A Tour of the Sidekiq API


Sidekiq provides an underappreciated but powerful tool for all users: the Sidekiq API. The API gives comprehensive and idiomatic access to Sidekiq’s underlying real-time job and queue data within Redis.

The Glossary

To explore the API, first it helps to understand the basic entities in Sidekiq’s universe:

NB: I never use the term worker as it is nebulous and confusing. Use process, thread or job class so your meaning is clear.

Usage and Warning

Sidekiq uses the API to implement its Web UI. Every action which you can perform in the Web UI can also be done directly with the API. But remember: the Web UI is designed to be used by humans to perform manual operations slowly. The API exposes some operations which are not scalable and will put a heavy load on Redis. If you are using those operations in your app, you can cause serious harm to your application at scale.

For example: lets say you want to build a unique jobs feature. This prevents enqueuing a new job when an identical copy of that job is already enqueued. Your first thought is to use the Sidekiq API to iterate through each job in the queue and check if it matches the new job. This might work fine in development when the queue has 10-20 jobs in it but it will utterly fail in the case where your production queue has 10,000+ jobs in it. Achtung! Cuidado! Warning! Take care when using these APIs in production.

To use the API, you need to require it:

require 'sidekiq/api'

It’s impossible for this blog post to fully document every last method in the API, this post covers about 10% of what’s there. Please dig into sidekiq/api if you want to see the full majesty 👑 of the Sidekiq API.


Sidekiq stores each job as a Hash of JSON data:

$ bin/rails console

> SecretWorker.perform_async("foo", 123)
=> "1704fc9272746d0cba87c2f6"

> job = Sidekiq::Queue.new.first
=> #<Sidekiq::Job:0x00007fb30d0c8060 ...>

> job.value
=> "{\"class\":\"SecretWorker\",\"args\":[\"foo\",\"BAhTOhFTaWRla2lxOjpFbmMKOgZjSSIQYWVzLTI1Ni1nY20GOgZFVDoIdGFnIhWZI9cHOalTr475-9lIS0dyOgdpdiIRxcn72zsyzUnxDwh8OgZ2aQY6CWJsb2IiCnCz22JV\"],\"retry\":true,\"queue\":\"default\",\"encrypt\":true,\"jid\":\"1704fc9272746d0cba87c2f6\",\"created_at\":1618777117.251842,\"enqueued_at\":1618777117.253449}"

> pp JSON.parse(job.value)

Note a couple of things:


Sidekiq::Queue.all will get you a list of all known queues within Redis. With queues, you can get their current size, latency, clear the queue and find a job by JID. This last operation is a good example of a dangerous operation that I warned about before. Redis doesn’t have any efficient way to index data within a queue so a search is like a full table scan in your database.

The implementation is tiny but will not scale well. We leverage the Enumerable module’s detect method to scan through each element in the Queue, parse each JSON and check the JID attribute.

class Sidekiq::Queue
  # Find the job with the given JID within this queue.
  # This is a slow, inefficient operation.  Do not use under
  # normal conditions.
  def find_job(jid)
    detect { |j| j.jid == jid }

Note that this data is real-time. Maybe you have thousands of jobs in the queue. Maybe you have hundreds of Sidekiq threads pulling jobs from this queue at the same moment. Will it find your job? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But Mike, why provide these operations at all if they are dangerous? Because sometimes, hopefully rarely, you might need to handle some production emergency manually; finding that one rogue job could be critical.

Sorted Sets

Sidekiq uses the Sorted Set structure to hold jobs sorted by a timestamp when Sidekiq should take some action. These sets represent the Retries, Scheduled and Dead tabs in the Web UI. For Scheduled, the timestamp is when the job is scheduled to run. For Retry, the timestamp is when the job will retry next. For Dead, the timestamp is when the job expires permanently. Every N seconds, Sidekiq checks the timestamp of the first element. If it is less than now, Sidekiq takes action. Rinse. Repeat.

Each sorted set has a cooresponding class in the API, here’s a random sampling:

Sidekiq::ScheduledSet.new.each {|job| job.add_to_queue }
Sidekiq::RetrySet.new.each {|job| job.kill }

Basically any button or action you see in the Web UI has a corresponding API method.

Scanning and Filtering

Sorted sets have the ability to quickly perform a server-side scan of the contents as a filter:

Sidekiq::RetrySet.new.scan "some_value" do |job|
  # job payload contains some_value

Remember how I was saying that some API calls are really, really slow? That’s true if you are iterating for each element in the Set. This is a good example of how to speed up your API logic: use scan as a server-side filter to ensure the only jobs you work on are likely to be relevant:

def delete_retries_by_class(klass)
  Sidekiq::RetrySet.new.scan klass.to_s do |job|
    # we still need this `if` because the job payload may contain the
    # class name for other reasons, remember that `scan` is a
    # regexp on the job's JSON string in Redis
    job.delete if job.display_class == klass.to_s

The display_class for a Job is the actual class name. ActiveJobs all use the same SidekiqAdapter class as the job type unfortunately so we have to use this as a workaround to work with both ActiveJobs and native Sidekiq::Workers.


A blog post was recently published with a few one-liners and I wrote this blog post in response. The author has the right idea but is generally missing the scan call to filter and minimize the number of jobs processed in Ruby.

# their suggestions
rs = Sidekiq::RetrySet.new
rs.select { |j| j.display_class == "AJob" }.map(&:delete)
rs.select { |j| j.display_class == "AJob" }.count

# my optimizations
rs.scan("AJob").select { |j| j.display_class == "AJob" }.map(&:delete)
rs.scan("AJob").count { |j| j.display_class == "AJob" }

If there are 10,000 elements in the Retry set but only 100 AJobs, my version will run ~100x faster than their initial suggestion.


Each Sidekiq process sends a heartbeat to Redis every 5 seconds with runtime info about the jobs it is working on and various other metrics. The Busy page lists those processes and jobs. Sidekiq::ProcessSet.new gives you the current set of processes.

> ps = Sidekiq::ProcessSet.new
> ps.total_concurrency
=> 75
> ps.total_rss_in_kb
=> 750000
> ps.each {|pro| pro.labels }
> ps.each {|pro| pro.dump_threads }
> ps.each {|pro| pro.quiet! }
> ps.each {|pro| pro.stop! }

The API makes it really easy to remotely control your Sidekiq processes, you can quiet or shut them down in one line of Ruby, good for deployment tasks.


The Busy page also lists all of the work happening in your Sidekiq cluster. The Sidekiq::WorkSet will yield the process and thread ids for every job in progress.

Sidekiq::WorkSet.new.each {|process_id, thread_id, work| ... }

Commercial Features

Remember: if you see it in the Web UI, there is an underlying API for it in Ruby. That’s true even of the commercial features:

Batches provide Sidekiq::BatchSet which allows access to every open batch.

Sidekiq::BatchSet.new.any? {|status| status.complete? }

Periodic jobs provide Sidekiq::Periodic::LoopSet which allows access to every registered periodic job, a.k.a. a Loop.

Sidekiq::Periodic::LoopSet.new.map {|loupe| [loupe.schedule,
loupe.history] }

Rate limiters provide Sidekiq::LimiterSet which gives a status object for each limiter.

Sidekiq::LimiterSet.new.map {|limiter| [limiter.name, limiter.type] }

There’s lots of APIs here which can power arcane features or specialized devops logic. I strongly urge readers to skim through the sidekiq/api file and consider the possibilities. The only limit… is your imagination! 🌈✨