the fun doesn't stop there! We've added another built–in plugin that allows us to offer support for writing task executors in other languages entirely: python, bash, even fortran; choose whichever language makes the most sense for the task at hand. All you need to do is place an executable file in the tasks/ folder and ensure it's named with the task identifier (extensions are ignored).


We have added the JavaScript pattern of abortSignal — a new ability to tell tasks to abort during shutdown. This means no more waiting for the task to complete during a graceful shutdown, so long as your task executor remembers to listen for the abortSignal your job can exit quickly when the worker is shutting down, and boot up again soon thereafter on a different worker.

Opt–in TypeScript typing of tasks

Now you can take down the guard rails, and assume the job type using the new GraphileWorker.Tasks global interface. This is not for the faint of heart, and in fact we don’t generally recommend it! But it has been requested many times, and now it is available to use via a public–facing declaration–mergeable interface. Declaring a global task interface allows you to use auto–complete and payload safety for addJob and quickAddJob, and specifies the assumed types of the payloads of your task functions. More, including important caveats, can be found in our documentation.

Felix Unger from the Odd Couple shows the word assume makes an ass out of u and me.

Remember the caveats of what it means to assume…

Public jobs view

This release makes it much clearer that the tables in which jobs and queues are stored are private implementation details — Graphile Worker needs to be able to change these tables to add new features or perform optimizations. For those users who look into the jobs table, even though we advise against it, we've created a public view that presents a stable interface into the queued jobs. We strongly advise against polling this, it will impact the performance of your worker, but it is now more suitable for usage in automated scripts since the interface is stable.

Worker Pro: upgrade your experience!

With thanks to each and every sponsor (past and present) for reinvesting back into open source, the growth of our community–based funding over the last six years has enabled us to spend more and more time maintaining and improving our various open source packages. These past few months we're grateful to welcome and Seam as the latest in the organizations reinvesting in the software they use — thank you!

Alas, a significant amount of our maintenance and development time is still self–funded; so in an attempt to make this project more sustainable, we have introduced the proprietary Worker Pro plugin, and initially made it available to sponsors on the $25/mo tier and above.

Worker Pro adds worker tracking to Graphile Worker, making it a clean separation from the open source version which does not track the individual workers. With Worker Pro, each worker checks in with a "heartbeat" every so often, and we can use this in various ways.

For example, we have had feedback from the community that having to stop all workers in advance of updating to a new release is not ideal. With Worker Pro, before performing a breaking migration a graceful shutdown of all old workers is triggered, and further old workers are prevented from starting up. Once Worker Pro has confirmed all old workers have completed their graceful shutdowns, the migration can go ahead with significantly reduced risk of conflict. This avoids the need to “scale to zero” as all workers will communicate with each other to help the system as a whole remain consistent, and the newly running workers can gracefully take over from the old.

This new plugin also helps with crashed worker recovery: once a configurable amount of time has passed without receiving a heartbeat from a registered worker, Worker Pro can assume that the worker is no longer running (power pulled, killed, crashed, etc) and release all of its locked jobs to be re–attempted.

There are a couple more major features planned for “Worker Pro”, and once they are added it will be available via the $100 sponsorship tier. Now is a great time to sponsor Graphile and lock in this awesome 75% discount launch offer for at least 18 months!

To get access to “Worker Pro”, please reach out to Benjie or Jem on Discord or email team [at] graphile [dot] org — for the introductory offer you must ensure you have access before the price goes up!

Join our community — we run a Discord server which can be used for community support and to chat to others using the Graphile suite of developer tools. Find out how to sponsor us at

Full release notes found on this site or at GitHub.

A handdrawn image of an ant holding up a green heart

Thank you Graphile sponsors!

Three ants crawling atop the footer