# Start Multiple Async Tasks and Process Them As They Complete (Visual Basic)

By using Task.WhenAny, you can start multiple tasks at the same time and process them one by one as they’re completed rather than process them in the order in which they're started.

The following example uses a query to create a collection of tasks. Each task downloads the contents of a specified website. In each iteration of a while loop, an awaited call to WhenAny returns the task in the collection of tasks that finishes its download first. That task is removed from the collection and processed. The loop repeats until the collection contains no more tasks.

Note

To run the examples, you must have Visual Studio 2012 or newer and the .NET Framework 4.5 or newer installed on your computer.

1. Decompress the file that you downloaded, and then start Visual Studio.

2. On the menu bar, choose File, Open, Project/Solution.

3. In the Open Project dialog box, open the folder that holds the sample code that you decompressed, and then open the solution (.sln) file for AsyncFineTuningVB.

4. In Solution Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the ProcessTasksAsTheyFinish project, and then choose Set as StartUp Project.

5. Choose the F5 key to run the project.

Choose the Ctrl+F5 keys to run the project without debugging it.

6. Run the project several times to verify that the downloaded lengths don't always appear in the same order.

If you don't want to download the project, you can review the MainWindow.xaml.vb file at the end of this topic.

## Building the Example

This example adds to the code that’s developed in Cancel Remaining Async Tasks after One Is Complete (Visual Basic) and uses the same UI.

To build the example yourself, step by step, follow the instructions in the "Downloading the Example" section, but choose CancelAfterOneTask as the StartUp Project. Add the changes in this topic to the AccessTheWebAsync method in that project. The changes are marked with asterisks.

The CancelAfterOneTask project already includes a query that, when executed, creates a collection of tasks. Each call to ProcessURLAsync in the following code returns a Task<TResult> where TResult is an integer.

Dim downloadTasksQuery As IEnumerable(Of Task(Of Integer)) =
From url In urlList Select ProcessURLAsync(url, client, ct)


In the MainWindow.xaml.vb file of the project, make the following changes to the AccessTheWebAsync method.

• Execute the query by applying Enumerable.ToList instead of ToArray.

Dim downloadTasks As List(Of Task(Of Integer)) = downloadTasksQuery.ToList()

• Add a while loop that performs the following steps for each task in the collection.

1. Awaits a call to WhenAny to identify the first task in the collection to finish its download.

Dim finishedTask As Task(Of Integer) = Await Task.WhenAny(downloadTasks)

2. Removes that task from the collection.

downloadTasks.Remove(finishedTask)

3. Awaits finishedTask, which is returned by a call to ProcessURLAsync. The finishedTask variable is a Task<TResult> where TReturn is an integer. The task is already complete, but you await it to retrieve the length of the downloaded website, as the following example shows.

Dim length = Await finishedTask
resultsTextBox.Text &= String.Format(vbCrLf & "Length of the downloaded website:  {0}" & vbCrLf, length)


You should run the project several times to verify that the downloaded lengths don't always appear in the same order.

Caution

You can use WhenAny in a loop, as described in the example, to solve problems that involve a small number of tasks. However, other approaches are more efficient if you have a large number of tasks to process. For more information and examples, see Processing Tasks as they complete.

## Complete Example

The following code is the complete text of the MainWindow.xaml.vb file for the example. Asterisks mark the elements that were added for this example.

Notice that you must add a reference for System.Net.Http.

' Add an Imports directive and a reference for System.Net.Http.
Imports System.Net.Http

Class MainWindow

Dim cts As CancellationTokenSource

Private Async Sub startButton_Click(sender As Object, e As RoutedEventArgs)

' Instantiate the CancellationTokenSource.
cts = New CancellationTokenSource()

resultsTextBox.Clear()

Try
Await AccessTheWebAsync(cts.Token)

Catch ex As OperationCanceledException

Catch ex As Exception
End Try

cts = Nothing
End Sub

' You can still include a Cancel button if you want to.
Private Sub cancelButton_Click(sender As Object, e As RoutedEventArgs)

If cts IsNot Nothing Then
cts.Cancel()
End If
End Sub

' Provide a parameter for the CancellationToken.
' Change the return type to Task because the method has no return statement.
Async Function AccessTheWebAsync(ct As CancellationToken) As Task

Dim client As HttpClient = New HttpClient()

' Call SetUpURLList to make a list of web addresses.
Dim urlList As List(Of String) = SetUpURLList()

' ***Create a query that, when executed, returns a collection of tasks.
From url In urlList Select ProcessURLAsync(url, client, ct)

' ***Add a loop to process the tasks one at a time until none remain.
' ***Identify the first task that completes.

' ***Remove the selected task from the list so that you don't
' process it more than once.

' ***Await the first completed task and display the results.
resultsTextBox.Text &= String.Format(vbCrLf & "Length of the downloaded website:  {0}" & vbCrLf, length)
End While

End Function

' Bundle the processing steps for a website into one async method.
Async Function ProcessURLAsync(url As String, client As HttpClient, ct As CancellationToken) As Task(Of Integer)

' GetAsync returns a Task(Of HttpResponseMessage).
Dim response As HttpResponseMessage = Await client.GetAsync(url, ct)

' Retrieve the website contents from the HttpResponseMessage.
Dim urlContents As Byte() = Await response.Content.ReadAsByteArrayAsync()

Return urlContents.Length
End Function

Private Function SetUpURLList() As List(Of String)

Dim urls = New List(Of String) From
{
"https://msdn.microsoft.com",
"https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/hh290138.aspx",
"https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/hh290140.aspx",
"https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/dd470362.aspx",
"https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/aa578028.aspx",
"https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/ms404677.aspx",
"https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/ff730837.aspx"
}
Return urls
End Function

End Class

' Sample output: