Create observable from periodic async request

Here is my take on this problem:

Update: I was able to simplify greatly my suggested solution by borrowing ideas from Enigmativity's answer. The Observable.StartAsync method handles the messy business of cancellation automatically, and the requirement of non-overlapping execution can be enforced simply by using a SemaphoreSlim.

/// <summary>
/// Creates an observable sequence containing the results of an asynchronous
/// function that is invoked periodically and manually. Overlapping invocations
/// are prevented. Timer ticks that would cause overlapping are ignored.
/// Manual invocations cancel previous invocations, and restart the timer.
/// </summary>
public static IObservable<T> PeriodicAndManual<T>(
    Func<bool, CancellationToken, Task<T>> functionAsync,
    TimeSpan period,
    out Action manualInvocation)
    // Arguments validation omitted
    var manualSubject = new Subject<bool>();
    manualInvocation = () => manualSubject.OnNext(true);
    var semaphore = new SemaphoreSlim(1);
    return Observable
        .Select(_ => false) // Not manual
        .TakeUntil(isManual => isManual) // Stop on first manual
        .Repeat() // ... and restart the timer
        .Prepend(false) // Skip the initial interval delay
        .Scan(seed: (
            // Both representations of an operation are needed
            // The Observable provides automatic cancellation on unsubscription
            // The Task maintains the IsCompleted state
            Operation: (IObservable<T>)null,
            AsTask: Task.FromResult(default(T))
        ), accumulator: (previous, isManual) =>
            // Start a new operation only if the previous operation is completed,
            // or if the call is manual. Otherwise return the previous operation.
            if (!previous.AsTask.IsCompleted && !isManual) return previous;
            // Start a new operation as hot observable
            var operation = Observable.StartAsync(async ct =>
                await semaphore.WaitAsync(ct); // Ensure no overlapping
                try { return await functionAsync(isManual, ct); }
                finally { semaphore.Release(); }
            }, Scheduler.Immediate); // Propagate the task status synchronously
            return (operation, operation.ToTask());
        .Select(entry => entry.Operation) // Discard the AsTask representation
        .DistinctUntilChanged() // Ignore duplicate operations
        .Switch(); // Cancel pending operations and ignore them

The out Action manualInvocation argument is the mechanism that triggers a manual invocation.

Usage example:

int ticks = 0;
var subscription = PeriodicAndManual(async (isManual, token) =>
    var id = $"{++ticks} " + (isManual ? "manual" : "periodic");
    Console.WriteLine($"{DateTime.Now:HH:mm:ss.fff} Begin {id}");
    await Task.Delay(500, token);
    return id;
}, TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(1000), out var manualInvocation)
.Do(x => Console.WriteLine($"{DateTime.Now:HH:mm:ss.fff} Received #{x}"))

await Task.Delay(3200);
await Task.Delay(200);
await Task.Delay(3200);



19:52:43.684 Begin 1 periodic
19:52:44.208 Received #1 periodic
19:52:44.731 Begin 2 periodic
19:52:45.235 Received #2 periodic
19:52:45.729 Begin 3 periodic
19:52:46.232 Received #3 periodic
19:52:46.720 Begin 4 periodic
19:52:46.993 Begin 5 manual
19:52:47.220 Begin 6 manual
19:52:47.723 Received #6 manual
19:52:48.223 Begin 7 periodic
19:52:48.728 Received #7 periodic
19:52:49.227 Begin 8 periodic
19:52:49.730 Received #8 periodic
19:52:50.226 Begin 9 periodic

The technique of using the Scan and the DistinctUntilChanged operators in order to drop elements while the previous asynchronous operation is running, is borrowed from this question.