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= cowboy_loop(3)

== Name

cowboy_loop - Loop handlers

== Description

The module `cowboy_loop` defines a callback interface for
long running HTTP connections.

You should switch to this behavior for long polling,
server-sent events and similar long-running requests.

There are generally two usage patterns:

* Loop until receiving a specific message, then send
  a response and stop execution (for example long polling);

* Or initiate a response in `init/2` and stream the
  body in `info/3` as necessary (for example server-sent events).

== Callbacks

Loop handlers implement the following interface:

[source,erlang]
----
init(Req, State)
    -> {cowboy_loop, Req, State}
     | {cowboy_loop, Req, State, hibernate}

info(Info, Req, State)
    -> {ok, Req, State}
     | {ok, Req, State, hibernate}
     | {stop, Req, State}

terminate(Reason, Req, State) -> ok  %% optional

Req    :: cowboy_req:req()
State  :: any()
Info   :: any()
Reason :: stop
        | {crash, error | exit | throw, any()}
----

The `init/2` callback is common to all handlers. To switch
to the loop behavior, it must return `cowboy_loop` as the
first element of the tuple.

The `info/3` callback will be called for every Erlang message
received. It may choose to continue the receive loop or stop
it.

The optional `terminate/3` callback will ultimately be called
with the reason for the termination of the handler.
Cowboy will terminate the process right after this. There
is no need to perform any cleanup in this callback.

The following terminate reasons are defined for loop handlers:

stop::
    The handler requested to close the connection by returning
    a `stop` tuple.

{crash, Class, Reason}::
    A crash occurred in the handler. `Class` and `Reason` can be
    used to obtain more information about the crash.

== Changelog

* *2.0*: Loop handlers no longer need to handle overflow/timeouts.
* *1.0*: Behavior introduced.

== See also

link:man:cowboy(7)[cowboy(7)],
link:man:cowboy_handler(3)[cowboy_handler(3)]