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Badewa kayode
Badewa kayode

Posted on • Updated on

Handling Slow Third-Party API

Recently, I had to make use of a third-Party API service that takes at least 30 seconds to respond.

The information these API services offer is not frequently requested by users but needed at some point by the user.

I can wait for the response to come back from the third-party service, but are users willing to wait for a response? A user may not be willing to wait for a reply and cancel the request before a response is returned.
If the user can't wait for the response to complete, they won't be able to get the info since it will always take 30 seconds or more to complete.

Every request to the API service costs money. If the user cancels the request before a response comes back, I will still pay for the request πŸ˜‘. Some users will retry which means more money spent on getting nothing.

I have to come up with a way to reduce the request to the third-party API service, run the operation in the background in case the user cancels the request, and improving response time.

For this, I made use of a function that only calls the API once for a unique info_id. Other requests with the same info_id will wait for the response of the first call to complete. When the response arrives, every request waiting will get the response. The value returned is saved in a DB/Cache to speed up future requests.

This way, the user will wait for how long it takes the first request to complete. Requests made before the response of the first request will wait for the response, while requests made after it completes, get the value from the DB/Cache.


package main

import (

var (
    duration = time.Second * 5

type infoModel struct {
    Name    string
    Age     int
    Sex     string
    Hobbies []string
    InfoID  string

// infoSaver defines the interface required to save infoModel to a db
type infoSaver interface {
    CreateInfo(i *infoModel) error

// infoChan the struct passed in the channel
// contains the info model and an error
type infoChan struct {
    info infoModel
    err  error

// infoBatchRequester this handles the request to the slow api/operation
// ensures only the first request call the api/op
type infoBatchRequester struct {
    mx      sync.RWMutex
    pending map[string][]chan<- infoChan // this holds pending requests

// Request makes request to the api
func (i *infoBatchRequester) Request(infoID string, result chan<- infoChan) {
    var done chan infoChan
    _, ok := i.pending[infoID]

    if !ok {
        // create the first pending request
        done = make(chan infoChan)
        i.pending[infoID] = []chan<- infoChan{result}

        // make the request to get the info
        go func() {
            var (
                infoResp infoModel
                err      error
            //pretend to do long running task
            log.Println("DOING LONG RUNNING TASK FOR. CALLED ONCE", infoID)
            infoResp = infoModel{
                Name:    "John Doe",
                Age:     50,
                Sex:     "Male",
                Hobbies: []string{"eating"},
                InfoID:  infoID,

            //send info and error to done chan
            done <- infoChan{info: infoResp, err: err}


    } else {
        // append info to list of pending requests with the same infoID
        i.pending[infoID] = append(i.pending[infoID], result)

    //wait for done to receive a value
    value := <-done
    results, ok := i.pending[infoID]

    if ok {
        for _, r := range results {
            r <- value

    defer func() {
        //delete the key when func execution is complete
        delete(i.pending, infoID)

    if value.err == nil {
        log.Println("SAVED TO DB")
    } else {
        log.Println("Error returned", value.err)

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Using it within an HTTP handler

package main

import (

// mockInfoSaver mock implementation of infoSaver
type mockInfoSaver struct {

func (b mockInfoSaver) CreateInfo(i *infoModel) error {
    log.Println("saving to db", i)
    return nil

var (
    ErrNotFound = errors.New("Not Found")
    defaultInfoBatchRequester = &infoBatchRequester{
        pending:   map[string][]chan<- infoChan{},
        infoSaver: mockInfoSaver{},

// getInfo acts like a failed db get operation
func getInfo(infoID string) (infoModel, error) {
    return infoModel{}, errors.New("info does not exists")

// handleSlowThirdParty http handler that makes the call to the third party api
func handleSlowThirdParty(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    infoID := r.URL.Query().Get("info_id")

    // make a fake request to get the info
    info, err := getInfo(infoID)

    if err != nil {
        // make a request to get the info
        result := make(chan infoChan, 1)
        go defaultInfoBatchRequester.Request(infoID, result)

        select {
        //the request was canceled early
        case <-r.Context().Done():
            log.Println("request terminated")

        //result returned
        case rs := <-result:
            if rs.err != nil {
                http.Error(w, rs.err.Error(), http.StatusBadRequest)

            info =

    b, err := json.Marshal(info)


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Test file to check if it works as expected.

package main

import (

var (
    infoBatcher *infoBatchRequester

func Test_infoFetchPoll_ResolveINFO(t *testing.T) {
    infoBatcher = &infoBatchRequester{
        pending:   map[string][]chan<- infoChan{},
        infoSaver: mockInfoSaver{},

    var wg sync.WaitGroup

    now := time.Now()

    // make 5 request to the get an info_id with the same id
    for i := 0; i < 5; i++ {
        go func(i int) {
            defer wg.Done()
            waitTime := time.Second * time.Duration(4+i)
            _, err := run(fmt.Sprintf("same_info"), i, waitTime)

            // not expecting error for the index greater than 1
            if i > 1 && err != nil {
                t.Errorf("not expection error %v on index %d", err, i)

    log.Println("completed in ", time.Since(now).Seconds())


// run calls infoBatcher.Request for an infoID
// it takes the infoID, the index of the call, and the duration for the deadline.
// duration t is the user canceling the request after time t
func run(infoID string, id int, t time.Duration) (infoModel, error) {

    ctx, cancel := context.WithDeadline(context.TODO(), time.Now().Add(t))

    defer cancel()
    result := make(chan infoChan, 1) // using a buffered channel to prevent it from blocking if no
    // receiver is available

    infoBatcher.Request(infoID, result)
    select {
    case <-ctx.Done():
        log.Println("CLOSED", id, infoID)
        return infoModel{}, ctx.Err()

    case r := <-result:
        log.Println("PASSED", infoID, id, r)
        return, r.err

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Running the test file returns the image we see below. The image shows the request was completed in approximately 5 seconds, the time it takes our fake request to complete.

We can see the request was to the slow fake service was called only once, and even when the request that made the call timed out, other requests with the same info_id still got a response.

Money saved for the remaining request to the same info_id. We can now use the extra cash to buy something for ourselves.

Alt Text


I don't know what to conclude with. I have run out of wise words to say πŸ€”.

Let me just say using the right algorithm can save money, time, and other things good algorithms can save.

The End.

Top comments (1)

jerahmeelanibor profile image
Jerahmeel Anibor

Great Kay! Now, DM me, let's go grab a pizza with the saved cash.