Ryan S Ryan S - 1 month ago 13
ASP.NET (C#) Question

Are static variables thread-safe? C#

I want to create a class which stores DataTables, this will prevent my application to import a list of details each time I want to retrieve it. Therefore this should be done once, I believe that the following code does so, but I am not sure if it is thread-safe.

The below code is in the Business Layer Section of my three tier application, it is returning a DataTable to the Presentation Layer.

public class BusinessLayerHandler
{
public static DataTable unitTable;
public static DataTable currencyTable;

public static DataTable GetUnitList()
{
//import lists each time the application is run
unitTable = null;
if (unitTable == null)
{
return unitTable = DatabaseHandler.GetUnitList();
}
else
{
return unitTable;
}
}

public static DataTable GetCurrencyList()
{
//import lists each time the application is run
currencyTable = null;
if (currencyTable == null)
{
return currencyTable = DatabaseHandler.GetCurrencyList();
}
else
{
return currencyTable;
}
}


Any help is appreciated, if there is a better way how to cache a DataTable please let me know.

Update:

Thanks to your opinions, this is the suggested method to do it, if I understood correctly:

public class BusinessLayerHandler
{
private static DataTable unitTable;
private static DataTable currencyTable;

private static readonly object unitTableLock = new object();
private static readonly object currencyTableLock = new object();

public static DataTable GetUnitList()
{
//import lists each time the application is run
//unitTable = null;

lock (unitTableLock)
{
if (unitTable == null)
{
return unitTable = DatabaseHandler.GetUnitList();
}
}
return unitTable;
}

public static DataTable GetCurrencyList()
{
//import lists each time the application is run
lock (currencyTableLock)
{
if (currencyTable == null)
{
return currencyTable = DatabaseHandler.GetCurrencyList();
}
}
return currencyTable;
}
}

Answer

It appears as though all you want to do is load it once and keep a reference to it. All you need to guard is initialising the variable if it's null. Null checking, locking and null checking again is called Double Check Locking and will work well for you. It's best practice to provide a separate locking object, so you have good control over granularity of locks.

Note this doesn't stop people from mutating the value inside the DataTable it only stops people from trying to initialise the static member at the same time.

private static readonly object UnitTableLock = new object();
private static DataTable unitTable;
private static bool _ready = false;

public static DataTable GetUnitList()
{
    if (!_ready)
    {
        lock (UnitTableLock)
        {
            if (!_ready)
            {
                unitTable = new DataTable; //... etc
                System.Threading.Thread.MemoryBarrier();
                _ready = true;
            }
        }
    }

    return unitTable;
}

Only read from the result of GetUnitList never write to it.

Amended with reference to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-checked_locking

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