Skip to main content

A simple illustration of the use of goroutines and channels in Google Go

For a long time I've been meaning to spend some quality time with Google Go and I finally have the chance. For the little home project I'm working on I needed a way to generate unique IDs. In Go there's a really nice and simple way of doing this: assign a single goroutine as an ID generator and use a channel as the way to grab a new ID.

Here's the code:
    idMaker := make(chan string)

    go func() {
        var counter int64 = 0
        for {
            idMaker <- fmt.Sprintf("%x", counter)
            counter++
        }
    } ()
The first line makes a channel that will be used to communicate strings. In this case, I'd decided to have unique string IDs.

Then there's a go function (in this case an anonymous function) that contains a 64 bit integer counter that is incremented every time an ID is generated. When an ID is generated it is formatted as a hex number and made available on the channel. It just loops around forever providing IDs and only updating the counter when an ID has been used.

Any other part of the program can grab an ID like this:
    id := <-idMaker
Because reading from a channel is atomic and only one part of the program can read from the channel at once this eliminates any headaches about threads or processes needing to share some unique ID generating code. In fact, multiple goroutines can use exactly the same channel to get unique IDs trivially.

This works because Google Go takes its channel synchronization idea from CSP where communication is how synchronization is done. There's no need for any sort of locking around the var counter because it only gets updated in one place (inside the goroutine) and it only gets updated when its value has been consumed by reading from the channel.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Making an old USB printer support Apple AirPrint using a Raspberry Pi

There are longer tutorials on how to connect a USB printer to a Raspberry Pi and make it accessible via AirPrint but here's the minimal one that's just a list of commands and simple instructions. 1. Install Raspbian on a SD card 2. Mount SD card on some machine and navigate to / . Add a file called ssh and set up wpa_supplicant.conf for WiFi access. Now you have headless and don't need a keyboard or monitor. 3. Boot. Login. sudo raspi-config . Change password. 4. Connect printer via USB cable 5. Then execute the following sequence of commands to set up CUPS and make it accessible on the network. sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get full-upgrade sudo apt-get install cups sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi sudo cupsctl --remote-any sudo systemctl restart cups 6. Visit http://raspberrypi:631/admin and add the local printer. Make sure "sharing" is enabled on the printer. 7. Then make sure AirPrint is set up sudo apt-get install avahi-daemon sudo reboot Printer should work

How to write a successful blog post

First, a quick clarification of 'successful'. In this instance, I mean a blog post that receives a large number of page views. For my, little blog the most successful post ever got almost 57,000 page views. Not a lot by some other standards, but I was pretty happy about it. Looking at the top 10 blog posts (by page views) on my site, I've tried to distill some wisdom about what made them successful. Your blog posting mileage may vary. 1. Avoid using the passive voice The Microsoft Word grammar checker has probably been telling you this for years, but the passive voice excludes the people involved in your blog post. And that includes you, the author, and the reader. By using personal pronouns like I, you and we, you will include the reader in your blog post. When I first started this blog I avoid using "I" because I thought I was being narcissistic. But we all like to read about other people, people help anchor a story in reality. Without people your bl

Your last name contains invalid characters

My last name is "Graham-Cumming". But here's a typical form response when I enter it: Does the web site have any idea how rude it is to claim that my last name contains invalid characters? Clearly not. What they actually meant is: our web site will not accept that hyphen in your last name. But do they say that? No, of course not. They decide to shove in my face the claim that there's something wrong with my name. There's nothing wrong with my name, just as there's nothing wrong with someone whose first name is Jean-Marie, or someone whose last name is O'Reilly. What is wrong is that way this is being handled. If the system can't cope with non-letters and spaces it needs to say that. How about the following error message: Our system is unable to process last names that contain non-letters, please replace them with spaces. Don't blame me for having a last name that your system doesn't like, whose fault is that? Saying "Your