value - difference between async and await in c#




Using async/await for multiple tasks (4)

Parallel.ForEach requires a list of user-defined workers and a non-async Action to perform with each worker.

Task.WaitAll and Task.WhenAll require a List<Task>, which are by definition asynchronous.

I found RiaanDP's response very useful to understand the difference, but it needs a correction for Parallel.ForEach. Not enough reputation to respond to his comment, thus my own response.

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

namespace AsyncTest
{
    class Program
    {
        class Worker
        {
            public int Id;
            public int SleepTimeout;

            public void DoWork(DateTime testStart)
            {
                var workerStart = DateTime.Now;
                Console.WriteLine("Worker {0} started on thread {1}, beginning {2} seconds after test start.",
                    Id, Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId, (workerStart - testStart).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));
                Thread.Sleep(SleepTimeout);
                var workerEnd = DateTime.Now;
                Console.WriteLine("Worker {0} stopped; the worker took {1} seconds, and it finished {2} seconds after the test start.",
                   Id, (workerEnd - workerStart).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"), (workerEnd - testStart).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));
            }

            public async Task DoWorkAsync(DateTime testStart)
            {
                var workerStart = DateTime.Now;
                Console.WriteLine("Worker {0} started on thread {1}, beginning {2} seconds after test start.",
                    Id, Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId, (workerStart - testStart).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));
                await Task.Run(() => Thread.Sleep(SleepTimeout));
                var workerEnd = DateTime.Now;
                Console.WriteLine("Worker {0} stopped; the worker took {1} seconds, and it finished {2} seconds after the test start.",
                   Id, (workerEnd - workerStart).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"), (workerEnd - testStart).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));
            }
        }

        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            var workers = new List<Worker>
            {
                new Worker { Id = 1, SleepTimeout = 1000 },
                new Worker { Id = 2, SleepTimeout = 2000 },
                new Worker { Id = 3, SleepTimeout = 3000 },
                new Worker { Id = 4, SleepTimeout = 4000 },
                new Worker { Id = 5, SleepTimeout = 5000 },
            };

            var startTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Starting test: Parallel.ForEach...");
            PerformTest_ParallelForEach(workers, startTime);
            var endTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Test finished after {0} seconds.\n",
                (endTime - startTime).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));

            startTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Starting test: Task.WaitAll...");
            PerformTest_TaskWaitAll(workers, startTime);
            endTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Test finished after {0} seconds.\n",
                (endTime - startTime).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));

            startTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Starting test: Task.WhenAll...");
            var task = PerformTest_TaskWhenAll(workers, startTime);
            task.Wait();
            endTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Test finished after {0} seconds.\n",
                (endTime - startTime).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));

            Console.ReadKey();
        }

        static void PerformTest_ParallelForEach(List<Worker> workers, DateTime testStart)
        {
            Parallel.ForEach(workers, worker => worker.DoWork(testStart));
        }

        static void PerformTest_TaskWaitAll(List<Worker> workers, DateTime testStart)
        {
            Task.WaitAll(workers.Select(worker => worker.DoWorkAsync(testStart)).ToArray());
        }

        static Task PerformTest_TaskWhenAll(List<Worker> workers, DateTime testStart)
        {
            return Task.WhenAll(workers.Select(worker => worker.DoWorkAsync(testStart)));
        }
    }
}

The resulting output is below. Execution times are comparable. I ran this test while my computer was doing the weekly anti virus scan. Changing the order of the tests did change the execution times on them.

Starting test: Parallel.ForEach...
Worker 1 started on thread 9, beginning 0.02 seconds after test start.
Worker 2 started on thread 10, beginning 0.02 seconds after test start.
Worker 3 started on thread 11, beginning 0.02 seconds after test start.
Worker 4 started on thread 13, beginning 0.03 seconds after test start.
Worker 5 started on thread 14, beginning 0.03 seconds after test start.
Worker 1 stopped; the worker took 1.00 seconds, and it finished 1.02 seconds after the test start.
Worker 2 stopped; the worker took 2.00 seconds, and it finished 2.02 seconds after the test start.
Worker 3 stopped; the worker took 3.00 seconds, and it finished 3.03 seconds after the test start.
Worker 4 stopped; the worker took 4.00 seconds, and it finished 4.03 seconds after the test start.
Worker 5 stopped; the worker took 5.00 seconds, and it finished 5.03 seconds after the test start.
Test finished after 5.03 seconds.

Starting test: Task.WaitAll...
Worker 1 started on thread 9, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 2 started on thread 9, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 3 started on thread 9, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 4 started on thread 9, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 5 started on thread 9, beginning 0.01 seconds after test start.
Worker 1 stopped; the worker took 1.00 seconds, and it finished 1.01 seconds after the test start.
Worker 2 stopped; the worker took 2.00 seconds, and it finished 2.01 seconds after the test start.
Worker 3 stopped; the worker took 3.00 seconds, and it finished 3.01 seconds after the test start.
Worker 4 stopped; the worker took 4.00 seconds, and it finished 4.01 seconds after the test start.
Worker 5 stopped; the worker took 5.00 seconds, and it finished 5.01 seconds after the test start.
Test finished after 5.01 seconds.

Starting test: Task.WhenAll...
Worker 1 started on thread 9, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 2 started on thread 9, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 3 started on thread 9, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 4 started on thread 9, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 5 started on thread 9, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 1 stopped; the worker took 1.00 seconds, and it finished 1.00 seconds after the test start.
Worker 2 stopped; the worker took 2.00 seconds, and it finished 2.00 seconds after the test start.
Worker 3 stopped; the worker took 3.00 seconds, and it finished 3.00 seconds after the test start.
Worker 4 stopped; the worker took 4.00 seconds, and it finished 4.00 seconds after the test start.
Worker 5 stopped; the worker took 5.00 seconds, and it finished 5.01 seconds after the test start.
Test finished after 5.01 seconds.

I'm using an API client that is completely asynchrounous, that is, each operation either returns Task or Task<T>, e.g:

static async Task DoSomething(int siteId, int postId, IBlogClient client)
{
    await client.DeletePost(siteId, postId); // call API client
    Console.WriteLine("Deleted post {0}.", siteId);
}

Using the C# 5 async/await operators, what is the correct/most efficient way to start multiple tasks and wait for them all to complete:

int[] ids = new[] { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 };
Parallel.ForEach(ids, i => DoSomething(1, i, blogClient).Wait());

or:

int[] ids = new[] { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 };
Task.WaitAll(ids.Select(i => DoSomething(1, i, blogClient)).ToArray());

Since the API client is using HttpClient internally, I would expect this to issue 5 HTTP requests immediately, writing to the console as each one completes.


I was curious to see the results of the methods provided in the question as well as the accepted answer, so I put it to the test.

Here's the code:

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

namespace AsyncTest
{
    class Program
    {
        class Worker
        {
            public int Id;
            public int SleepTimeout;

            public async Task DoWork(DateTime testStart)
            {
                var workerStart = DateTime.Now;
                Console.WriteLine("Worker {0} started on thread {1}, beginning {2} seconds after test start.",
                    Id, Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId, (workerStart-testStart).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));
                await Task.Run(() => Thread.Sleep(SleepTimeout));
                var workerEnd = DateTime.Now;
                Console.WriteLine("Worker {0} stopped; the worker took {1} seconds, and it finished {2} seconds after the test start.",
                   Id, (workerEnd-workerStart).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"), (workerEnd-testStart).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));
            }
        }

        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            var workers = new List<Worker>
            {
                new Worker { Id = 1, SleepTimeout = 1000 },
                new Worker { Id = 2, SleepTimeout = 2000 },
                new Worker { Id = 3, SleepTimeout = 3000 },
                new Worker { Id = 4, SleepTimeout = 4000 },
                new Worker { Id = 5, SleepTimeout = 5000 },
            };

            var startTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Starting test: Parallel.ForEach...");
            PerformTest_ParallelForEach(workers, startTime);
            var endTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Test finished after {0} seconds.\n",
                (endTime - startTime).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));

            startTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Starting test: Task.WaitAll...");
            PerformTest_TaskWaitAll(workers, startTime);
            endTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Test finished after {0} seconds.\n",
                (endTime - startTime).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));

            startTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Starting test: Task.WhenAll...");
            var task = PerformTest_TaskWhenAll(workers, startTime);
            task.Wait();
            endTime = DateTime.Now;
            Console.WriteLine("Test finished after {0} seconds.\n",
                (endTime - startTime).TotalSeconds.ToString("F2"));

            Console.ReadKey();
        }

        static void PerformTest_ParallelForEach(List<Worker> workers, DateTime testStart)
        {
            Parallel.ForEach(workers, worker => worker.DoWork(testStart).Wait());
        }

        static void PerformTest_TaskWaitAll(List<Worker> workers, DateTime testStart)
        {
            Task.WaitAll(workers.Select(worker => worker.DoWork(testStart)).ToArray());
        }

        static Task PerformTest_TaskWhenAll(List<Worker> workers, DateTime testStart)
        {
            return Task.WhenAll(workers.Select(worker => worker.DoWork(testStart)));
        }
    }
}

And the resulting output:

Starting test: Parallel.ForEach...
Worker 1 started on thread 1, beginning 0.21 seconds after test start.
Worker 4 started on thread 5, beginning 0.21 seconds after test start.
Worker 2 started on thread 3, beginning 0.21 seconds after test start.
Worker 5 started on thread 6, beginning 0.21 seconds after test start.
Worker 3 started on thread 4, beginning 0.21 seconds after test start.
Worker 1 stopped; the worker took 1.90 seconds, and it finished 2.11 seconds after the test start.
Worker 2 stopped; the worker took 3.89 seconds, and it finished 4.10 seconds after the test start.
Worker 3 stopped; the worker took 5.89 seconds, and it finished 6.10 seconds after the test start.
Worker 4 stopped; the worker took 5.90 seconds, and it finished 6.11 seconds after the test start.
Worker 5 stopped; the worker took 8.89 seconds, and it finished 9.10 seconds after the test start.
Test finished after 9.10 seconds.

Starting test: Task.WaitAll...
Worker 1 started on thread 1, beginning 0.01 seconds after test start.
Worker 2 started on thread 1, beginning 0.01 seconds after test start.
Worker 3 started on thread 1, beginning 0.01 seconds after test start.
Worker 4 started on thread 1, beginning 0.01 seconds after test start.
Worker 5 started on thread 1, beginning 0.01 seconds after test start.
Worker 1 stopped; the worker took 1.00 seconds, and it finished 1.01 seconds after the test start.
Worker 2 stopped; the worker took 2.00 seconds, and it finished 2.01 seconds after the test start.
Worker 3 stopped; the worker took 3.00 seconds, and it finished 3.01 seconds after the test start.
Worker 4 stopped; the worker took 4.00 seconds, and it finished 4.01 seconds after the test start.
Worker 5 stopped; the worker took 5.00 seconds, and it finished 5.01 seconds after the test start.
Test finished after 5.01 seconds.

Starting test: Task.WhenAll...
Worker 1 started on thread 1, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 2 started on thread 1, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 3 started on thread 1, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 4 started on thread 1, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 5 started on thread 1, beginning 0.00 seconds after test start.
Worker 1 stopped; the worker took 1.00 seconds, and it finished 1.00 seconds after the test start.
Worker 2 stopped; the worker took 2.00 seconds, and it finished 2.00 seconds after the test start.
Worker 3 stopped; the worker took 3.00 seconds, and it finished 3.00 seconds after the test start.
Worker 4 stopped; the worker took 4.00 seconds, and it finished 4.00 seconds after the test start.
Worker 5 stopped; the worker took 5.00 seconds, and it finished 5.00 seconds after the test start.
Test finished after 5.00 seconds.

You can use Task.WhenAll function that you can pass n tasks; Task.WhenAll will return a task which runs to completion when all the tasks that you passed to Task.WhenAll complete. You have to wait asynchronously on Task.WhenAll so that you'll not block your UI thread:

   public async Task DoSomeThing() {

       var Task[] tasks = new Task[numTasks];
       for(int i = 0; i < numTask; i++)
       {
          tasks[i] = CallSomeAsync();
       }
       await Task.WhenAll(tasks);
       // code that'll execute on UI thread
   }

int[] ids = new[] { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 };
Parallel.ForEach(ids, i => DoSomething(1, i, blogClient).Wait());

Although you run the operations in parallel with the above code, this code blocks each thread that each operation runs on. For example, if the network call takes 2 seconds, each thread hangs for 2 seconds w/o doing anything but waiting.

int[] ids = new[] { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 };
Task.WaitAll(ids.Select(i => DoSomething(1, i, blogClient)).ToArray());

On the other hand, the above code with WaitAll also blocks the threads and your threads won't be free to process any other work till the operation ends.

Recommended Approach

I would prefer WhenAll which will perform your operations asynchronously in Parallel.

public async Task DoWork() {

    int[] ids = new[] { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 };
    await Task.WhenAll(ids.Select(i => DoSomething(1, i, blogClient)));
}

In fact, in the above case, you don't even need to await, you can just directly return from the method as you don't have any continuations:

public Task DoWork() 
{
    int[] ids = new[] { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 };
    return Task.WhenAll(ids.Select(i => DoSomething(1, i, blogClient)));
}

To back this up, here is a detailed blog post going through all the alternatives and their advantages/disadvantages: How and Where Concurrent Asynchronous I/O with ASP.NET Web API





c#-5.0