Boost C++ Libraries

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Thread Local Storage

Class thread_specific_ptr

Synopsis

Thread local storage allows multi-threaded applications to have a separate instance of a given data item for each thread. Where a single-threaded application would use static or global data, this could lead to contention, deadlock or data corruption in a multi-threaded application. One example is the C errno variable, used for storing the error code related to functions from the Standard C library. It is common practice (and required by POSIX) for compilers that support multi-threaded applications to provide a separate instance of errno for each thread, in order to avoid different threads competing to read or update the value.

Though compilers often provide this facility in the form of extensions to the declaration syntax (such as __declspec(thread) or __thread annotations on static or namespace-scope variable declarations), such support is non-portable, and is often limited in some way, such as only supporting POD types.

Portable thread-local storage with boost::thread_specific_ptr

boost::thread_specific_ptr provides a portable mechanism for thread-local storage that works on all compilers supported by Boost.Thread. Each instance of boost::thread_specific_ptr represents a pointer to an object (such as errno) where each thread must have a distinct value. The value for the current thread can be obtained using the get() member function, or by using the * and -> pointer deference operators. Initially the pointer has a value of NULL in each thread, but the value for the current thread can be set using the reset() member function.

If the value of the pointer for the current thread is changed using reset(), then the previous value is destroyed by calling the cleanup routine. Alternatively, the stored value can be reset to NULL and the prior value returned by calling the release() member function, allowing the application to take back responsibility for destroying the object.

Cleanup at thread exit

When a thread exits, the objects associated with each boost::thread_specific_ptr instance are destroyed. By default, the object pointed to by a pointer p is destroyed by invoking delete p, but this can be overridden for a specific instance of boost::thread_specific_ptr by providing a cleanup routine to the constructor. In this case, the object is destroyed by invoking func(p) where func is the cleanup routine supplied to the constructor. The cleanup functions are called in an unspecified order. If a cleanup routine sets the value of associated with an instance of boost::thread_specific_ptr that has already been cleaned up, that value is added to the cleanup list. Cleanup finishes when there are no outstanding instances of boost::thread_specific_ptr with values.

template <typename T>
class thread_specific_ptr
{
public:
    thread_specific_ptr();
    explicit thread_specific_ptr(void (*cleanup_function)(T*));
    ~thread_specific_ptr();

    T* get() const;
    T* operator->() const;
    T& operator*() const;

    T* release();
    void reset(T* new_value=0);
};

Requires:

delete this->get() is well-formed.

Effects:

Construct a thread_specific_ptr object for storing a pointer to an object of type T specific to each thread. The default delete-based cleanup function will be used to destroy any thread-local objects when reset() is called, or the thread exits.

Throws:

boost::thread_resource_error if an error occurs.

Requires:

cleanup_function(this->get()) does not throw any exceptions.

Effects:

Construct a thread_specific_ptr object for storing a pointer to an object of type T specific to each thread. The supplied cleanup_function will be used to destroy any thread-local objects when reset() is called, or the thread exits.

Throws:

boost::thread_resource_error if an error occurs.

Effects:

Calls this->reset() to clean up the associated value for the current thread, and destroys *this.

Throws:

Nothing.

[Note] Note

Care needs to be taken to ensure that any threads still running after an instance of boost::thread_specific_ptr has been destroyed do not call any member functions on that instance.

Returns:

The pointer associated with the current thread.

Throws:

Nothing.

[Note] Note

The initial value associated with an instance of boost::thread_specific_ptr is NULL for each thread.

Returns:

this->get()

Throws:

Nothing.

Requires:

this->get is not NULL.

Returns:

*(this->get())

Throws:

Nothing.

Effects:

If this->get()!=new_value and this->get() is non-NULL, invoke delete this->get() or cleanup_function(this->get()) as appropriate. Store new_value as the pointer associated with the current thread.

Postcondition:

this->get()==new_value

Throws:

boost::thread_resource_error if an error occurs.

Effects:

Return this->get() and store NULL as the pointer associated with the current thread without invoking the cleanup function.

Postcondition:

this->get()==0

Throws:

Nothing.


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