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Hack Blog:
Async – Cooperative Multitasking for Hack
Dec 08, 2014 @ 11:56:54

On the Hack blog there's a new post talking about async, a feature in Hack that allows for code to "cooperatively multitask". This gives the language a way to keep moving on in the execution without having to wait for things like database queries or remote file fetches to finish.

This is somewhat similar to threading, in that multiple code paths are executed in parallel, however it avoids the lock contention issues common to multithreaded code by only actually executing one section at any given moment. “What’s the use of that?”, I hear you ask. You’re still bound to one CPU, so it should take the same amount of time to execute your code, right? Well, that’s technically true, but script code execution isn’t the only thing causing latency in your application. The biggest piece of it probably comes from waiting for backend databases to respond to queries.

She gives the example of pulling in a remote file (HTTPS, where there's a bit more latency) and how to use async, await, WaitHandle, and Awaitable to work around the timing issue. She shows how to make a method asynchronous and how to join the results of the operation back up with the rest of the script. This includes the use of various "handles" including RescheduleWaitHandle, SleepWaitHandle and the AwaitAllWaitHandle. She shows the integration of a custom cURL handler that makes use of this processing, marked async, to multithread the requests to the remote server(s).

tagged: hack async asynchronous multitasking curl example remote fetch language

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/7091/async-cooperative-multitasking-for-hack