H W H W - 1 month ago 30
C# Question

Can i cancel StreamReader.ReadLineAsync with a CancellationToken?

When I cancel my async method with the following content by calling the

Cancel()
method of my
CancellationTokenSource
, it will stop eventually. However since the line
Console.WriteLine(await reader.ReadLineAsync());
takes quite a bit to complete, I tried to pass my CancellationToken to
ReadLineAsync()
as well (expecting it to return an empty string) in order to make the method more responsive to my
Cancel()
call. However I could not pass a
CancellationToken
to
ReadLineAsync()
.

Can I cancel a call to
Console.WriteLine()
or
Streamreader.ReadLineAsync()
and if so, how do I do it?

Why is
ReadLineAsync()
not accepting a
CancellationToken
? I thought it was good practice to give Async methods an optional
CancellationToken
parameter even if the method still completes after being canceled.

StreamReader reader = new StreamReader(dataStream);
while (!reader.EndOfStream)
{
if (ct.IsCancellationRequested){
ct.ThrowIfCancellationRequested();
break;
}
else
{
Console.WriteLine(await reader.ReadLineAsync());
}
}


Update
Like stated in the comments below, the
Console.WriteLine()
call alone was already taking up several seconds due to a poorly formated input string of 40.000 characters per line. Breaking this down solves my response-time issues, but I am still interested in any suggestions or workarounds on how to cancel this long-running statement if for some reason writing 40.000 characters into one line was intended (for example when dumping the whole string into a file).

Answer

You can't cancel the operation unless it's cancellable. You can use the WithCancellation extension method to have your code flow behave as if it was cancelled, but the underlying would still run:

public static Task<T> WithCancellation<T>(this Task<T> task, CancellationToken cancellationToken)
{
    return task.IsCompleted // fast-path optimization
        ? task
        : task.ContinueWith(
            completedTask => completedTask.GetAwaiter().GetResult(),
            cancellationToken,
            TaskContinuationOptions.ExecuteSynchronously,
            TaskScheduler.Default);
}

Usage:

await task.WithCancellation(cancellationToken);

You can't cancel Console.WriteLine and you don't need to. It's instantaneous if you have a reasonable sized string.

About the guideline: If your implementation doesn't actually support cancellation you shouldn't be accepting a token since it sends a mixed message.

If you do have a huge string to write to the console you shouldn't use Console.WriteLine. You can write the string in a character at a time and have that method be cancellable:

public void DumpHugeString(string line, CancellationToken token)
{
    foreach (var character in line)
    {
        token.ThrowIfCancellationRequested();
        Console.Write(character);
    }

    Console.WriteLine();
}

An even better solution would be to write in batches instead of single characters. Here's an implementation using MoreLinq's Batch:

public void DumpHugeString(string line, CancellationToken token)
{
    foreach (var characterBatch in line.Batch(100))
    {
        token.ThrowIfCancellationRequested();
        Console.Write(characterBatch.ToArray());
    }

    Console.WriteLine();
}

So, in conclusion:

var reader = new StreamReader(dataStream);
while (!reader.EndOfStream)
{
    DumpHugeString(await reader.ReadLineAsync().WithCancellation(token), token);
}
Comments