Understanding Golang Context timeout


I am having trouble understanding how I can check if context exceeded deadline set by timeout, or if I should check at all?

This is a snippet from mongo-go-driver:

client, err := NewClient("mongodb://foo:bar@localhost:27017")
if err != nil { return err }
ctx, cancel := context.WithTimeout(context.Background(), 20*time.Second)
defer cancel()
err = client.Connect(ctx)
if err != nil { return err }

Reading this code, how do I know if context exceeded deadline? From what I naively understand (or not understand), the line err = client.Connect(ctx) will give me error including deadline exceeded (if exceeded), thus I think I don’t even need to explicitly check?

But then while looking around the internet to better understand how contexts work, I come across uses of select cases which explicitly checks contexts as below (code snippet from http://p.agnihotry.com/post/understanding_the_context_package_in_golang/):

//Use a select statement to exit out if context expires
  select {
  case <-ctx.Done():
    fmt.Println("sleepRandomContext: Time to return")
  case sleeptime := <-sleeptimeChan:
    //This case is selected when processing finishes before the context is cancelled
    fmt.Println("Slept for ", sleeptime, "ms")

Should I be explicitly checking for it? If not, when should I use explicit checks?


The select code in the second part of your question is what the code in the Connect method might look like. There it is checking whether the ctx.Done() is ready to send. If it is, then the context was cancelled either because the timeout occurred, or because cancel() was called.

errors are values. Treat them as such. If it is important for you to understand the cause of the error (network down? unexpected data? timeout?) then you should do the check and act accordingly. If recovery from the error regardless of the cause is the same, then checking the error is not as important.

Answered By – sberry

Answer Checked By – Marilyn (GoLangFix Volunteer)

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