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I have a relatively simple task where I need some 10 consumers to consume work to be produced into a queue, continuously.

This is my first time implementing this design pattern, so I have been searching the web for different approaches.

The ones I found were:

  1. Threads with Monitor.Pulse/Wait
  2. Blocking Collection
  3. Channel
  4. Dataflow

I have picked no. (1), for the sole reason I find it easier to understand and it feels it gives you more control. However, I have the feeling this is not anymore the modern/recommended way to do it (.NET Core days).

Could anyone give some guidance as to the practical advantages in choosing this/that approach over the other ?

This article covers performance comparison between some of these approaches, and states Channel ultimately performs better.

In a short, I have no special requirements such as maximum queue size. For the simplest scenario would the 1st approach be a good choice even today ? Or it is unreasonable to pick a thread-based implementation instead of a TPL or other more modern .NET threading stacks ?

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    Option 1 looks extremely tricky to me, with so much additional fiddly code and complexity which essentially re-invents the wheel in ways which the Channel implementation has already taken care of, around issues such as read/write locking, signalling and managing queues (Indeed, one of the reasons Channel exists is to save you from needing to write all that yourself). If you don't have any special requirements then there's no reason to roll-your own when a Channel can do all of that stuff in a single, simple line of code each for the reader (consumer) and for the writer (producer). Jan 19, 2021 at 13:00
  • @BenCottrell: thanks for the insights. I felt that (1) gives you more control and that a channel - although wraps part of this control to spare us from that work - gave me the feeling is too tailored/too specific. I guess I do not yet fully understand channel's workings and api.
    – Veverke
    Jan 19, 2021 at 14:36
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    I did this several years ago, using channels containing blocking queues I wrote with threads and monitors. Nowadays, I would probably use a Channel, as all of this is already written. Jan 19, 2021 at 15:35
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    You can learn more about implementation details by searching in the reference source: System.Threading.Channels, ConcurrentQueue, BlockingCollection
    – rwong
    Jan 19, 2021 at 16:13
  • You could also use a Semaphore here, given that it clearly conveys, what is being accomplished. From docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dotnet/api/… "Limits the number of threads that can access a resource or pool of resources concurrently."
    – hocho
    Jan 20, 2021 at 2:59

1 Answer 1

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Don't go low-level until you need to. Hint: you don't need to.

If you're just 10-wide consuming data, you probably want ActionBlock, or one of its neighbors. This will let you set up a producer (ActionBlock.Post), and consumer (the Action passed into ActionBlock). TPL handles everything else.

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