Threadpooling in netduino

Sometimes you want to do asynchronous work without holding up your current thread but the work that needs to be done doesn’t really warrant the cost of spinning up a new thread (though what the exact cost is on an embedded environment I’m not sure).

This where threadpooling comes into play. A threadpool has a certain amount of pre-spun up threads that you can re-use for actions. You push actions onto the threadpool and when there is an available thread it’ll run your action. While threadpools aren’t free (you still incur context switching and the initial overhead of firing up a thread) you can limit your context switches and minimize thread start/cleanup time by reusing threads. Threadpooling is a handy feature and C# has built in support for it, but it’s not in the .net micro framework so I decided to write my own.

For a basic threadpool manager it’s … Read more

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Flyweight Locking

Locking is a necessary aspect of multithreading code: it prevents unpredictable behavior and makes sure code that is expected to run synchronously does so. Some situations can leverage lockless code, but not always. When you do need to do a lock you shouldn’t do it carelessly, if you lock a section of code that does some major work (such as database access) and it blocks other pending calls you need to be cognizant that there could be a delay or bottleneck. However, just because we have to lock doesn’t mean we can’t do some simple optimizations depending on what our business logic is. If we only need to lock items per a defined group then we can leverage flyweight locking. Lets go through an example to make this scenario clearer.

Imagine we have a WCF service that signs a student into a class where the student has a name, an … Read more

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Thread Synchronization With Aspects

This article was originally published at

Aspect-oriented programming is an interesting way to decouple common method level logic into localized methods that can be applied on build. For C#, PostSharp is a great tool that does the heavy lifting of the MSIL rewrites to inject itself in and around your methods based on method tagging with attributes. PostSharp’s offerings are split up into free aspects and pro aspects so it makes diving into aspect-oriented programming easy since you can get a lot done with their free offerings.

One of their free aspects, the method interception aspect, lets you control how a method gets invoked. Using this capability, my general idea was to expose some sort of lock and wrap the method invocation automatically in lock statement using a shared object. This way, we can manage thread synchronization using aspects.

Managing thread synchronization with aspects isn’t a new idea: … Read more

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