The C++ Timer and TimerTask Classes

The Timer class allows you to schedule some code for once-only or repeated execution after some time interval elapses. The code to be executed resides in a class you derive from TimerTask:

class Timer;
typedef IceUtil::Handle<Timer> TimerPtr;

class TimerTask : public virtual IceUtil::Shared 
    virtual ~TimerTask() { }
    virtual void runTimerTask() = 0;

typedef IceUtil::Handle<TimerTask> TimerTaskPtr;

Your derived class must override the runTimerTask member function; the code in this method is executed by the timer. If the code you want to run requires access to some program state, you can pass that state into the constructor of your class or, alternatively, set that state via member functions of your class before scheduling it with a timer.

The Timer class invokes the runTimerTask member function to run your code. The class has the following definition:

class Timer : /* ... */ 
    Timer(int priority);

    void schedule(const TimerTaskPtr& task, const IceUtil::Time& interval);

    void scheduleRepeated(const TimerTaskPtr& task, const IceUtil::Time& interval);

    bool cancel(const TimerTaskPtr& task);

    void destroy();

typedef IceUtil::Handle<Timer> TimerPtr;

Intervals are specified using Time objects.

The constructor is overloaded to allow you specify a thread priority. The priority controls the priority of the thread that executes your task.

The schedule member function schedules an instance of your timer task for once-only execution after the specified time interval has elapsed. Your code is executed by a separate thread that is created by the Timer class. The function throws an IllegalArgumentException if you invoke it on a destroyed timer.

The scheduleRepeated member function runs your task repeatedly, at the specified time interval. Your code is executed by a separate thread that is created by the Timer class; the same thread is used every time your code runs. The function throws an IllegalArgumentException if you invoke it on a destroyed timer.

If your code throws an exception, the Timer class ignores the exception, that is, for a task that is scheduled to run repeatedly, an exception in the current execution does not cancel the next execution.

If your code takes longer to execute than the time interval you have specified for repeated execution, the second execution is delayed accordingly. For example, if you ask for repeated execution once every five seconds, and your code takes ten seconds to complete, then the second execution of your task starts five seconds after the previous execution finishes, that is, the interval specifies the wait time between successive executions.

A TimerTask instance that has already been scheduled with a Timer instance cannot be scheduled again with the same Timer instance until the task has completed or been canceled.

For a single Timer instance, the execution of all registered tasks is serialized. The wait interval applies on a per-task basis so, if you schedule task A at an interval of five seconds, and task B at an interval of ten seconds, successive runs of task A start no sooner than five seconds after the previous task A has finished, and successive runs of task B start no sooner than ten seconds after the previous task B has finished. If, at the time a task is scheduled to run, another task is still running, the new task's execution is delayed until the previous task has finished.

If you want scheduled tasks to run concurrently, you can create several Timer instances; tasks then execute in as many threads concurrently as there are Timer instances.

The cancel member function removes a task from a timer's schedule. In other words, it stops a task that is scheduled from being executed. If you cancel a task while it is executing, cancel returns immediately and the currently running task is allowed to complete normally; that is, cancel does not wait for any currently running task to complete.

The return value is true if cancel removed the task from the schedule. This is the case if you invoke cancel on a task that is scheduled for repeated execution and this was the first time you cancelled that task; subsequent calls to cancel return false. Calling cancel on a task scheduled for once-only execution always returns false, as does calling cancel on a destroyed timer.

The destroy member function removes all tasks from the timer's schedule. If you call destroy from any thread other than the timer's own execution thread, it joins with the currently executing task (if any), so the function does not return until the current task has completed. If you call destroy from the timer's own execution thread, it instead detaches the timer's execution thread. Calling destroy a second time on the same Timer instance has no effect. Similarly, calling cancel on a destroyed timer has no effect.

Note that you must call destroy on a Timer instance before allowing it to go out of scope; failing to do so causes undefined behavior.

Calls to schedule or scheduleRepeated on a destroyed timer raises an IceUtil::IllegalArgumentException.

See Also