Sunday, February 15, 2009

always surround wait() with a while() loop

Wait() is always awakened by a notification message sent to the monitor object.

Between the notification thread releasing the lock and the waking thread acquiring, a third thread can modify some shared data[1], and the condition you are waiting for disappears as a result.

Therefore the waking thread need to recheck the condition. if() won't do[2]. while() is required.

If you know there is no 3rd thread messing with the condition, then the waking thread can assume the condition is still intact. However, this design unnecessarily weakens code extensibility and re-usability. It's fairly easy to put a while() loop around a wait(). No good reason not to do it.

[2] This kind of bug is intermitten.
[1] in a database for example (a crude example)

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