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Unleashing anonymous pipes – Part 1

, 19 Aug 2003
Using anonymous pipes for interprocess communication
// This is an example which shows how the writer thread 
// and a reader thread, within the same process interacts
// with each other. There is a synchronization between two
// threads i.e. when writer thread writes, the reader thread
// will sleep and vice-versa.
// The code has been developed and tested on WIN-98.
// Code by Dinesh Ahuja, Aug 09, 2003.

#include <windows.h>
#include <assert.h>
#include <stdio.h>

// specifies the Buffer size for the pipe.

// Structure which encapsulates the data to be transferred from the 
// writer thread to the reader thread.
struct ThreadData {
	HANDLE hWrThread;
	HANDLE hRdPipe;

// Reader thread function.
void ThreadFunc(LPVOID lpVoid) {
	HANDLE hReadPipe = ((ThreadData*)lpVoid)->hRdPipe;
	HANDLE hWrThread = ((ThreadData*)lpVoid)->hWrThread;

	// Reading data from pipe.
	for(int i=0;i<50;i++) {
		char ReadBuff[50] = {'\0'};
		BOOL bRet = FALSE;
		DWORD dwRead;

		if((i>=0) && (i<=9)) {
			bRet = ReadFile(hReadPipe,&ReadBuff,18,&dwRead,NULL);
		else {
			bRet = ReadFile(hReadPipe,&ReadBuff,19,&dwRead,NULL);

		if(bRet == FALSE) {
			assert(bRet != FALSE);

		printf("Thread has Read :%s",ReadBuff);
		if( (dwRead == 18) || (dwRead == 19)) {
			// This acts as a toggle between the reader thread and a 
			// writer thread.


int main() {

	HANDLE	hReadPipe = NULL;		// Handle to a read end of a pipe.
	HANDLE	hWritePipe = NULL;		// Handle to a write end of a pipe.
	HANDLE  hRdThread = NULL;		// Handle to a reader thread.
	BOOL    bReturn = FALSE;		
	DWORD   dwThreadID;				// Thread ID.
	HANDLE  hWrThread = NULL;		// Handle to a writer thread.
	HANDLE  hWrDupl = NULL;			// Duplicate handle to a writer
									// thread.

	ThreadData thdData;				// Data to be sent to Reader thread.

	// Creates an unnamed pipe.
	bReturn = CreatePipe(&hReadPipe,&hWritePipe,NULL,PIPE_BUFFERLENGTH);
	if (bReturn != FALSE) {
		// Storing a handle to a read end of a pipe into the
		// ThreadData's data member.
		thdData.hRdPipe = hReadPipe;
		/* The main thread is a writer thread, so we are retrieving
        ** the Pseudo handle for the current thread.
		hWrThread = GetCurrentThread();

		/* The handle returned by the GetCurrentThread can't be 
		** used by anyother thread. A thread can create a compatible
		** handle to itself, which can be used by other threads, by 
		** calling DuplicateHandle with the Pseudo handle as an 
		** argument.
		bReturn = DuplicateHandle(GetCurrentProcess(),hWrThread,GetCurrentProcess(),&hWrDupl,NULL,FALSE,DUPLICATE_SAME_ACCESS);

		// Storing a handle to a write thread into the ThreadData's
		// data member.
		thdData.hWrThread = hWrDupl;

		if (bReturn != FALSE) {

			// Creates a reader thread, which act as a pipe client and
			// passing the ThreadData structure to the reader thread.
			hRdThread = CreateThread(NULL,0,(LPTHREAD_START_ROUTINE)ThreadFunc,(LPVOID)&thdData,CREATE_SUSPENDED,&dwThreadID);
			// Writing data on the pipe.
			for(int i=0;i<50;i++) {
				char Buff[50] = {'\0'};
				int len;
				DWORD dwWrite;		// Actual data written to the pipe.
				BOOL bRet = FALSE;
				len = wsprintf(Buff,"This is line no:%i\n",i);
				bRet = WriteFile(hWritePipe,Buff,len,&dwWrite,NULL);
				assert(bRet != NULL);

				/* The size of the data which could be written on the
				** pipe can be of 18 or 19 bytes.
				if( (dwWrite == 18) || (dwWrite == 19)) {
					// These two functions acts as a toggle between the
					// the reader and a writer thread.

		// Wait for reader thread to finish its work and exit itself.
	else {
		assert(bReturn != FALSE);

	return 0;


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About the Author

Dinesh Ahuja

India India
No Biography provided

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