Posts Tagged ‘service’

Launching a ServiceProcess using mono csharp script

December 30, 2014 Leave a comment

When developing service applications that need to run cross platform, you often need some “glue” to make the application behave appropriately on different platforms.  Service applications written in .NET languages derive from ServiceBase so they can be started by the the Windows Service Control Manager.  On Windows, they can be added to the service registry with ‘sc create’ or using installutil.exe.  You can usually get these to run on Unix and Linux using the mono-service executable, however this doesn’t always behave the way you might want when used from the various init systems.  Instead of using mono-service on *nix, you can using the csharp script mechanism in mono to launch the service process and handle signals to interact with your application. Here is an example of a service application:

using System;
using System.ServiceProcess;
using System.Threading;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ServiceApplication {
	public class App : ServiceBase {

		CancellationTokenSource cts = new CancellationTokenSource();

		protected override void OnStart(string[] args) {
			var token = cts.Token;
			Task.Factory.StartNew(() => {
				while(true) {
					Console.WriteLine("{0} - service is running", DateTime.Now);
			}, token);

		protected override void OnStop() {


All the code above is compatible across platforms and may be installed and run as a Windows Service without modification. Now for a simple script that can run on mono platforms using the ‘csharp’ command to wrap the service an execute and wait for typical Unix signals before shutting down cleanly:


 * Script for launching a Windows ServiceProcess applicaiton
 * on mono as an upstart job.

using System.Reflection;
using System.ServiceProcess;
using ServiceApplication;
using Mono.Unix;
using Mono.Unix.Native;

var service = new App();
var mi = typeof(App).GetMethod("OnStart", BindingFlags.Instance | BindingFlags.NonPublic);
var result = mi.Invoke(service, new object[] { new string[] {} });

Console.WriteLine("Service started.");

var signals = new UnixSignal[]{
    new UnixSignal (Signum.SIGINT),
    new UnixSignal (Signum.SIGTERM),
    new UnixSignal (Signum.SIGQUIT),

var signal = UnixSignal.WaitAny(signals, -1);
Console.WriteLine("Received {0} signal, exiting.", signals[signal].Signum);


All the platform specific code is in this script so your application code remains completely cross platform, and it makes for a very simple upstart script, as an example:

# Copy to /etc/init/monoServiceApp.conf
start on runlevel [2345]
stop on runlevel [06]


chdir /path/to/service/

   csharp ServiceRunner.cs
end script

The job above will execute the ServiceRunner.cs script using the csharp shell command automatically on startup, shutdown, reboot, and when executed manually using upstart commands (i.e. sudo start monoServiceApp). Since it’s a simple script, upstart will track the PID automatically and send SIGTERM when it’s time to exit, which will be caught by the script for a clean call to the Stop() method.

Note that you can do something similar with mono-service, which is more robust and has options that will let it fit with various init systems. However, mileage tends to vary, so a csharp wrapper script can be a nice alternative.

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