Define a Background function as a CRON

Define a CRON from your code and leverage the power of the Defer Platform.






A CRON is a background function that is defined using defer.cron() instead of defer(), as follows:

import { defer } from '@defer/client'
const weeklyBrief = async () => {
  // ...
export default defer.cron(
  "5 0 * * *"

CRONs schedule is based on UTC time.




Full example: Weekly recommendations

Defer makes it easy to turn a function into a scheduled (CRON) background function.

In this example, a marketplace wants to send product recommendation to users on a weekly basis.

For this, we will create a scheduled function (weeklyProductRecommendations()) that performs the following steps:

  1. Gather all the users that opt-in for the weekly product recommendation
  2. For each users, in parallel:
    • invoke a background function (computeProductRecommendation(user)), that will compute the product recommendations and send an email




CRON background function

A background function can be configured to run at a given frequency using defer.cron(fn, frequencyStr):

import { defer } from '@defer/client'
const weeklyProductRecommendations = async () => {
  // ...
export default defer.cron(weeklyProductRecommendations, '0 8 * * *')

A scheduled background function is similar to a regular background function:

  • a scheduled background function should be async
  • a scheduled background function file must be named following the function's name and export as default

With some specificities:

  • a scheduled background function should not take arguments
  • a scheduled background function should not be invoked directly from your App (will result in errors)


Let's now see how to implement our product recommendation scheduled function.




weeklyProductRecommendations() scheduled function


Our weekly product recommendation mechanism is implemented with 2 background functions:

- src/
  - defer/
    - weeklyProductRecommendations.ts ⬅
    - computeProductRecommendation.ts ⬅
  - ...
- prisma/
- package.json
- .env
- ...
  import { defer } from '@defer/client'
  import computeProductRecommendation from './computeProductRecommendation'
  const weeklyProductRecommendations = async () => {
    const users = await prisma.user.find({
      where: {
        weeklyProductRecommendations: true
    users.forEach(user => computeProductRecommendation(user))
  export default defer.cron(weeklyProductRecommendations, '0 8 * * *')

Which translates to the following executions, on each Monday, at 8am:


By leveraging the Defer background functions, our weekly product recommendation is:

  • Scalable: by parallelizing the computation and sending of recommendations, the overall time to send the recommendations won't be exponential over time.
  • Reliable: any error during a product recommendation computing or email sending will trigger a Defer Smart Retry.
  • Observable: get an overview of the status of the reporting from the Defer dashboard.
  • Monitored: get notified on Slack if the app couldn't deliver the product recommendation to a user.