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Child Workflows

How to start a Child Workflow Execution

A Child Workflow Execution is a Workflow Execution that is scheduled from within another Workflow using a Child Workflow API.

When using a Child Workflow API, Child Workflow related Events (StartChildWorkflowExecutionInitiated, ChildWorkflowExecutionStarted, ChildWorkflowExecutionCompleted, etc...) are logged in the Workflow Execution Event History.

Always block progress until the ChildWorkflowExecutionStarted Event is logged to the Event History to ensure the Child Workflow Execution has started. After that, Child Workflow Executions may be abandoned using the default Abandon Parent Close Policy set in the Child Workflow Options.

To be sure that the Child Workflow Execution has started, first call the Child Workflow Execution method on the instance of Child Workflow future, which returns a different future.

Then get the value of an object that acts as a proxy for a result that is initially unknown, which is what waits until the Child Workflow Execution has spawned.

Besides Activities, a Workflow can also start other Workflows.

Workflow::executeChildWorkflow and Workflow::newChildWorkflowStub enables the scheduling of other Workflows from within a Workflow's implementation. The parent Workflow has the ability to monitor and impact the lifecycle of the Child Workflow, similar to the way it does for an Activity that it invoked.

// Use one stub per child workflow run
$child = Workflow::newChildWorkflowStub(
// Do not specify WorkflowId if you want Temporal to generate a unique Id
// for the child execution.
->withExecutionStartToCloseTimeout(DateInterval::createFromDateString('30 minutes'))

// This is a non blocking call that returns immediately.
// Use yield $child->workflowMethod(name) to call synchronously.
$promise = $child->workflowMethod('value');

// Do something else here.
$value = yield $promise;
} catch(TemporalException $e) {
$logger->error('child workflow failed');
throw $e;

Let's take a look at each component of this call.

Before calling $child->workflowMethod(), you must configure ChildWorkflowOptions for the invocation. These options customize various execution timeouts, and are passed into the Workflow stub defined by the Workflow::newChildWorkflowStub. Once stub created you can invoke its Workflow method based on attribute WorkflowMethod.

The method call returns immediately and returns a Promise. This allows you to execute more code without having to wait for the scheduled Workflow to complete.

When you are ready to process the results of the Workflow, call the yield $promise method on the returned promise object.

When a parent Workflow is cancelled by the user, the Child Workflow can be cancelled or abandoned based on a configurable child policy.

You can also skip the stub part of Child Workflow initiation and use Workflow::executeChildWorkflow directly:

// Use one stub per child workflow run
$childResult = yield Workflow::executeChildWorkflow(
Type::TYPE_STRING // optional: defines the return type

How to set a Parent Close Policy

A Parent Close Policy determines what happens to a Child Workflow Execution if its Parent changes to a Closed status (Completed, Failed, or Timed Out).

The default Parent Close Policy option is set to terminate the Child Workflow Execution.

In PHP, a Parent Close Policy is set via the ChildWorkflowOptions object and withParentClosePolicy() method. The possible values can be obtained from the ParentClosePolicy class.


Then ChildWorkflowOptions object is used to create a new Child Workflow object:

$child = Workflow::newUntypedChildWorkflowStub(

yield $child->start();

In the snippet above we:

  1. Create a new untyped Child Workflow stub with Workflow::newUntypedChildWorkflowStub.
  2. Provide ChildWorkflowOptions object with Parent Close Policy set to ParentClosePolicy::POLICY_ABANDON.
  3. Start Child Workflow Execution asynchronously using yield and method start().

We need yield here to ensure that a Child Workflow Execution starts before the parent closes.