Darthg8r Darthg8r - 13 days ago 13
C# Question

Nesting await in Parallel.ForEach

In a metro app, I need to execute a number of WCF calls. There are a significant number of calls to be made, so I need to do them in a parallel loop. The problem is that the parallel loop exits before the WCF calls are all complete.

How would you refactor this to work as expected?

var ids = new List<string>() { "1", "2", "3", "4", "5", "6", "7", "8", "9", "10" };
var customers = new System.Collections.Concurrent.BlockingCollection<Customer>();

Parallel.ForEach(ids, async i =>
{
ICustomerRepo repo = new CustomerRepo();
var cust = await repo.GetCustomer(i);
customers.Add(cust);
});

foreach ( var customer in customers )
{
Console.WriteLine(customer.ID);
}

Console.ReadKey();

Answer

The whole idea behind Parallel.ForEach() is that you have a set of threads and each processes part of the collection. As you noticed, this doesn't work with async-await, where you want to release the thread for the duration of the async call.

You could “fix” that by blocking the ForEach() threads, but that defeats the whole point of async-await.

What you could do is to use TPL Dataflow instead of Parallel.ForEach(), which supports asynchronous Tasks well.

Specifically, your code could written using a TransformBlock that transforms each id into a Customer using the async lambda. This block can be configured to execute in parallel. You would link that block to an ActionBlock that writes each Customer to the console. After you set up the block network, you can Post() each id to the TransformBlock.

In code:

var ids = new List<string> { "1", "2", "3", "4", "5", "6", "7", "8", "9", "10" };

var getCustomerBlock = new TransformBlock<string, Customer>(
    async i =>
    {
        ICustomerRepo repo = new CustomerRepo();
        return await repo.GetCustomer(i);
    }, new ExecutionDataflowBlockOptions
    {
        MaxDegreeOfParallelism = DataflowBlockOptions.Unbounded
    });
var writeCustomerBlock = new ActionBlock<Customer>(c => Console.WriteLine(c.ID));
getCustomerBlock.LinkTo(
    writeCustomerBlock, new DataflowLinkOptions
    {
        PropagateCompletion = true
    });

foreach (var id in ids)
    getCustomerBlock.Post(id);

getCustomerBlock.Complete();
writeCustomerBlock.Completion.Wait();

Although you probably want to limit the parallelism of the TransformBlock to some small constant. Also, you could limit the capacity of the TransformBlock and add the items to it asynchronously using SendAsync(), for example if the collection is too big.

As an added benefit when compared to your code (if it worked) is that the writing will start as soon as a single item is finished, and not wait until all of the processing is finished.