Chapter 20. Threads and Synchronization

Threads are responsible for multitasking within a single application. The System.Threading namespace provides a wealth of classes and interfaces to manage multithreaded programming. The majority of programmers might never need to manage threads explicitly, however, because the CLR abstracts much of the threading support into classes that simplify most threading tasks. For example, in Chapter 21 you will see how to create multithreaded reading and writing streams without resorting to managing the threads yourself.

The first part of this chapter shows you how to create, manage, and kill threads. Even if you don’t create your own threads explicitly, you’ll want to ensure that your code can handle multiple threads if it’s run in a multithreading environment. This concern is especially important if you are creating components that might be used by other programmers in a program that supports multithreading. It is particularly significant to remoting and web services developers. Although web services (covered in Chapter 15) have many attributes of desktop applications, they are run on the server, generally lack a user interface, and force the developer to think about server-side issues such as efficiency and multithreading.

The second part of this chapter focuses on synchronization. When you have a limited resource (such as a database connection), you may need to restrict access to that resource to one thread at a time. A classic analogy is to ...

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