C++ Portable Types Library (PTypes) Version 1.7

Top: Multithreading: msgqueue

#include <pasync.h>


// functions calling from the owner thread:
int msgqueue::msgsavail()
void msgqueue::processone();
void msgqueue::processmsgs();
void msgqueue::run();

// functions calling from any thread:
void msgqueue::post(message* msg);
void msgqueue::post(int id, int param = 0);
void msgqueue::posturgent(message* msg);
void msgqueue::posturgent(int id, int param = 0);
int msgqueue::send(message* msg);
int msgqueue::send(int id, int param = 0);

// message handlers
virtual void msgqueue::msghandler(message& msg) = 0;
void msgqueue::defhandler(message& msg);

Msgqueue class implements a queue of message objects and is typically used to synchronously exchange data in a multithreaded environment. Unlike Windows, you can create as many message queues in your application as you want.

The thread which created the msgqueue object can retrieve messages from the queue using one of run(), processmsgs(), processone(). Applications always define a class derived from msgqueue and override the pure virtual method msghandler(). The overridden method receives message structures and performs appropriate actions. Any other thread or even multiple threads in your application can send or post messages to the given queue using post(), posturgent() or send().

Msgqueue can serve as a synchronization object between threads. Unlike semaphores, where both sending and receiving threads can "hang" when waiting for readiness of the peer, msgqueue allows the sender to send data and immediately continue the execution. The receiver in its turn processes messages one by one in the same order as they were posted.

Threads can not only exchange data through a message queue, but also send simple notifications about various events. Message queues can even be used in single-threaded applications with event-driven logic.

A simple example of using msgqueue could be a server application with multiple threads, each serving one client; the server maintains a log file where it records various events. To record events synchronously, the client threads are sending appropriate messages to the main thread. The client threads never waste time, they just post their messages and immediately continue their work.

The maximum number of unhandled messages in the queue is currently set to 65535. If the limit is reached, a fatal (unrecoverable) error will be raised and the application will terminate.

A slower but more universal and flexible alternative to the message queue is local pipe (see infile::pipe()).

msgqueue::msgqueue() constructs a message queue object. It doesn't matter which thread is creating this object, but later only one thread can process the queue and handle messages.

int msgqueue::msgsavail() returns the number of messages currently in the queue.

void msgqueue::processone() processes one message from the queue. This method may "hang" if no messages are available. processone() calls the overridden msghandler() and then destroys the message object.

void msgqueue::processmsgs() processes all messages in the queue and returns to the caller. If there are no messages in the queue, processmsgs() returns immediately. Each message is processed as described for processone().

void msgqueue::run() enters an infinite loop of message processing which can only be terminated by sending or posting a special message MSG_QUIT (e.g. post(MSG_QUIT)). Each message is processed as described for processone().

void msgqueue::post(message* msg) adds a message to the queue. Msg can be an object of class message or any derivative class. The message object should always be created dynamically using operator new. The messages in the queue are processed in order they were posted, i.e. on first-in-first-out basis. post() can be called from any thread, including the thread owning the queue.

void msgqueue::post(int id, int param = 0) creates a message object using id and param and calls post(message*).

void msgqueue::posturgent(message* msg) posts a message object "out of turn", i.e. this message will be processed first. The messages posted through this method are processed on first-in-last-out basis. post() and posturgent() can be used alternately on the same queue. Like post(), this method can be called from any thread.

void msgqueue::posturgent(int id, int param = 0) creates a message object using id and param and calls posturgent(message*).

int msgqueue::send(message* msg) calls the message handler directly, by-passing the queue. If the sender is the same as the thread owning the queue, send() simply calls msghandler(). Otherwise, if the sender is a concurrent thread, send() enters an effective wait state until the message is processed by the owner thread. The return value is the value of result in the message object. In both cases the message is destroyed upon return from send().

int msgqueue::send(int id, int param = 0) creates a message object using id and param and calls send(message*). The return value is the value of result in the message object.

virtual void msgqueue::msghandler(message& msg) this pure virtual method should be overridden to provide application-specific message handling functionality. msghandler() usually checks the message ID through a switch statement. If the message ID is unknown to the application, defhandler() should be called. The message object msg CAN NOT be reused with post(), posturgent() or send(), neither it can be destroyed within the message handler. The message handler can assign some value to msg.result to return a simple answer to the caller of send().

void msgqueue::defhandler(message& msg) is called from within user-defined msghandler() when the message ID is unknown to the application. defhandler() processes some messages internally used by the library, e.g. MSG_QUIT.

See also: message, Examples

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