Implement C# Generic Timeout


Answers

We are using code like this heavily in production:

var result = WaitFor<Result>.Run(1.Minutes(), () => service.GetSomeFragileResult());

Implementation is open-sourced, works efficiently even in parallel computing scenarios and is available as a part of Lokad Shared Libraries

/// <summary>
/// Helper class for invoking tasks with timeout. Overhead is 0,005 ms.
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="TResult">The type of the result.</typeparam>
[Immutable]
public sealed class WaitFor<TResult>
{
    readonly TimeSpan _timeout;

    /// <summary>
    /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="WaitFor{T}"/> class, 
    /// using the specified timeout for all operations.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="timeout">The timeout.</param>
    public WaitFor(TimeSpan timeout)
    {
        _timeout = timeout;
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Executes the spcified function within the current thread, aborting it
    /// if it does not complete within the specified timeout interval. 
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="function">The function.</param>
    /// <returns>result of the function</returns>
    /// <remarks>
    /// The performance trick is that we do not interrupt the current
    /// running thread. Instead, we just create a watcher that will sleep
    /// until the originating thread terminates or until the timeout is
    /// elapsed.
    /// </remarks>
    /// <exception cref="ArgumentNullException">if function is null</exception>
    /// <exception cref="TimeoutException">if the function does not finish in time </exception>
    public TResult Run(Func<TResult> function)
    {
        if (function == null) throw new ArgumentNullException("function");

        var sync = new object();
        var isCompleted = false;

        WaitCallback watcher = obj =>
            {
                var watchedThread = obj as Thread;

                lock (sync)
                {
                    if (!isCompleted)
                    {
                        Monitor.Wait(sync, _timeout);
                    }
                }
                   // CAUTION: the call to Abort() can be blocking in rare situations
                    // http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ty8d3wta.aspx
                    // Hence, it should not be called with the 'lock' as it could deadlock
                    // with the 'finally' block below.

                    if (!isCompleted)
                    {
                        watchedThread.Abort();
                    }
        };

        try
        {
            ThreadPool.QueueUserWorkItem(watcher, Thread.CurrentThread);
            return function();
        }
        catch (ThreadAbortException)
        {
            // This is our own exception.
            Thread.ResetAbort();

            throw new TimeoutException(string.Format("The operation has timed out after {0}.", _timeout));
        }
        finally
        {
            lock (sync)
            {
                isCompleted = true;
                Monitor.Pulse(sync);
            }
        }
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Executes the spcified function within the current thread, aborting it
    /// if it does not complete within the specified timeout interval.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="timeout">The timeout.</param>
    /// <param name="function">The function.</param>
    /// <returns>result of the function</returns>
    /// <remarks>
    /// The performance trick is that we do not interrupt the current
    /// running thread. Instead, we just create a watcher that will sleep
    /// until the originating thread terminates or until the timeout is
    /// elapsed.
    /// </remarks>
    /// <exception cref="ArgumentNullException">if function is null</exception>
    /// <exception cref="TimeoutException">if the function does not finish in time </exception>
    public static TResult Run(TimeSpan timeout, Func<TResult> function)
    {
        return new WaitFor<TResult>(timeout).Run(function);
    }
}

This code is still buggy, you can try with this small test program:

      static void Main(string[] args) {

         // Use a sb instead of Console.WriteLine() that is modifying how synchronous object are working
         var sb = new StringBuilder();

         for (var j = 1; j < 10; j++) // do the experiment 10 times to have chances to see the ThreadAbortException
         for (var ii = 8; ii < 15; ii++) {
            int i = ii;
            try {

               Debug.WriteLine(i);
               try {
                  WaitFor<int>.Run(TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(10), () => {
                     Thread.Sleep(i);
                     sb.Append("Processed " + i + "\r\n");
                     return i;
                  });
               }
               catch (TimeoutException) {
                  sb.Append("Time out for " + i + "\r\n");
               }

               Thread.Sleep(10);  // Here to wait until we get the abort procedure
            }
            catch (ThreadAbortException) {
               Thread.ResetAbort();
               sb.Append(" *** ThreadAbortException on " + i + " *** \r\n");
            }
         }

         Console.WriteLine(sb.ToString());
      }
   }

There is a race condition. It is clearly possible that a ThreadAbortException gets raised after the method WaitFor<int>.Run() is being called. I didn't find a reliable way to fix this, however with the same test I cannot repro any problem with the TheSoftwareJedi accepted answer.

Question

I am looking for good ideas for implementing a generic way to have a single line (or anonymous delegate) of code execute with a timeout.

TemperamentalClass tc = new TemperamentalClass();
tc.DoSomething();  // normally runs in 30 sec.  Want to error at 1 min

I'm looking for a solution that can elegantly be implemented in many places where my code interacts with temperamental code (that I can't change).

In addition, I would like to have the offending "timed out" code stopped from executing further if possible.




I just knocked this out now so it might need some improvement, but will do what you want. It is a simple console app, but demonstrates the principles needed.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading;


namespace TemporalThingy
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            Action action = () => Thread.Sleep(10000);
            DoSomething(action, 5000);
            Console.ReadKey();
        }

        static void DoSomething(Action action, int timeout)
        {
            EventWaitHandle waitHandle = new EventWaitHandle(false, EventResetMode.ManualReset);
            AsyncCallback callback = ar => waitHandle.Set();
            action.BeginInvoke(callback, null);

            if (!waitHandle.WaitOne(timeout))
                throw new Exception("Failed to complete in the timeout specified.");
        }
    }

}



Some minor changes to Pop Catalin's great answer:

  • Func instead of Action
  • Throw exception on bad timeout value
  • Calling EndInvoke in case of timeout

Overloads have been added to support signaling worker to cancel execution:

public static T Invoke<T> (Func<CancelEventArgs, T> function, TimeSpan timeout) {
    if (timeout.TotalMilliseconds <= 0)
        throw new ArgumentOutOfRangeException ("timeout");

    CancelEventArgs args = new CancelEventArgs (false);
    IAsyncResult functionResult = function.BeginInvoke (args, null, null);
    WaitHandle waitHandle = functionResult.AsyncWaitHandle;
    if (!waitHandle.WaitOne (timeout)) {
        args.Cancel = true; // flag to worker that it should cancel!
        /* •————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————•
           | IMPORTANT: Always call EndInvoke to complete your asynchronous call.   |
           | http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/2e08f6yc(VS.80).aspx           |
           | (even though we arn't interested in the result)                        |
           •————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————• */
        ThreadPool.UnsafeRegisterWaitForSingleObject (waitHandle,
            (state, timedOut) => function.EndInvoke (functionResult),
            null, -1, true);
        throw new TimeoutException ();
    }
    else
        return function.EndInvoke (functionResult);
}

public static T Invoke<T> (Func<T> function, TimeSpan timeout) {
    return Invoke (args => function (), timeout); // ignore CancelEventArgs
}

public static void Invoke (Action<CancelEventArgs> action, TimeSpan timeout) {
    Invoke<int> (args => { // pass a function that returns 0 & ignore result
        action (args);
        return 0;
    }, timeout);
}

public static void TryInvoke (Action action, TimeSpan timeout) {
    Invoke (args => action (), timeout); // ignore CancelEventArgs
}