Concurrency with Go

In case you are landing here directly, it’s suggested that you go and read through this for fundamentals.

In this blog, we shall be looking at following concepts :-

  • Building concurrency with GoRoutines.

Question:- What are Channels in GO ?

Answer:- Channels are typed, one-directional pipes. You send values at one end and receive them in the other end. If you try to receive and there’s nothing in the channel, you’ll get blocked.

Question:- What are the various kinds of Channels available in GO ?

Answer:- There are actually two kinds of channels :-

  • Unbuffered → When you push a value through an unbuffered channel you’ll get blocked until someone receives on the other hand.

Each buffer channel has a capacity. After the capacity is full, ascent to a channel will be blocked.

Question:- Can you showcase an example with Buffers in GO ?

Answer:- Here is an example, we created the simple Integer buffer channel :-

  • In line #9, we create a channel using the make builtin function. This channel is a channel of integers.

Question:- In the output section, we can see that, it says :- All goroutines are asleep, there is a deadlock. Can you explain this ?

Answer:- This is because nothing was pushed to the channel and that’s why we are sort of blocked here, because of deadlock.

Question:- Let’s send some value to this channel via some GoRoutine ?

Answer:- Here is the example :-

  • At line #11, we create a go routine that sends a value to the channel in below snapshot.

Question:- Can you demonstrate the behaviour of being Blocked, in case of UnBuffered Channel ?

Answer:- Let’s see how we’re blocked on multiple send/receive. See here, At line #23, we are trying to send the data to the channel, but because there is no consumer, that’s why we are totally blocked and only one particular record could be sent. Thats’s all and our program terminates, after sending one event/record to our channel :-

Question:- Let’s also have the consumers, consuming from the UnBuffered Channel, parallely :-

Step #1.) We create a go routine that runs three times, every time sending a value to the channel and sleeping for a second.

Step #2.) In the main method, we are also receiving three times from the same channel and print out what was received.

In the output section, we see following order. Everything is in order, first we send to the channel and then we receive from the channel.

  • sending zero and receiving zero.

Question:- How does we handle a situation, where we don’t know the number of items in the channel ?

Answer:- In that case, here is the demonstration for the same :-

  • At line #19, the sender can signal it is done by closing the channel.

And again, we see sending and receiving of the data-packets is well in order.

Question:- Demonstrate the concurrent approach of parallelising the data-fetching behaviour, using Channels ?

Answer:- Here again, we shall be considering the same above example, where we shall like to query a bunch of URLs, and see whether they return HTML, JSON, XML, or other format.

Step #1.) First, we declare a slice of strings, for which we shall be finding the content-type in a parallel way :-

Step #2.) Next, we create a channel of string type using inbuilt function “make” :-

Step #3.) Next, we now invoke the function, returnType, which does an http call, and then, looks at the header and emits it out to the channel that we are passing as an argument.

Step #4.) Now, we consume the data from the same channel, whatever data has been pushed to it shall be printed to the console :-

Step #5.) Let’s have a look at the core function “returnType”, which shall first hit to the concerned url and emit the content-type header value to channel :-

Step #6.) Let’s now verify the program, by executing the same :-

Net total time taken is around 2.86 seconds along with all the data being printed now.

Question:- How do we work with multiple Channels together ?

Answer:- The built-in select function allow us to work with several channels together. Every time a channel with selecting on become free, either for sending or receiving, you’ll do an action on this channel.

  • At line #9, we’ll create two channels, channel one and channel two. And then we run a routine, that sends a value to channel two.

Question:- What’s the usual use-case of using Channels practically ?

Answer:- One of the common uses for select is to implement timeouts. Here is the example for the same :-

  • At line #11, we’re going to make a channel.

Note, that this does not kill the go routine. It will work in the background, but since go routines are cheap, this is not a big deal.

That’s all in this section. If you liked reading this blog, kindly do press on clap button multiple times, to indicate your appreciation. We would see you in next series.

References :-



Software Engineer for Big Data distributed systems

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