Invocation pipeline

Understand how to send requests and receive responses.

The process of sending a request and receiving the corresponding response is called an invocation.

You would typically make invocations over client connections. Nevertheless, since client and server connections have the same capabilities, you can also make invocations the other way around, from the server-side of a connection to the client-side of this connection.

With IceRPC, you always make an invocation by calling an invoker. An invoker is a simple abstraction that accepts an outgoing request and returns an incoming response.

In C#, this abstraction is the IInvoker interface:

namespace IceRpc;
public interface IInvoker
Task<IncomingResponse> InvokeAsync(OutgoingRequest request, CancellationToken cancellationToken = default);

Both ClientConnection and ConnectionCache implement this interface. This allows you to make an invocation by creating a client connection or a connection cache and then calling InvokeAsync on the resulting instance:

await using var clientConnection = new ClientConnection(new Uri("icerpc://"));
using var request = new OutgoingRequest(...);
// Make an invocation by calling the IInvoker.InvokeAsync method implemented by ClientConnection.
IncomingResponse response = await clientConnection.InvokeAsync(request);

It is common to perform additional processing on an invocation before giving it to a connection. For example, you may want to compress the payloads of your requests, add a telemetry field to each request, add a deadline, or simply add logging.

An invoker implementation can call another invoker, which itself calls another invoker, and so on; the invoker used to make an invocation can be the head of an invoker chain or tree, known as an "invocation pipeline".

There are 3 common types of invokers:

  • Leaf invoker
    It's a leaf in the invocation pipeline. This leaf invoker is typically a connection.

  • Interceptor
    An interceptor intercepts an invocation and forwards it to the "next" interceptor. IceRPC provides several built-it interceptors for logging, compression and more.

  • Pipeline
    A pipeline walks a request through interceptors registered with this pipeline before giving the request to a leaf invoker.

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