How to: Enable Thread-Tracking Mode in SpinLock

System.Threading.SpinLock is a low-level mutual exclusion lock that you can use for scenarios that have very short wait times. SpinLock is not re-entrant. After a thread enters the lock, it must exit the lock correctly before it can enter again. Typically, any attempt to re-enter the lock would cause deadlock, and deadlocks can be very difficult to debug. As an aid to development, System.Threading.SpinLock supports a thread-tracking mode that causes an exception to be thrown when a thread attempts to re-enter a lock that it already holds. This lets you more easily locate the point at which the lock was not exited correctly. You can turn on thread-tracking mode by using the SpinLock constructor that takes a Boolean input parameter, and passing in an argument of true. After you complete the development and testing phases, turn off thread-tracking mode for better performance.

Example

The following example demonstrates thread-tracking mode. The lines that correctly exit the lock are commented out to simulate a coding error that causes one of the following results:

  • An exception is thrown if the SpinLock was created by using an argument of true (True in Visual Basic).

  • Deadlock if the SpinLock was created by using an argument of false (False in Visual Basic).

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

namespace SpinLockDemo
{
    // C#
    public class SpinLockTest
    {
        // Specify true to enable thread tracking. This will cause
        // exception to be thrown when the first thread attempts to reenter the lock.
        // Specify false to cause deadlock due to coding error below.
        private static SpinLock _spinLock = new SpinLock(true);
        
        static void Main()
        {
            Parallel.Invoke(
                () => DoWork(),
                () => DoWork(),
                () => DoWork(),
                () => DoWork()
                );

            Console.WriteLine("Press any key.");
            Console.ReadKey();
        }

        public static void DoWork()
        {
            StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();

            for (int i = 0; i < 100; i++)
            {

                bool lockTaken = false;

                try
                {
                    _spinLock.Enter(ref lockTaken);

                    // do work here protected by the lock
                    Thread.SpinWait(50000);
                    sb.Append(Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId);
                    sb.Append(" Entered-");
                }
                catch (LockRecursionException ex)
                {
                    Console.WriteLine("Thread {0} attempted to reenter the lock",
                                       Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId);
                    throw;
                }
                finally
                {
                    // INTENTIONAL CODING ERROR TO DEMONSTRATE THREAD TRACKING! 
                    // UNCOMMENT THE LINES FOR CORRECT SPINLOCK BEHAVIOR
                    // Commenting out these lines causes the same thread
                    // to attempt to reenter the lock. If the SpinLock was
                    // created with thread tracking enabled, the exception
                    // is thrown. Otherwise the spinlock deadlocks.
                    if (lockTaken)
                    {
                       // _spinLock.Exit(false);
                       // sb.Append("Exited ");
                    }
                }

                // Output for diagnostic display.
                if(i % 4 != 0)
                    Console.Write(sb.ToString());
                else
                    Console.WriteLine(sb.ToString());
                sb.Clear();

            }
        }
    }
}
Imports System.Text
Imports System.Threading
Imports System.Threading.Tasks
Module Module1

    Public Class SpinTest

        ' True means "enable thread tracking." This will cause an
        ' exception to be thrown when the first thread attempts to reenter the lock.
        ' Specify False to cause deadlock due to coding error below.
        Private Shared _spinLock = New SpinLock(True)

        Public Shared Sub Main()

            Parallel.Invoke(
                Sub() DoWork(),
                Sub() DoWork(),
                Sub() DoWork(),
                Sub() DoWork()
                )

            Console.WriteLine("Press any key.")
            Console.ReadKey()
        End Sub

        Public Shared Sub DoWork()

            Dim sb = New StringBuilder()

            For i As Integer = 1 To 9999

                Dim lockTaken As Boolean = False

                Try
                    _spinLock.Enter(lockTaken)

                    ' do work here protected by the lock
                    Thread.SpinWait(50000)
                    sb.Append(Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId)
                    sb.Append(" Entered-")

                Catch ex As LockRecursionException
                    Console.WriteLine("Thread {0} attempted to reenter the lock",
                                       Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId)
                    Throw

                Finally

                    ' INTENTIONAL CODING ERROR TO DEMONSTRATE THREAD TRACKING! 
                    ' UNCOMMENT THE LINES FOR CORRECT SPINLOCK BEHAVIOR
                    ' Commenting out these lines causes the same thread
                    ' to attempt to reenter the lock. If the SpinLock was
                    ' created with thread tracking enabled, the exception
                    ' is thrown. Otherwise, if the SpinLock was created with a 
                    ' parameter of false, and these lines are left commented, the spinlock deadlocks.
                    If (lockTaken) Then

                        '  _spinLock.Exit()
                        '  sb.Append("Exited ")
                    End If
                End Try

                ' Output for diagnostic display.
                If (i Mod 4 <> 0) Then
                    Console.Write(sb.ToString())
                Else
                    Console.WriteLine(sb.ToString())
                End If
                sb.Clear()
            Next
        End Sub
    End Class
End Module

See also