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Release It! by Michael T. Nygard

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Pattern5.1 Use Timeouts

In the early days, networking issues affected only programmers working on low-level software: operating systems, network protocols, remote filesystems, and so on. Today, all but the most trivial applications deal with networks, in some form or another, thus exposing every application to the fundamental rule of networks: networks are fallible. The wire could be broken, some switch or router along the way could be broken, or the computer you are addressing could be broken. Even if you’ve already established communication, any of these elements could become broken at any time. When that happens, your code can’t just wait forever ...

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