I am trying to write a SynchronizedQueue wrapper class to provide a simple synchronized interface to underlying standard std::queue.
Could you have a review and let me know if any pitfalls and improvements you see ?
Too many mutexes/locks ? I wanted to to use condition variables to wait rather than mutexes for push & pop notifications.
Any insights is highly appreciated as I have rarely written multi-threaded programs.

#pragma once

#include <mutex>
#include <condition_variable>
#include <queue>
#include <cstdint>

template<typename T>
class SynchronizedQueue
  SynchronizedQueue(size_t maxItems)
    : synchronizedQueue_()
    , queueMutex_()
    , pushMutex_()
    , popMutex_()
    , pushCV_()
    , popCV_()
    , MAX_ITEMS(maxItems)

  void push(const T& item)
    std::unique_lock<std::mutex> scopedLock(pushMutex_);
    while (isFull())
      std::unique_lock<std::mutex> pushLock(queueMutex_);

      std::unique_lock<std::mutex> scopedLock(queueMutex_);

  T pop()
    std::unique_lock<std::mutex> scopedLock(popMutex_);
    while (isEmpty())
      std::unique_lock<std::mutex> scopedLock(queueMutex_);

    T t;
      std::unique_lock<std::mutex> scopedLock(queueMutex_);
      t = synchronizedQueue_.front();

    return t;

  bool isEmpty()
    std::unique_lock<std::mutex> scopedLock(queueMutex_);
    return synchronizedQueue_.empty();

  bool isFull()
    std::unique_lock<std::mutex> scopedLock(queueMutex_);
    return synchronizedQueue_.size() == MAX_ITEMS;

  std::queue<T> synchronizedQueue_;
  std::mutex queueMutex_, pushMutex_, popMutex_;
  std::condition_variable pushCV_, popCV_;
  size_t MAX_ITEMS;


  • pushMutex_ and popMutex_ aren't needed. Even worse, they prevent other threads from waiting on a condition variable! Just lock queueMutex_ instead (that also prevents having to re-lock queueMutex_).

    Assume that the queue is full, and thread 1 and 2 both want to push an item into the queue. Thread 1 was faster and got the lock on pushMutex_, so it proceeds to wait on pushCV_. Thread 2 in the meanwhile spins trying to lock pushMutex_ - which is still held by thread 1!

  • Avoid using std::condition_variable::notifiy_one() while still holding the corresponding lock! The notified thread will wake up, and the first action it has to do is reacquiring the lock that is still hold by the caller of notify_one(), so it will instantly block again (this time on acquiring the lock though, not wait()).


  • The outer scopedLock in push() and pop() get shadowed by the inner scopedLock. This can lead to extra confusion in an already complex code!

  • Since MAX_SIZE isn't supposed to change once the object is initialized, consider marking it as const. (It can still be set with the initialization list of the constructor, but not changed afterwards.)

Further considerations

  • Maybe add fast returning bool try_push(const T&) and bool try_pop(T&) member functions, so users of the queue don't have to wait if they don't need to?
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with all the points, but need some clarification w.r.t to point 1 (Synchronization). If I understand, you're suggesting to remove the first lock on pushMutex_ & keep everything unchanged. Consider there is only 1 empty slot in queue and, t1 and t2 want to insert the items. Say t1 checks & finds it's not full & before t1 inserts t2 also checks & finds it's not full. Say, t1 pushes an item, now t2 waits for the lock on queueMutex_. After the scoped lock on queue mutex is released for t1, t2 also inserts the item adding > MAX_ITEMS, which violates the contract, isn't it? \$\endgroup\$ – Uchia Itachi Nov 17 '17 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @UchiaItachi: No, I suggest locking queueMutex_ instead of pushMutex_ or popMutex_ (and removing the inner locks for queueMutex_). This would require some changes so isEmpty()/isFull() still work (inline them, or remove the locks inside them, or use a std::recursive_,mutex, ...). \$\endgroup\$ – hoffmale Nov 17 '17 at 16:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, thought so that the empty() and full() would've to be changed if we removed the lock before cv. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Uchia Itachi Nov 17 '17 at 16:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LokiAstari: I'm not sure what you are trying to tell me. Yeah, I "misattributed" the reacquiring of the lock to the waiting thread instead of the condition_variable (it's the condition_variables job to re-acquire the lock before continuing the waiting thread). Either way, the thread can only continue after the lock has been reacquired. Is that what you were trying to convey? \$\endgroup\$ – hoffmale Nov 18 '17 at 1:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LokiAstari: Ok, my choice of words was poor (I didn't intend to mean wait() with wait again, just that it will instantly block again). I've amended my answer for that. That said, I don't get where you took the increments a count from, the standard has nothing to say on that. (Maybe you meant something implementation specific?) \$\endgroup\$ – hoffmale Nov 18 '17 at 4:39

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