Worker-to-Worker Communication

Engineering Articles
March 5, 2024
June 22, 2023
Daniel Vigovszky

Worker-to-Worker Communication in Golem

Golem Cloud's first developer preview has been unveiled in August, and just a month ago, we released an open-source version of Golem. Workers, the fundamental primitive in Golem, expose a typed interface that can be invoked through the REST API or the command line tools, but until today, calling a worker from another worker was neither easy nor type-safe.

With the latest release of Golem and the golem-cli tool, we finally have a first-class, typed way to invoke one worker from another, using any of the supported guest languages!


Golem's new worker to worker communication feature consists of two major layers:

  • A low-level, dynamic worker invocation API exposed as a Golem host function to all workers. This interface is not type safe. Rather, it matches the capabilities of the external REST API, allowing a worker to invoke any method on any other worker with any parameters. However, it avoids the overhead of setting up an HTTP connection and will be optimized in the future.
  • The ability to generate stubs for having a completely type-safe, language-independent remote worker invocation for any supported language having a WIT-based binding generator.

With the new stub generator commands integrated into Golem's command line tool (golem-cli) worker to worker communication is now a simple and fully type-safe experience.

A Full Example

To demonstrate how this new feature works, we will take one of the first Golem example projects, the shopping cart, and extend it with worker-to-worker communication. The original shopping-cart project defines a worker for each shopping cart of an online web store, with exported functions to add items to the cart and eventually check out and finish the shopping process.

In this example, we introduce a second worker template, one that will be used to create a single worker for each online shopper. This worker will keep a log of all the purchases of the user it belongs to. We will extend the shopping cart's checkout function with a remote worker invocation to add a new entry to the account's purchase log.

First, let's make sure we have the latest version of golem-cli, if using the open-source Golem version, or golem-cloud-cli, if using the hosted version. It must have the new stubgen subcommand, to check let's run golem-cli stubgen --help:

WASM RPC stub generator

Usage: golem-cli stubgen [OPTIONS] <COMMAND>

  generate              Generate a Rust RPC stub crate for a WASM component
  build                 Build an RPC stub for a WASM component
  add-stub-dependency   Adds a generated stub as a dependency to another WASM component
  compose               Compose a WASM component with a generated stub WASM
  initialize-workspace  Initializes a Golem-specific cargo-make configuration in a Cargo workspace for automatically generating stubs and composing results
  help                  Print this message or the help of the given subcommand(s)

  -v, --verbose...  Increase logging verbosity
  -q, --quiet...    Decrease logging verbosity
  -h, --help        Print help

Preparing the Example

We are going to create two different Golem templates, and have the source codes of both of them in a single Cargo workspace. This is not required—they could live in completely separate places—but it allows using our built-in cargo-make support, which currently gives us the best possible developer experience for worker-to-worker communication.

First, let's use the golem-cli new command to take the shopping-cart example and generate a new template source from it:

$ golem-cli new --example rust-shopping-cart --template-name shopping-cart-rpc
See the documentation about installing common tooling:

Compile the Rust component with cargo-component:
  cargo component build --release
The result in target/wasm32-wasi/release/shopping_cart_rpc.wasm is ready to be used with Golem!

The shopping-cart-rpc directory now contains a single Rust crate, which can be compiled to WASM using cargo component build. We need two different WASMs (two Golem templates) so as a first step, we convert the generated Cargo project to a cargo workspace.

First, create two sub-directories for the two templates we will use:

$ mkdir -pv shopping-cart
$ mkdir -pv purchase-history

Then, move the generated shopping cart source code into the shopping-cart subdirectory:

$ mv -v src shopping-cart
src -> shopping-cart/src

$ mv -v wit shopping-cart
wit -> shopping-cart/wit

$ mv -v Cargo.toml shopping-cart
Cargo.toml -> shopping-cart/Cargo.toml

We can copy the whole contents of the shopping-cart directory to the purchase-history directory too:

$ cp -rv shopping-cart/* purchase-history
shopping-cart/Cargo.toml -> purchase-history/Cargo.toml
shopping-cart/src -> purchase-history/src
shopping-cart/src/ -> purchase-history/src/
shopping-cart/wit -> purchase-history/wit
shopping-cart/wit/shopping-cart-rpc.wit -> purchase-history/wit/shopping-cart-rpc.wit

Then we create a new Cargo.toml file in the root, pointing to the two sub-projects:

resolver = "2"

members = [

Next, modify the name property in both sub-project's Cargo.toml. In shopping-cart/Cargo.toml, it should be:

name = "shopping-cart"

while in the other

name = "purchase-history"

It's also recommended that you rename the WIT file in both the wit directories to a file name that corresponds to the given sub-project's name, but it does not have any effect on the compilation—it just makes working on the source code easier.

$ mv shopping-cart/wit/shopping-cart-rpc.wit shopping-cart/wit/shopping-cart.wit
$ mv purchase-history/wit/shopping-cart-rpc.wit purchase-history/wit/purchase-history.wit

At this point running cargo component build in the root will compile both identical sub-projects, creating two different WASM files (but both containing the shopping cart implementation for now):

$ cargo component build
    Creating component /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/target/wasm32-wasi/debug/purchase_history.wasm
    Creating component /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/target/wasm32-wasi/debug/shopping_cart.wasm

Implementing the Purchase History Template

Before talking about worker-to-worker communication, let's just implement a simple version of the purchase history template. Each worker of this template will correspond to a user of the system, the worker name being equal to the user's identifier. We only need two exported functions, one for recording a purchase, and one for getting all the previous purchases.

Let's completely replace purchase-history/wit/purchase-history.wit with the following interface definition:

package shopping:purchase-history;

interface api {
  record product-item {
    product-id: string,
    name: string,
    price: float32,
    quantity: u32,

  record order {
    order-id: string,
    items: list<product-item>,
    total: float32,
    timestamp: u64,

  add-order: func(order: order) -> ();

  get-orders: func() -> list<order>;

world purchase-history {
  export api;

Our product-item and order types are the same that we have in the shopping-cart WIT. In a next step, we will remove them from the shopping-cart WIT, and import them from this component's interface definition!

Running cargo component build now will print a couple of errors, as we did not update the purchase-history module's Rust source code yet:

$ cargo component build
error[E0433]: failed to resolve: could not find `golem` in `exports`
 --> purchase-history/src/
3 | use crate::bindings::exports::golem::template::api::*;
  |                               ^^^^^ could not find `golem` in `exports`

A simple implementation of this can be the following code replacing the existing

mod bindings;

use crate::bindings::exports::shopping::purchase_history::api::*;

struct Component;

struct State {
    orders: Vec<Order>,

static mut STATE: State = State {
    orders: Vec::new()

fn with_state<T>(f: impl FnOnce(&mut State) -> T) -> T {
    let result = unsafe { f(&mut STATE) };

    return result;

impl Guest for Component {
    fn add_order(order: Order) {
        with_state(|state| {

    fn get_orders() -> Vec<Order> {
        with_state(|state| {

With this, cargo component build now compiles the new purchase_history.wasm for us.

Worker-to-Worker Communication

At this point, the only outstanding task in our example is to invoke the appropriate purchase history worker in the checkout implementation of the shopping cart.

To find all the available options for doing this, check the Worker-to-Worker communication's documentation. In this example, we have both the target (the purchase history) and the caller (the shopping cart) in the same cargo workspace, so we can use Golem's cargo-make based solution for enabling communication between the different sub-projects of the workspace.

Let's initialize this using golem-cli (or golem-cloud-cli):

$ golem-cli stubgen initialize-workspace --targets purchase-history --callers shopping-cart
Writing cargo-make Makefile to "/Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/Makefile.toml"
Generating initial stub for purchase-history
Generating stub WIT to /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/purchase-history-stub/wit/_stub.wit
Copying root package shopping:purchasehistory
  .. /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/purchase-history/wit/purchase-history.wit to /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/purchase-history-stub/wit/deps/shopping_purchasehistory/purchase-history.wit
Writing wasm-rpc.wit to /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/purchase-history-stub/wit/deps/wasm-rpc
Generating Cargo.toml to /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/purchase-history-stub/Cargo.toml
Generating stub source to /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/purchase-history-stub/src/
Writing updated Cargo.toml to "/Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/Cargo.toml"

As a next step, we check if the generated artifacts work, by running cargo make to execute the full build flow. It contains custom steps invoking golem-cli to implement the typed worker-to-worker communication.

$ cargo make build-flow
    Creating component /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/target/wasm32-wasi/debug/purchase_history.wasm
    Creating component /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/target/wasm32-wasi/debug/shopping_cart.wasm
    Creating component /Users/vigoo/projects/demo/shopping-cart-rpc/target/wasm32-wasi/debug/purchase_history_stub.wasm
[cargo-make] INFO - Execute Command: "wasm-rpc-stubgen" "compose" "--source-wasm" "target/wasm32-wasi/debug/shopping_cart.wasm" "--stub-wasm" "target/wasm32-wasi/debug/purchase_history_stub.wasm" "--dest-wasm" "target/wasm32-wasi/debug/shopping_cart_composed.wasm"
Error: no dependencies of component `target/wasm32-wasi/debug/shopping_cart.wasm` were found

Don't worry about the failure at the end—it will be fixed in the next step.

There are several changes in our workspace after running this command:

  • We have a Makefile.toml file describing custom build tasks related to worker-to-worker communication.
  • We have a completely new sub-project called purchase-history-stub, which is added to the Cargo workspace.
  • The shopping-cart/wit/deps directory now contains three dependencies: the original purchase history module, the generated stub interface, and the general-purpose wasm-rpc package.
  • These dependencies are also registered in shopping-cart/Cargo.toml.

Before further explaining what these generated stubs are, let's finish our example. We need to modify the shopping cart template's interface definition (shopping-cart/wit/shopping-cart.wit) to import the generated stub, and to reuse the data types defined for the purchase history template instead of redefining them.

The updated WIT file would look like this:

package shopping:cart;

interface api {
  use shopping:purchase-history/api.{product-item};
  use shopping:purchase-history/api.{order};

  record order-confirmation {
    order-id: string,

  variant checkout-result {

  initialize-cart: func(user-id: string) -> ();
  add-item: func(item: product-item) -> ();
  remove-item: func(product-id: string) -> ();
  update-item-quantity: func(product-id: string, quantity: u32) -> ();
  checkout: func() -> checkout-result;
  get-cart-contents: func() -> list<product-item>;

world shopping-cart {
  import shopping:purchase-history-stub/stub-purchase-history;
  export api;

There are three changes:

  • We renamed the package from the default golem:template to shopping:cart to make it more consistent with the other packages
  • We deleted the definition of product-item and order, and instead importing them from the shopping:purchase-history package.
  • We added the import statement in the world, which loads the generated stub into the template's world, so we can call it from the Rust code to initiate remote calls to the purchase-history workers.

Because of the change of the package name, we have to update the import in :

use crate::bindings::exports::shopping::cart::api::*;

The only remaining step is to extend the checkout function with the remote worker invocation!

use crate::bindings::shopping::purchase_history::api::{Order};
use crate::bindings::shopping::purchase_history_stub::stub_purchase_history;
use crate::bindings::golem::rpc::types::Uri;

fn checkout() -> CheckoutResult {
  // ...

    // Defining the order to be saved in history
    let order = Order {
        items: state.items.clone(),
        order_id: order_id.clone(),
        timestamp: std::time::SystemTime::now().duration_since(std::time::SystemTime::UNIX_EPOCH).unwrap().as_secs(),
        total: state.items.iter().map(|item| item.price * item.quantity as f32).sum(),

    // Constructing the remote worker's URI
    let template_id =
        .expect("PURCHASE_HISTORY_TEMPLATE_ID not set");
    let uri = Uri {
        value: format!("worker://{template_id}/{}", state.user_id),

    // Connecting to the remote worker and invoking it
    let history = stub_purchase_history::Api::new(&uri);

With all these changes, running cargo make again will succeed:

$ cargo make build-flow
Writing composed component to "target/wasm32-wasi/debug/shopping_cart_composed.wasm"
[cargo-make] INFO - Build Done in 7.38 seconds.

We first created the Order value to be saved in the remote purchase history. Then we get an environment variable to figure out the Golem template-id of the purchase history template. This is something we need to record when uploading the template to Golem, and set it to all shopping cart worker's when creating them. The remote URI consists of the template identifier and the worker name, and in our example the worker name is the same as the user id that the shopping cart belongs to. This guarantees that we will have a distinct purchase history worker for each user.

When we have the URI, we just instantiate the generated stub for by passing the remote worker's URI—and we get an interface that corresponds to the remote worker's exported interface! This way we can just call add_order on it, passing the constructed order value.

Everything else is handled by Golem. If this was the first order of the user, a new purchase history worker is created. Otherwise, the existing worker will be targeted, which is likely already in a suspended state, not actively in any worker executor's memory. Golem restores the worker's state and invokes the add_order function on them, which adds the new order to the list of orders for that user, in a fully durable way, without the need for a database.

How Does It Work?

The generated cargo-make makefile just wraps a couple of golem-cli stubgen commands.

First, stubgen generate creates a new Rust crate for each target that has a similar interface as the original worker, but all the exported functions and interfaces are wrapped in a resource, which has to be instantiated with a worker URI. This generated crate can be compiled to a WASM file (or stubgen build can do that automatically) and it also contains a WIT file describing this interface.

The stubgen add-stub-dependency command takes this generated interface specification and adds it to an other worker's wit folder—making it a dependency of that worker. So the caller worker is not depending directly on the target worker, it depends on the generated stub.

If we compile this caller worker to WASM, it will not only require host functions provided by Golem (such as the WASI interfaces or Golem specific APIs) but it will also require an implementation of the stub interface. That's where the generated Rust crate comes into the picture—its compiled WASM implements (exports) the stub interface while the caller WASM requires (imports) it. WASM components can be composed so by combining the two we can get a result WASM that no longer tries to import the stub interface—it is going to be wired within the component—only the other dependencies the original modules had.

One way to do this composition is to use wasm-tools compose, but it is more convenient to use golem-cli (or golem-cloud-cli)'s built-in command for it, called stubgen compose. This is the last step the generated cargo-make file performs when running the build-flow task.

The following diagram demonstrates how the component's in the example are interacting with each other:


We have seen how the new Golem tools enable simple, fully-typed communication between workers. Although the above demonstrated cargo-make-based build is Rust specific, the other stubgen commands are not: they can be used with any language that has WIT binding generator support (see Golem's Tier 2 languages)—Rust, C, Go, JavaScript, Python and Scala.js.

The remote calls are not only simple to use, they are also efficient, and they get translated to direct function calls when the source and the target workers are running on the same worker executor. They are also fully durable, as all other external interaction running on Golem. This means we don't have to worry about failures when calling remote workers. Additionally, Golem applies retry policies in case of transient failures, and it makes sure that a remote invocation only happens once.

This feature is ready to use both in the open source and the cloud version.

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