Building Workflows With Celery

By Josue Balandrano Coronel

Elevator Pitch

Task Queues are applications which help perform tasks asynchronously with the help of worker threads. Celery is one of the most robust task queues fully compatible with Django. Let’s see how Celery works and how can we use it to build extensive workflows to power robust applications.


Task Queues is a topic which most developers will eventually have to dive into, specially in today’s web development world. The idea is really simple: whenever one has any functionality which might take too long to perform, one can spawn a process which will take care of this functionality without having to block the app’s main loop. A task queue will use worker processes to execute these long-running tasks and the user does not have to wait until the task is done. Instead, an acknowledged message is presented to de user while the task is executed in the background. This concept is really important when building web applications. HTTP Requests have timeout and making the user wait a long time for something to finish is not a good user experience practice. Usually, these tasks are used in groups creating a workflow where the work is distributed into smaller tasks.

Celery is usually the first project one encounters when searching for task queues and Django. I have been using Celery for over four years. The Celery project is one of the most robust task queues out there. It is certainly not the only task queue. And, it can be difficult planning the correct architecture for a specific workflow. This talk will explain enough of Celery’s basics to understand how to build workflows with Celery.

Building workflows with Celery is never straight forward. This is mainly because Celery offers the building blocks to build workflows but it tries to move out of the way. By not being too intrusive, Celery allows building complex workflows. I will explain common patters and tips to successfully use celery to build workflow of different complexities.


  1. Introduction

    1. Basics of Celery’s architecture
    2. Caveats when using Celery
  2. Workflows

    1. What are Workflows and why use them
    2. Celery’s building blocks
    3. Common workflows techniques
    4. Real World Example
  3. Tips and Tricks

    1. Caveats
    2. Testing
    3. Local development
    4. Using Celery in production


I have been using Celery in different projects for over 4 years. Currently I work at the Texas Advanced Computing Center building Science Gateways. I am currently starting a project rmcomplexity aimed at removing the perceived complexity from different software development topics. This talk will be further explained in an article at

I have been part of Celery’s core team for almost two years. It took me a while to get acquainted with Celery’s architecture, I then focused in helping people (over IRC or mailing lists) with different problems with Celery. Most of the issues I hear about occur when developers start building more complex workflows. Helping developers overcome these walls have helped me learn how other people are using Celery and diving into how Celery works.

This talk is aimed at beginner to intermediate developers. I will avoid overloading the public with information and will focus on the necessary knowledge to keep up with the talk. Attendees will have a better understanding on how to use Celery to orchestrate simple or complex workflows.