Threads


The built-in procedures that create, and detach/wait-for the Threads.

Preamble:
When a program starts executing, it has one implicit thread running (this is already a full-fledged thread, with its own thread ID).
This "main" thread executes the main function of the program.
This same program can explicitly launch additional threads that will run in a competitive manner (both between them and with the main thread).

All threads (including the main thread) share the same memory, and thus can access the same global variables, same heap memory, same set of file descriptors, etc.
All these threads execute in parallel (i.e. using time slices, or if the system has several processors/cores, then really in parallel).

Creating a thread
There are two methods to create a thread:
- a "classic" method Threadcreate that starts a specific user-defined subroutine type (which has obligatorily one single parameter, an 'Any Ptr' type pointer) in a separate execution thread, this first method being 100% safe,
- a "specific" method Threadcall that should have start any user-defined subroutine type (which may have almost any number and any type of parameters) in a separate execution thread, but for the moment this second method is bugged.

Classic method (100% safe) - Threadcreate
- Syntax:
Declare Function Threadcreate ( ByVal procptr As Sub ( ByVal userdata As Any Ptr ), ByVal param As Any Ptr = 0, ByVal stack_size As Integer = 0 ) As Any Ptr
- Usage:
threadid = Threadcreate ( procptr [, [ param ] [, stack_size ] ] )
- Parameters:
procptr
A pointer to the Sub intended to work as a thread. The sub must have the following signature (same parameters, same calling convention) to be compatible to procptr:
Declare Sub myThread ( ByVal userdata As Any Ptr )
userdata
The Any Ptr parameter of the Sub intended to work as a thread. FreeBASIC expects this parameter to be present, it must not be omitted!
param
Any Ptr argument that will be passed to the thread Sub pointed to by procptr through its userdata parameter. For example, this can be a pointer to a structure or an array containing various information for the thread sub to work with. If param is not given, 0 (zero) will be passed to the thread sub's userdata parameter instead.
stack_size
Optional number of bytes to reserve for this thread's stack.
- Return value:
The any ptr handle (threadid) to the thread created, or the null pointer (0) on failure.

Specific method (bugged) - Threadcall
- Syntax:
Declare function Threadcall subname ( [paramlist] ) as any ptr
- Usage:
threadid = Threadcall subname ( [paramlist] )
- Parameters:
subname
The name of a subroutine
paramlist
A list of parameters to pass to the subroutine, as with a normal sub call.
- Return value:
The any ptr handle (threadid) to the thread created, or the null pointer (0) on failure.
- Warning:
Presently when Threadcall involves to pass parameters to the thread, there is no guarantee that the corresponding data are still maintained after the end of the Threadcall statement and this until the thread is really launched. That can cause bad behavior.
Therefore it is more advisable for the moment to use Threadcreate (100% safe) instead.

Description
Several different threads can be created from the same Sub, with different passed arguments allowing to define the behavior of each.

There may be a longer or shorter time between the end of the Threadcreate/Threadcall statement execution and the effective launch of the thread.
So some statements following the Threadcreate/Threadcall statement can be executed before the actual launch of the thread.

There is no guarantee about the order in which different threads execute, and no assumptions can be made about the order in which multiple create threads actually start executing.

By default, a thread is always created in the "joinable" state, ie its handle is accessible by its 'threadid' identifier.
If a thread ends in this state (joinable), the resources that were assigned to it will not be released automatically (but only at the main thread termination).

So a good habit is to always use one and only one of the following two methods for a thread to finish properly (see the paragraph below):
- either waiting for the thread end.
- otherwise detaching the thread (the thread becomes no longer joinable),

Waiting for a thread end, otherwise detaching a thread
There are two methods to induce a proper thread termination:
- either a first method ThreadWait where another thread waits for this thread to finish,
- otherwise a second method ThreadDetach where another thread detaches this thread and continues.

First method - ThreadWait
- Syntax:
- Usage:
ThreadWait ( threadid )
- Parameters:
threadid
Any Ptr handle of a thread created by ThreadCreate or ThreadCall
- Note:
In other language (as C++), the 'wait()' suffix is called 'join()'.

Second method - ThreadDetach
- Syntax:
- Usage:
#include "fbthread.bi"
ThreadDetach ( threadid )
- Parameters:
threadid
Any Ptr handle of a thread created by ThreadCreate or ThreadCall

Description
After creating it, the programmer must make sure that the thread is either waited for (joined) otherwise detached, and this from another thread (including the main thread).

ThreadWait waits for a thread to complete its execution, and then release the resources associated with the thread handle. ThreadWait does not return until the thread (designated by the identifier) ends.
During the wait, the caller does not consume CPU time.
ThreadWait does not force the thread to end. If a thread requires a signal to force an end, a mechanism such as a shared flag must be used.

ThreadDetach releases resources associated with the thread handle. The thread handle will be destroyed by ThreadDetach and can no longer be used.
Unlike ThreadWait, ThreadDetach does not wait for the end of the thread, and its execution continues independently. All allocated resources will be freed once the thread is complete.

After ThreadWait or ThreadDetach is applied, the thread can no longer be joined, so the handle identifier value must not be used again in any of these commands.

Generally, before finishing, a 'parent' thread is waiting for the 'child' thread to finish.
But if the programmer chooses not to wait until the end of the thread (and necessarily detaches it only), then he must make sure that the data accessed by that thread is valid until the thread has finished with it. Otherwise, one may encounter a situation where the 'parent' thread holds pointers/references to local variables and the 'child' thread hasn't finished when the 'parent' thread finishes (the variables being destroyed because becoming out of scope).

Example
The 'Main' thread displays ten "M" characters while the 'Child' thread simultaneously displays ten "C" characters.
A 'Sleep x, 1' tempo is put in the 'For' loop of each thread (main thread and child thread) to release time-slice allowing the other thread to execute as well.
The tempos are set so that the execution time of the child thread 'For' loop is greater than the one of the main thread 'For' loop.

- Using Threadcreate ..... ThreadWait:
Declare Sub thread (ByVal userdata As Any Ptr)

Dim As Any Ptr threadID  '' declaration of an 'Any Ptr' thread-ID of the child thread


Print """M"": from 'Main' thread"
Print """C"": from 'Child' thread"
Print

threadID = ThreadCreate(@thread)  '' creation of the child thread from the main thread

For I As Integer = 1 To 10  '' 'For' loop of the main thread
    Print "M";
    Sleep 150, 1
Next I

ThreadWait(threadID)  '' waiting for the child thread termination
Print
Print "'Child' thread finished"

Sleep


Sub thread (ByVal userdata As Any Ptr)  '' sub executed by the child thread
    For I As Integer = 1 To 10          '' 'For' loop of the child thread
        Print "C";
        Sleep 350, 1
    Next I
End Sub
Output example:
"M": from 'Main' thread
"C": from 'Child' thread

MCMMCMMCMMCMMMCCCCCC
'Child' thread finished

- Using Threadcreate + ThreadDetach ..... (a global end-flag is added at the end of the child thread):
#include "fbthread.bi"

Declare Sub thread (ByVal userdata As Any Ptr)

Dim As Any Ptr threadID          '' declaration of an 'Any Ptr' thread-ID of the child thread
Dim Shared As Boolean threadEnd  '' declaration of a global 'Boolean' thread-End flag for the child thread


Print """M"": from 'Main' thread"
Print """C"": from 'Child' thread"
Print

threadID = ThreadCreate(@thread)  '' creation of the child thread from the main thread
Threaddetach(threadID)            '' detaching the child thread

For I As Integer = 1 To 10  '' 'For' loop of the main thread
    Print "M";
    Sleep 150, 1
Next I

While threadEnd = False  '' waiting for the thread-End flag = 'True' from the child thread
Wend
Print
Print "'Child' thread finishing or finished"

Sleep


Sub thread (ByVal userdata As Any Ptr)  '' sub executed by the child thread
    For I As Integer = 1 To 10          '' 'For' loop of the child thread
        Print "C";
        Sleep 350, 1
    Next I
    threadEnd = True                    '' set the thrend-End flag to 'True'
End Sub
Output example:
"M": from 'Main' thread
"C": from 'Child' thread

MCMMCMMCMMCMMMCCCCCC
'Child' thread finishing or finished

A UDT for a multi-timer feature:
- using internally a joinable thread (Threadcreate ..... ThreadWait) to sequence each timer,
- and call-backing externally a detached thread (Threadcreate + ThreadDetach .....) as event for user.
The user event being triggered by a detached-thread callback from the timer loop, the requested time-out is only biased by the execution time of Threadcreate + ThreadDetach (small time about constant) and not by a ThreadWait waiting-for:
'    Only 4 member procedures in public access (the first 3 returning 'true' if success, 'false' else):
'        - Function 'Set' to parametrize the considered timer (time-out in ms, pointer to user thread)
'        - Function 'Start' to start the considered timer
'        - Function 'Stop' to stop the considered timer (then, the considered timer may be re-Set and re-Start)
'        - Property 'Counter' to get the occurrence number of the timer
'    Plus an 'Any Ptr' in public access:
'        - Pointer field 'userdata' to point to any user data structure (optional usage)
'
'    Remark:
'        - Pointer to the considered timer instance is provided to the user thread procedure
'          in order to be able to factorize the treatment per timers group,
'          and to address the right user data structure if used (see example for usage).
'
'    In private access:
'        - 4 internal variables (time-out value, pointer to user thread, handle to timer thread, counter of occurence)
'        - Static timer thread


#include "fbthread.bi"
Type UDT_timer_thread
    Public:
        Declare Function Set (ByVal time_out As UInteger, _
                              ByVal timer_procedure As Sub(ByVal param As Any Ptr)) _
                              As Boolean
        Declare Function Start () As Boolean
        Declare Function Stop () As Boolean
        Declare Property Counter () As UInteger
        Dim As Any Ptr userdata
    Private:
        Dim As UInteger tempo
        Dim As Sub(ByVal param As Any Ptr) routine
        Dim As Any Ptr handle
        Dim As UInteger count
        Declare Static Sub thread (ByVal param As Any Ptr)
End Type

Function UDT_timer_thread.Set (ByVal time_out As UInteger, _
                              ByVal timer_procedure As Sub(ByVal param As Any Ptr)) _
                              As Boolean
    If timer_procedure > 0 And This.handle = 0 Then
        This.tempo = time_out
        This.routine = timer_procedure
        This.count = 0
        Function = True
    Else
        Function = False
    End If
End Function

Function UDT_timer_thread.Start () As Boolean
    If This.handle = 0 And This.routine > 0 Then
        This.handle = ThreadCreate(@UDT_timer_thread.thread, @This)
        Function = True
    Else
        Function = False
    End If
End Function

Function UDT_timer_thread.Stop () As Boolean
    If This.handle > 0 Then
        Dim p As Any Ptr = 0
        Swap p, This.handle
        ThreadWait(p)
        Function = True
    Else
        Function = False
    End If
End Function

Property UDT_timer_thread.Counter () As UInteger
    Return This.count
End Property

Static Sub UDT_timer_thread.thread (ByVal param As Any Ptr)
    Dim As UDT_timer_thread Ptr pu = param
    While pu->handle > 0
        Sleep pu->tempo, 1
        pu->count += 1
        If pu->routine > 0 Then
            Dim As Any Ptr p = ThreadCreate(Cast(Any Ptr, pu->routine), param)
            Threaddetach(p)
        End If
    Wend
End Sub

'---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dim As UInteger tempo1 = 950
Dim As UInteger tempo2 = 380
Dim As UDT_timer_thread timer1
    timer1.userdata = New String("        callback from timer #1 (" & tempo1 & "ms)")
Dim As UDT_timer_thread timer2
    timer2.userdata = New String("        callback from timer #2 (" & tempo2 & "ms)")

Sub User_thread (ByVal param As Any Ptr)
    Dim As UDT_timer_thread Ptr pu = param
    Dim As String Ptr ps = pu->userdata
    Print *ps & ", occurrence: " & pu->Counter
End Sub

Print "Beginning of test"
If timer1.Set(tempo1, @User_thread) Then
    Print "    timer #1 set OK"
    If timer1.Start Then
        Print "        timer #1 start OK"
    End If
End If
If timer2.Set(tempo2, @User_thread) Then
    Print "    timer #2 set OK"
    If timer2.Start Then
        Print "        timer #2 start OK"
    End If
End If
Print "    Then, any key to stop the timers"

Sleep

If timer1.Stop Then
    Print "    timer #1 stop OK"
End If
If timer2.Stop Then
    Print "    timer #2 stop OK"
End If
Sleep 500, 1
Print "End of test"
Delete Cast(String Ptr, timer1.userdata)
Delete Cast(String Ptr, timer2.userdata)

Sleep
Output example:
Beginning of test
	timer #1 set OK
		timer #1 start OK
	timer #2 set OK
		timer #2 start OK
	Then, any key to stop the timers
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 1
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 2
		callback from timer #1 (950ms), occurrence: 1
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 3
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 4
		callback from timer #1 (950ms), occurrence: 2
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 5
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 6
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 7
		callback from timer #1 (950ms), occurrence: 3
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 8
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 9
		callback from timer #1 (950ms), occurrence: 4
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 10
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 11
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 12
	timer #1 stop OK
		callback from timer #1 (950ms), occurrence: 5
	timer #2 stop OK
		callback from timer #2 (380ms), occurrence: 13
End of test

See also
Back to Programmer's Guide
Valid XHTML :: Valid CSS: :: Powered by WikkaWiki



sf.net phatcode