Optimistic Concurrency

Concurrency is the concept of executing two or more applications at the same time. When these applications access the same objects at the same time, they can interfere with each other in unexpected ways. Without optimistic concurrency, if two client applications retrieve the same catalog item and both try to update it, the following can happen:

  • Client A modifies the item and sends an update.
  • Client B also modifies the item and sends the update overwriting the changes client A made, which is unintended.
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Optimistic concurrency refers to the ability of multiple operations to complete without interfering with each other. The Square API enables optimistic concurrency by supporting versioning on some of the API resources.

For example, each Customer object has a version field. Initially, the version number is 0. For each successful update, Square increases the version number. If you don't specify a version number in an update request, the latest version is assumed.


Different Square APIs use different versioning schemes.

In your update or delete request, you must provide the version number you received from Square. Otherwise, Square returns a "version mismatch" error on your request and your application must retrieve the object again and then update it.

A version field can only be updated by Square. Your application must have the current object and you pass in the version value of the object update request.

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Typical concurrent write flow

Consider an example of two clients trying to update the same object at the same time. The first client updates the object and writes it back. The second client tries to write back an update on the same object, gets a concurrency error, does another GET request, and then performs the update.

  1. Client A gets a catalog item "Coffee".
  2. Client B gets the same "Coffee" item.
  3. Client A changes the item description to "Filter coffee" and sends the update, which increments the item version.
  4. Client B tries to update the now stale "Coffee" item available_for_pickup field to false.
  5. The client B update request fails with a VERSION_MISMATCH error.
  6. Client B gets the current version of the "Filter coffee" item, changes the available_for_pickup field to false, and completes an update of the item, which increments the version.
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Additional Square API patterns

There are other Square API patterns. For more information, see Common Square API Patterns.