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Dripping taps, Java threads and the single thread model

Have you ever lain awake at night and listened to dripping taps. "drip, drip, drip" ... until you eventually fall asleep? With one tap, it's rhythmic, but with two taps the two rhythms get intertwined, and result in an apparently patternless racket. If only one tap would wait for the other, it would sound so much better!

With Java threads - that's where you have several program streams running within the same program - you have a very powerful facility, but also a need co-ordinate when you get to points where a shared resource needs to be used, and that's where you use Java's synchronized keyword, and you synchronise based on an object.

Threads and synchronisation are used within Tomcat to handle multiple connections at the same time, and they're used very effectively and hidden from the programmer / Java developer. But the Java developer does need to bear in mind that there may be several user all in his code at the same time, and if there's a danger of such users interfering with each other he should consider the single thread model for his Servlet. In a nutshell, this holds each user of his application at the starting gate until the previous user has completed - it reduces the maximum possible throughput, but on a quiet to medium application, it can make the coding and testing very much easier!

(written 2009-06-01)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
J804 - Java - Threads
  [3040] Doing several things at the same time - Java threads - (2010-11-10)

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