3
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I'm in need of a solution that runs constantly incoming requests in a per-resource sequence, but parallel in general.

The use-case:

Many clients connect to a server and start issuing work. The work of a single client needs to run in sequential order, so the downward code doesn't need to cope with concurrency, but in general all work should be run on multiple threads. I'm trusting the .NET framework a lot here, which I hope is a good thing.

I've also read into DataFlow and parallel Rx but could not find a general solution there. But hints into that direction are welcome!

class TaskGroup
{
    public int CurrentlyQueuedTasks { get { return _currentlyQueued; } }

    private readonly object _previousTaskMonitor;
    private Task _previousTask;
    private int _currentlyQueued;

    public TaskGroup()
    {
        _previousTaskMonitor = new object();
        _previousTask = Task.CompletedTask;
    }

    public void Append(Action action)
    {
        lock(_previousTaskMonitor)
        {
            Interlocked.Increment(ref _currentlyQueued);
            _previousTask = _previousTask.ContinueWith(task =>
            {
                try
                {
                    action();
                }catch(Exception)
                {
                    //TODO
                }
                finally
                {
                    Interlocked.Decrement(ref _currentlyQueued);
                }
            });
        }
    }
}
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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It's not clear what you're asking here. Does your code work as intended? \$\endgroup\$ – RubberDuck Feb 6 '16 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it seems to work, but i haven't tested it heavily against concurrency issues. I'm also asking for improvements or maybe parts of the library that i missed. \$\endgroup\$ – Vengarioth Feb 6 '16 at 18:36
3
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This is an interesting approach. I would have used a queue by default since it seems to express the semantics a bit clearer (the queuing is slightly more obvious). Also ContinueWith creates a Task wrapping the original task which I'm not sure if that has any form of performance downsides (it probably shouldn't). I hacked a quick benchmark together with the alternative being implemented using the BlockingCollection:

using System;
using System.Diagnostics;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using System.Threading;
using System.Collections.Concurrent;

public interface IAppendable
{
    void Append(Action action);
}

public class TaskGroup : IAppendable
{
    public int CurrentlyQueuedTasks { get { return _currentlyQueued; } }

    private readonly object _previousTaskMonitor;
    private Task _previousTask;
    private int _currentlyQueued;

    public TaskGroup()
    {
        _previousTaskMonitor = new object();
        _previousTask = Task.FromResult(false);
    }

    public void Append(Action action)
    {
        lock(_previousTaskMonitor)
        {
            Interlocked.Increment(ref _currentlyQueued);
            _previousTask = _previousTask.ContinueWith(task =>
            {
                try
                {
                    action();
                }catch(Exception)
                {
                    //TODO
                }
                finally
                {
                    Interlocked.Decrement(ref _currentlyQueued);
                }
            });
        }
    }
}

public class QueueAppendable : IAppendable, IDisposable
{
    public int CurrentlyQueuedTasks { get { return _Queue.Count; } }

    BlockingCollection<Action> _Queue = new BlockingCollection<Action>();

    public QueueAppendable()
    {
        Task.Factory.StartNew(() =>
        {
            while (true)
            {
                try 
                {
                    var action = _Queue.Take();
                    action();
                }
                catch (InvalidOperationException)
                {
                    break;
                }
                catch
                {
                    // TODO log me
                }
            }
        });
    }

    public void Append(Action action)
    {
        _Queue.Add(action);
    }

    public void Dispose()
    {
        _Queue.CompleteAdding();
    }
}

public class Test
{
    public static void TimeIt(string name, IAppendable appendable)
    {
        var finishEvent = new ManualResetEvent(false);
        var sw = new Stopwatch();
        sw.Start();
        for (int i = 0; i < 2000; ++i)
        {
            appendable.Append(() => { Thread.Sleep(1); });
        }
        appendable.Append(() => { finishEvent.Set(); });
        finishEvent.WaitOne();
        sw.Stop();
        Console.WriteLine("{0} elapsed time: {1}ms", name, sw.ElapsedMilliseconds);
        (appendable as IDisposable)?.Dispose();
    }

    public static void Main()
    {
        TimeIt("TaskGroup", new TaskGroup());
        TimeIt("Queue", new QueueAppendable());
    }
}

Output:

TaskGroup elapsed time: 2135ms
Queue elapsed time: 2121ms

So there is pretty much no performance difference between the two however I think the BlockingCollection approach has a few advantages:

  1. Easier to debug. You can simply set a break point and peek the queue. This is quite difficult to do with the wrapped task approach.
  2. No use use of lower level synchronization primitives. The first time I read your code I instinctively thought "Hang he's got a lock why the Interlocked calls" until I realized that the decrement happen in the async task outside of the lock. With the BlockingQueue you program against a slightly higher level of abstraction which is often a good thing.
  3. Fewer class members which reduce the state complexity of the object (the queue is the only member).

Apart from that I think your approach should be fine. You may want to consider adding support for cancellation via CancellationToken

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wait, what prevents the Queue implementation's tasks from running parallel instead of sequential? \$\endgroup\$ – Vengarioth Feb 13 '16 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vengarioth: The queue only has one task - the one which is pulling items of the queue and executing them. \$\endgroup\$ – ChrisWue Feb 14 '16 at 0:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it blocking the thread when there are no tasks in the Queue? \$\endgroup\$ – Vengarioth Feb 14 '16 at 20:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vengarioth: Yes, see BlockingCollection.Take \$\endgroup\$ – ChrisWue Feb 14 '16 at 20:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ In my case, that is not an option unfortunately, i expanded my proposed solution to a linked list of tasks to perform basic list operations, but thank you a lot for your review! \$\endgroup\$ – Vengarioth Feb 17 '16 at 0:08
2
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Task Parallel Library (TPL)

I believe you are reinventing the wheel here. TPL provides numerous ways of synchronizing tasks.

For instance, it allows you to:

All you need to do is create a custom synchronization context (.NET Core no longer uses these) or custom task scheduler that schedules tasks to a single thread. Perhaps your TaskGroup could be used internally in such scheduler.

Each of your clients should use that specific scheduler to run tasks. This allows you to guard sequential behavior by client, even in an asynchronous environment. For instance, if each client has a session, and mutiple calls (multiple threads) can make requests concurrently in that session; all these calls should schedule tasks to the session-specific scheduler.

Any code that must/could run asynchronously, could still be scheduled on the default task scheduler to allow for concurrency when required to.

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is a really old question and i think i ended up solving it this way, too. Thank you for taking the time to clarify :) \$\endgroup\$ – Vengarioth Aug 21 at 10:09

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