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[Guile-commits] 04/04: Add thread-local variables manual section.

From: Andy Wingo
Subject: [Guile-commits] 04/04: Add thread-local variables manual section.
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2016 21:14:03 +0000 (UTC)

wingo pushed a commit to branch master
in repository guile.

commit ed19bb63a4c528b65c14dbf6b3595a9aa83bb49d
Author: Andy Wingo <address@hidden>
Date:   Tue Dec 6 22:00:39 2016 +0100

    Add thread-local variables manual section.
    * doc/ref/api-scheduling.texi (Thread Local Variables): New subsection.
 doc/ref/api-scheduling.texi |   49 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 1 file changed, 49 insertions(+)

diff --git a/doc/ref/api-scheduling.texi b/doc/ref/api-scheduling.texi
index 7ab6210..86a1ad2 100644
--- a/doc/ref/api-scheduling.texi
+++ b/doc/ref/api-scheduling.texi
@@ -9,6 +9,7 @@
 * Threads::                     Multiple threads of execution.
+* Thread Local Variables::      Guile doesn't really have these.
 * Asyncs::                      Asynchronous interrupts.
 * Atomics::                     Atomic references.
 * Mutexes and Condition Variables:: Synchronization primitives.
@@ -164,6 +165,54 @@ information.
 @end deffn
address@hidden Thread Local Variables
address@hidden Thread-Local Variables
+Sometimes you want to establish a variable binding that is only valid
+for a given thread: a ``thread-local variable''.  Guile doesn't really
+have this facility, but what it does have can work well for most use
+cases we know about.
+You would think that fluids or parameters would be Guile's answer for
+thread-local variables, since establishing a new fluid binding doesn't
+affect bindings in other threads.  @xref{Fluids and Dynamic States}, or
address@hidden  However, new threads inherit the fluid bindings that
+were in place in their creator threads.  In this way, a binding
+established using a fluid (or a parameter) in a thread can escape to
+other threads, which might not be what you want.  Or, it might escape
+via explicit reification via @code{current-dynamic-state}.
+Of course, this dynamic scoping might be exactly what you want; that's
+why fluids and parameters work this way, and is what you want for for
+many common parameters such as the current input and output ports, the
+current locale conversion parameters, and the like.  Perhaps this is the
+case for most parameters, even.  If your use case for thread-local
+bindings comes from a desire to isolate a binding from its setting in
+unrelated threads, then fluids and parameters apply nicely.
+On the other hand, if your use case is to prevent concurrent access to a
+value from multiple threads, then using fluids or parameters is not
+appropriate.  In this case, our current suggestion is to use weak hash
+tables or object properties whose keys are thread objects.  For example:
+(define (get-my-sensitive-data-structure)
+  ...)
+(define %thread-local (make-weak-key-hash-table))
+(define (current-thread-local)
+  (or (hashq-ref %thread-local (current-thread))
+      (let ((val (get-my-sensitive-data-structure)))
+        (hashq-set! %thread-local (current-thread) val)
+        val)))
address@hidden example
+It's not a terribly nice facility and perhaps we should have a better
+answer, like Racket's ``non-preserved thread cells''.  Your input is
+very welcome; we look forward to hearing from your experience.
 @node Asyncs
 @subsection Asynchronous Interrupts

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