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A common class for executing tasks with a responsive UI

, 24 Jan 2009 CPOL
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Execute actions while making the form wait and still be responsive to other tasks.



This is a common way to implement the standard WinForms behavior of executing a potentially long running action while still having the UI be responsive and allowing the user to know that something is happening via the UI. This can be used with standard WinForms, WPF, or an MVP style application which is how I use it.


Some of the other options which I felt weren't as easy as this to use:

Using the code

Download the source and hit F5 - three examples are given:

  • The standard behavior where the UI locks while executing.
  • The new behavior where the UI is not locked and the user can tell the form is busy.
  • What happens in the new behavior when an exception is thrown.

In order to use this, the form or view in question must implement the interface IThreadedExecuterView, in either the form itself or in a base form:

public partial class Form1 : Form, IThreadedExecuterView

#region IThreadedExecuterView Members
public void SetWait(bool isEnabled)
     this.Cursor = (isEnabled ? Cursors.Default : Cursors.WaitCursor);
     button1.Enabled = button2.Enabled = isEnabled;

public void HandleException(Exception ex)
     MessageBox.Show("This is your standard error " + 
                     "handling call here for " + ex.Message);

Below is an example of it in use - there is no need to worry about the UI thread, creating delegates, or doing anything special for exceptions other than handling them in one place.

using (ThreadedExecuter<BusinessObject> executer = 
         new ThreadedExecuter<BusinessObject>(this))
          .Process(() =>
               return GetData(); //executes in background worker
          .WhenFinished(businessObject =>
               UseData(businessObject); //executes on UI thread

It works for value types or reference types. Here is a Unit Test demonstrating its usage:

public void TestThreadedExecuterNormalBehavior()
     int result = 0;
     bool didComplete = false;
     AutoResetEvent waiter = new AutoResetEvent(false);
     IThreadedExecuterView view = 
     using (ThreadedExecuter<int> worker = new ThreadedExecuter<int>(view))
                    return 42;
               .WhenFinished(workerResult => 
                    result = workerResult;
                    didComplete = true;

     waiter.WaitOne(2000, false);
     Assert.AreEqual(42, result);


  • 24-Jan-2009 - Initial version.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Paul B.

United States United States
I've been a software developer since 1996 and have enjoyed C# since 2003. I have a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and for some reason, a Master's degree in Business Administration. I currently do software development contracting/consulting.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralThanx, Pin
john_max5-Dec-09 10:44
memberjohn_max5-Dec-09 10:44 
GeneralHi paul Thanks Pin
Danie de Kock27-Jul-09 22:47
memberDanie de Kock27-Jul-09 22:47 
GeneralNice mechanism Pin
colonel72023-Jun-09 11:54
membercolonel72023-Jun-09 11:54 
GeneralRe: Nice mechanism Pin
Paul B.23-Jun-09 12:10
memberPaul B.23-Jun-09 12:10 
Questionvoid as a return type? Pin
uffejz22-Apr-09 23:23
memberuffejz22-Apr-09 23:23 
AnswerRe: void as a return type? [modified] Pin
Danie de Kock27-Jul-09 22:46
memberDanie de Kock27-Jul-09 22:46 
GeneralRe: void as a return type? Pin
uffejz28-Jul-09 0:04
memberuffejz28-Jul-09 0:04 
GeneralRe: void as a return type? Pin
Danie de Kock28-Jul-09 0:29
memberDanie de Kock28-Jul-09 0:29 
GeneralRe: void as a return type? Sorry Pin
Danie de Kock28-Jul-09 0:33
memberDanie de Kock28-Jul-09 0:33 
GeneralRe: void as a return type? Sorry Pin
uffejz28-Jul-09 0:40
memberuffejz28-Jul-09 0:40 
GeneralRe: void as a return type? Sorry Pin
Danie de Kock28-Jul-09 0:46
memberDanie de Kock28-Jul-09 0:46 
GeneralRe: void as a return type? Sorry Pin
uffejz28-Jul-09 0:54
memberuffejz28-Jul-09 0:54 
GeneralRe: void as a return type? Pin
uffejz28-Jul-09 0:51
memberuffejz28-Jul-09 0:51 
AnswerThank you Pin
Danie de Kock28-Jul-09 0:53
memberDanie de Kock28-Jul-09 0:53 
GeneralRe: Thank you Pin
uffejz28-Jul-09 3:30
memberuffejz28-Jul-09 3:30 
GeneralRe: Thank you Pin
Danie de Kock28-Jul-09 4:43
memberDanie de Kock28-Jul-09 4:43 
GeneralRe: Thank you Pin
uffejz28-Jul-09 5:11
memberuffejz28-Jul-09 5:11 
GeneralRe: Thank you Pin
Danie de Kock28-Jul-09 5:35
memberDanie de Kock28-Jul-09 5:35 
GeneralRe: Thank you Pin
uffejz28-Jul-09 13:17
memberuffejz28-Jul-09 13:17 
GeneralRe: Thank you Pin
Danie de Kock28-Jul-09 21:27
memberDanie de Kock28-Jul-09 21:27 
Generalgood class Pin
Donsw19-Feb-09 15:52
memberDonsw19-Feb-09 15:52 
GeneralKill thread Pin
mgrounds11-Feb-09 5:35
membermgrounds11-Feb-09 5:35 
GeneralRe: Kill thread Pin
mgrounds12-Feb-09 0:07
membermgrounds12-Feb-09 0:07 
GeneralRe: Kill thread Pin
mgrounds12-Feb-09 6:54
membermgrounds12-Feb-09 6:54 
GeneralRe: Kill thread Pin
Paul B.14-Feb-09 4:10
memberPaul B.14-Feb-09 4:10 
GeneralRe: Kill thread Pin
mgrounds16-Feb-09 0:47
membermgrounds16-Feb-09 0:47 
GeneralRe: Kill thread Pin
Paul B.16-Feb-09 5:39
memberPaul B.16-Feb-09 5:39 
GeneralRe: Kill thread Pin
uffejz22-Apr-09 23:35
memberuffejz22-Apr-09 23:35 
GeneralRe: Kill thread Pin
Danie de Kock29-Jul-09 0:06
memberDanie de Kock29-Jul-09 0:06 
GeneralRe: Kill thread Pin
Danie de Kock29-Jul-09 0:24
memberDanie de Kock29-Jul-09 0:24 
GeneralUnit Test Code Fails Pin
Henrik Jonsson27-Jan-09 10:06
memberHenrik Jonsson27-Jan-09 10:06 
GeneralRe: Unit Test Code Fails Pin
Paul B.27-Jan-09 16:31
memberPaul B.27-Jan-09 16:31 
GeneralRe: Unit Test Code Fails Pin
Henrik Jonsson28-Jan-09 9:26
memberHenrik Jonsson28-Jan-09 9:26 
GeneralMVP usage Pin
Paul B.26-Jan-09 5:23
memberPaul B.26-Jan-09 5:23 
GeneralMy vote of 2 Pin
ProJester125-Jan-09 9:03
memberProJester125-Jan-09 9:03 
GeneralRe: My vote of 2 Pin
Paul B.25-Jan-09 12:57
memberPaul B.25-Jan-09 12:57 
GeneralRe: My vote of 2 Pin
Paul B.25-Jan-09 13:00
memberPaul B.25-Jan-09 13:00 
GeneralRe: My vote of 2 Pin
Jon_Boy20-May-09 10:39
memberJon_Boy20-May-09 10:39 
GeneralMVP Pin
uffejz25-Jan-09 4:04
memberuffejz25-Jan-09 4:04 
GeneralRe: MVP Pin
Paul B.25-Jan-09 5:08
memberPaul B.25-Jan-09 5:08 
GeneralRe: MVP Pin
uffejz25-Jan-09 7:41
memberuffejz25-Jan-09 7:41 
GeneralRe: MVP Pin
Paul B.25-Jan-09 13:04
memberPaul B.25-Jan-09 13:04 
GeneralRe: MVP Pin
uffejz26-Jan-09 2:20
memberuffejz26-Jan-09 2:20 
GeneralRe: MVP Pin
uffejz29-Jan-09 5:21
memberuffejz29-Jan-09 5:21 
GeneralRe: MVP Pin
uffejz19-Feb-09 1:41
memberuffejz19-Feb-09 1:41 
GeneralRe: MVP Pin
Paul B.19-Feb-09 15:08
memberPaul B.19-Feb-09 15:08 
GeneralRe: MVP Pin
uffejz23-Feb-09 22:52
memberuffejz23-Feb-09 22:52 
GeneralRe: MVP Pin
Paul B.12-Mar-09 17:26
memberPaul B.12-Mar-09 17:26 
RemoteObjects.ServerMotors need to be a list, not separate variables so you can iterate through them instead of referencing them one at a time

UI_Position doesn't belong in ServeroMotor.cs - separate the UI from the servo concept

I think you've made this too complicated.

Start simple with a unit test and decide how the object model should work, independent from UI. For example, the servos will be raising events to a controller.

The controller can reraise the events on a buffered schedule which is variable. You set that buffer based on what you want for the UI, i.e. every 100 events or no more than every x milliseconds, with the last received servo event per servo and the view then displays that info based on those buffered events.

The below is what you should get working first in a threaded manner, without worrying about the UI. Once that is working then it should be pretty simple to just hook the UI into the buffered events using the presenter to listen to these.

namespace ExampleDesign
public class Test
public void RunTest()
List<ServoMotor> motors = new List<ServoMotor>();
motors.Add(new ServoMotor("Motor1"));
motors.Add(new ServoMotor("Motor2"));
motors.Add(new ServoMotor("Motor3"));

//your presenter could use this controller to listen and send data to the UI on the buffered update
ServoMotorController controller = new ServoMotorController(motors, 25);
controller.BufferedUpdated += delegate()
foreach (ServoMotor motor in motors)
Console.WriteLine(motor.Name + ": " + motor.Property1);

HardwareSimulator simulator = new HardwareSimulator(motors, 100, 10);

public class ServoMotorController
public ServoMotorController(IEnumerable<ServoMotor> motors, int bufferCount)
foreach(ServoMotor motor in motors)
motor.HardwareUpdated += new ServoMotor.HardwareUpdatedDelegate(motor_HardwareUpdated);

this.bufferCount = bufferCount;

int bufferCount = 0;
int events = 0;

public delegate void BufferedUpdatedDelegate();
public event BufferedUpdatedDelegate BufferedUpdated;

void motor_HardwareUpdated()

//only raise every bufferCount events
if (events % bufferCount == 0)

public class ServoMotor
public ServoMotor(string name)
this.Name = name;

private string _Name;

public string Name
get { return _Name; }
set { _Name = value; }

private int _Property1;
public int Property1
get { return _Property1; }
set { _Property1 = value; }

public delegate void HardwareUpdatedDelegate();
public event HardwareUpdatedDelegate HardwareUpdated;

public void Update(object someData) //not object, something else with whatever data
Property1 = new Random().Next();

if(HardwareUpdated != null)

public class HardwareSimulator
public HardwareSimulator(IEnumerable<ServoMotor> motors, int eventCount, int delayMilliseconds)
this.motors = motors;
this.eventCount = eventCount;
this.delayMilliseconds = delayMilliseconds;

IEnumerable<ServoMotor> motors = null;
int eventCount;
int delayMilliseconds;

public void Run()
for (int i = 0; i < eventCount; i++)
foreach (ServoMotor motor in motors)
motor.Update("Some stuff");

GeneralRe: MVP [modified] Pin
uffejz15-Mar-09 2:44
memberuffejz15-Mar-09 2:44 
GeneralRe: MVP Pin
Paul B.15-Mar-09 4:47
memberPaul B.15-Mar-09 4:47 

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