Fulproof Fulproof - 4 months ago 34
C# Question

When to use BlockingCollection and when ConcurrentBag instead of List<T>?

The accepted answer to question "Why does this Parallel.ForEach code freeze the program up?" advises to substitute the List usage by ConcurrentBag in a WPF application.

I'd like to understand whether a BlockingCollection can be used in this case instead?

Jon Jon

You can indeed use a BlockingCollection, but there is absolutely no point in doing so.

First off, note that BlockingCollection is a wrapper around a collection that implements IProducerConsumerCollection<T>. Any type that implements that interface can be used as the underlying storage:

When you create a BlockingCollection<T> object, you can specify not only the bounded capacity but also the type of collection to use. For example, you could specify a ConcurrentQueue<T> object for first in, first out (FIFO) behavior, or a ConcurrentStack<T> object for last in,first out (LIFO) behavior. You can use any collection class that implements the IProducerConsumerCollection<T> interface. The default collection type for BlockingCollection<T> is ConcurrentQueue<T>.

This includes ConcurrentBag<T>, which means you can have a blocking concurrent bag. So what's the difference between a plain IProducerConsumerCollection<T> and a blocking collection? The documentation of BlockingCollection says (emphasis mine):

BlockingCollection<T> is used as a wrapper for an IProducerConsumerCollection<T> instance, allowing removal attempts from the collection to block until data is available to be removed. Similarly, a BlockingCollection<T> can be created to enforce an upper-bound on the number of data elements allowed in the IProducerConsumerCollection<T> [...]

Since in the linked question there is no need to do either of these things, using BlockingCollection simply adds a layer of functionality that goes unused.