Example

This is an example program with two threads, one GUI thread, like in all gtkmm programs, and one worker thread. The worker thread is created when you press the Start work button. It is deleted when the work is finished, when you press the Stop work button, or when you press the Quit button.

A Glib::Dispatcher is used for sending notifications from the worker thread to the GUI thread. The ExampleWorker class contains data which is accessed by both threads. This data is protected by a std::mutex. Only the GUI thread updates the GUI.

Figure 29-1Multi-Threaded Program

Source Code

File: exampleworker.h (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#ifndef GTKMM_EXAMPLEWORKER_H
#define GTKMM_EXAMPLEWORKER_H

#include <gtkmm.h>
#include <thread>
#include <mutex>

class ExampleWindow;

class ExampleWorker
{
public:
  ExampleWorker();

  // Thread function.
  void do_work(ExampleWindow* caller);

  void get_data(double* fraction_done, Glib::ustring* message) const;
  void stop_work();
  bool has_stopped() const;

private:
  // Synchronizes access to member data.
  mutable std::mutex m_Mutex;

  // Data used by both GUI thread and worker thread.
  bool m_shall_stop;
  bool m_has_stopped;
  double m_fraction_done;
  Glib::ustring m_message;
};

#endif // GTKMM_EXAMPLEWORKER_H

File: examplewindow.h (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#ifndef GTKMM_EXAMPLEWINDOW_H
#define GTKMM_EXAMPLEWINDOW_H

#include <gtkmm.h>
#include "exampleworker.h"

class ExampleWindow : public Gtk::Window
{
public:
  ExampleWindow();

  // Called from the worker thread.
  void notify();

private:
  // Signal handlers.
  void on_start_button_clicked();
  void on_stop_button_clicked();
  void on_quit_button_clicked();

  void update_start_stop_buttons();
  void update_widgets();

  // Dispatcher handler.
  void on_notification_from_worker_thread();

  // Member data.
  Gtk::Box m_VBox;
  Gtk::ButtonBox m_ButtonBox;
  Gtk::Button m_ButtonStart;
  Gtk::Button m_ButtonStop;
  Gtk::Button m_ButtonQuit;
  Gtk::ProgressBar m_ProgressBar;
  Gtk::ScrolledWindow m_ScrolledWindow;
  Gtk::TextView m_TextView;

  Glib::Dispatcher m_Dispatcher;
  ExampleWorker m_Worker;
  std::thread* m_WorkerThread;
};

#endif // GTKMM_EXAMPLEWINDOW_H

File: main.cc (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#include "examplewindow.h"
#include <gtkmm/application.h>

int main (int argc, char* argv[])
{
  auto app = Gtk::Application::create(argc, argv, "org.gtkmm.example");

  ExampleWindow window;

  //Shows the window and returns when it is closed.
  return app->run(window);
}

File: exampleworker.cc (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#include "exampleworker.h"
#include "examplewindow.h"
#include <sstream>
#include <chrono>

ExampleWorker::ExampleWorker() :
  m_Mutex(),
  m_shall_stop(false),
  m_has_stopped(false),
  m_fraction_done(0.0),
  m_message()
{
}

// Accesses to these data are synchronized by a mutex.
// Some microseconds can be saved by getting all data at once, instead of having
// separate get_fraction_done() and get_message() methods.
void ExampleWorker::get_data(double* fraction_done, Glib::ustring* message) const
{
  std::lock_guard<std::mutex> lock(m_Mutex);

  if (fraction_done)
    *fraction_done = m_fraction_done;

  if (message)
    *message = m_message;
}

void ExampleWorker::stop_work()
{
  std::lock_guard<std::mutex> lock(m_Mutex);
  m_shall_stop = true;
}

bool ExampleWorker::has_stopped() const
{
  std::lock_guard<std::mutex> lock(m_Mutex);
  return m_has_stopped;
}

void ExampleWorker::do_work(ExampleWindow* caller)
{
  {
    std::lock_guard<std::mutex> lock(m_Mutex);
    m_has_stopped = false;
    m_fraction_done = 0.0;
    m_message = "";
  } // The mutex is unlocked here by lock's destructor.

  // Simulate a long calculation.
  for (int i = 0; ; ++i) // do until break
  {
    std::this_thread::sleep_for(std::chrono::milliseconds(250));

    {
      std::lock_guard<std::mutex> lock(m_Mutex);

      m_fraction_done += 0.01;

      if (i % 4 == 3)
      {
        std::ostringstream ostr;
        ostr << (m_fraction_done * 100.0) << "% done\n";
        m_message += ostr.str();
      }

      if (m_fraction_done >= 1.0)
      {
        m_message += "Finished";
        break;
      }
      if (m_shall_stop)
      {
        m_message += "Stopped";
        break;
      }
    }

    caller->notify();
  }

  {
    std::lock_guard<std::mutex> lock(m_Mutex);
    m_shall_stop = false;
    m_has_stopped = true;
  }

  caller->notify();
}

File: examplewindow.cc (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#include "examplewindow.h"
#include <iostream>

ExampleWindow::ExampleWindow() :
  m_VBox(Gtk::ORIENTATION_VERTICAL, 5),
  m_ButtonBox(Gtk::ORIENTATION_HORIZONTAL),
  m_ButtonStart("Start work"),
  m_ButtonStop("Stop work"),
  m_ButtonQuit("_Quit", /* mnemonic= */ true),
  m_ProgressBar(),
  m_ScrolledWindow(),
  m_TextView(),
  m_Dispatcher(),
  m_Worker(),
  m_WorkerThread(nullptr)
{
  set_title("Multi-threaded example");
  set_border_width(5);
  set_default_size(300, 300);

  add(m_VBox);

  // Add the ProgressBar.
  m_VBox.pack_start(m_ProgressBar, Gtk::PACK_SHRINK);

  m_ProgressBar.set_text("Fraction done");
  m_ProgressBar.set_show_text();

  // Add the TextView, inside a ScrolledWindow.
  m_ScrolledWindow.add(m_TextView);

  // Only show the scrollbars when they are necessary.
  m_ScrolledWindow.set_policy(Gtk::POLICY_AUTOMATIC, Gtk::POLICY_AUTOMATIC);

  m_VBox.pack_start(m_ScrolledWindow);

  m_TextView.set_editable(false);

  // Add the buttons to the ButtonBox.
  m_VBox.pack_start(m_ButtonBox, Gtk::PACK_SHRINK);

  m_ButtonBox.pack_start(m_ButtonStart, Gtk::PACK_SHRINK);
  m_ButtonBox.pack_start(m_ButtonStop, Gtk::PACK_SHRINK);
  m_ButtonBox.pack_start(m_ButtonQuit, Gtk::PACK_SHRINK);
  m_ButtonBox.set_border_width(5);
  m_ButtonBox.set_spacing(5);
  m_ButtonBox.set_layout(Gtk::BUTTONBOX_END);

  // Connect the signal handlers to the buttons.
  m_ButtonStart.signal_clicked().connect(sigc::mem_fun(*this, &ExampleWindow::on_start_button_clicked));
  m_ButtonStop.signal_clicked().connect(sigc::mem_fun(*this, &ExampleWindow::on_stop_button_clicked));
  m_ButtonQuit.signal_clicked().connect(sigc::mem_fun(*this, &ExampleWindow::on_quit_button_clicked));

  // Connect the handler to the dispatcher.
  m_Dispatcher.connect(sigc::mem_fun(*this, &ExampleWindow::on_notification_from_worker_thread));

  // Create a text buffer mark for use in update_widgets().
  auto buffer = m_TextView.get_buffer();
  buffer->create_mark("last_line", buffer->end(), /* left_gravity= */ true);

  update_start_stop_buttons();

  show_all_children();
}

void ExampleWindow::on_start_button_clicked()
{
  if (m_WorkerThread)
  {
    std::cout << "Can't start a worker thread while another one is running." << std::endl;
  }
  else
  {
    // Start a new worker thread.
    m_WorkerThread = new std::thread(
      [this]
      {
        m_Worker.do_work(this);
      });
  }
  update_start_stop_buttons();
}

void ExampleWindow::on_stop_button_clicked()
{
  if (!m_WorkerThread)
  {
    std::cout << "Can't stop a worker thread. None is running." << std::endl;
  }
  else
  {
   // Order the worker thread to stop.
    m_Worker.stop_work();
    m_ButtonStop.set_sensitive(false);
  }
}

void ExampleWindow::update_start_stop_buttons()
{
  const bool thread_is_running = m_WorkerThread != nullptr;

  m_ButtonStart.set_sensitive(!thread_is_running);
  m_ButtonStop.set_sensitive(thread_is_running);
}

void ExampleWindow::update_widgets()
{
  double fraction_done;
  Glib::ustring message_from_worker_thread;
  m_Worker.get_data(&fraction_done, &message_from_worker_thread);

  m_ProgressBar.set_fraction(fraction_done);

  if (message_from_worker_thread != m_TextView.get_buffer()->get_text())
  {
    auto buffer = m_TextView.get_buffer();
    buffer->set_text(message_from_worker_thread);

    // Scroll the last inserted line into view. That's somewhat complicated.
    Gtk::TextIter iter = buffer->end();
    iter.set_line_offset(0); // Beginning of last line
    auto mark = buffer->get_mark("last_line");
    buffer->move_mark(mark, iter);
    m_TextView.scroll_to(mark);
    // TextView::scroll_to(iter) is not perfect.
    // We do need a TextMark to always get the last line into view.
  }
}

void ExampleWindow::on_quit_button_clicked()
{
  if (m_WorkerThread)
  {
    // Order the worker thread to stop and wait for it to stop.
    m_Worker.stop_work();
    if (m_WorkerThread->joinable())
      m_WorkerThread->join();
  }
  hide();
}

// notify() is called from ExampleWorker::do_work(). It is executed in the worker
// thread. It triggers a call to on_notification_from_worker_thread(), which is
// executed in the GUI thread.
void ExampleWindow::notify()
{
  m_Dispatcher.emit();
}

void ExampleWindow::on_notification_from_worker_thread()
{
  if (m_WorkerThread && m_Worker.has_stopped())
  {
    // Work is done.
    if (m_WorkerThread->joinable())
      m_WorkerThread->join();
    delete m_WorkerThread;
    m_WorkerThread = nullptr;
    update_start_stop_buttons();
  }
  update_widgets();
}