Using Event Objects

Applications use event objects in a number of situations to notify a waiting thread of the occurrence of an event. For example, overlapped I/O operations on files, named pipes, and communications devices use an event object to signal their completion. For more information about the use of event objects in overlapped I/O operations, see Synchronization and Overlapped Input and Output.

In the following example, an application uses event objects to prevent several threads from reading from a shared memory buffer while a master thread is writing to that buffer. First, the master thread uses the CreateEvent function to create a manual-reset event object. The master thread sets the event object to nonsignaled when it is writing to the buffer and then resets the object to signaled when it has finished writing. Then it creates several reader threads and an auto-reset event object for each thread. Each reader thread sets its event object to signaled when it is not reading from the buffer.

Before the master thread writes to the shared buffer, it uses the ResetEvent function to set the state of hGlobalWriteEvent (an application-defined global variable) to nonsignaled. This blocks the reader threads from starting a read operation. The master then uses the WaitForMultipleObjects function to wait for all reader threads to finish any current read operations. When WaitForMultipleObjects returns, the master thread can safely write to the buffer. After it has finished, it sets hGlobalWriteEvent and all the reader-thread events to signaled, enabling the reader threads to resume their read operations.

Before starting a read operation, each reader thread uses WaitForMultipleObjects to wait for the application-defined global variable hGlobalWriteEvent and its own read event to be signaled. When WaitForMultipleObjects returns, the reader thread's auto-reset event has been reset to nonsignaled. This blocks the master thread from writing to the buffer until the reader thread uses the SetEvent function to set the event's state back to signaled.

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