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RE: Node synchronization [was RE: Node identity comparisons on TS list]

From: Arnold, Curt <Curt.Arnold@hyprotech.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 15:21:16 -0600
Message-ID: <B2C1451A181BD411B88A00E018C1C19C08ABE4@THOR>
To: "'www-dom-ts@w3.org'" <www-dom-ts@w3.org>, "'www-dom@w3.org'" <www-dom@w3.org>
>Every time the DOM has looked at the idea of requiring that 
> implementations
> be inherently threadsafe, we seem to come back to the same 
> conclusions.
> This can be a lot of overhead in applications which don't 
> need it, and is
> insufficient in applications which do need it since the 
> conceptual unit is
> often several DOM operations so they'd still have to 
> implement threadsafety
> at the higher level... which would make protecting the DOM itself of
> negligable value.

Definitely agreed.  Basically the same lesson learned on the Vector class,
make the base implementation unsynchonized and allow either the app or
a wrapper to synchronize access.  I wasn't suggesting making the methods

What I was saying that using "synchronized(node)" blocks is a de-facto
method of accomplishing DOM synchronization externally, however that
depends on an potentially unsafe assumption that accessing the same
node returns the same object.  It seems like an "attractive nuisance"
and that needs to have explicit warnings that you ignore at your peril
(which may already be there, sorry I haven't seriously read the DOM specs).
It would seem that if you put any explanatory text on about isSameNode()
then a warning about synchronizing on nodes would probably fit in there

In some ways, it is like some of the other acceptible variations in the
DOM spec, such as whether to expand entities.  If you can determine 
or specify through some other means (such as JAXP), that you consistently
get the same object for a particular node, then you can synchronize on nodes,
otherwise you need to keep a map of nodes and corresponding mutex objects 
(which would require the isSameNode() function to avoid depending on object

>If someone can find a Really Useful Low Cost Portable Solution in this
>space, I'd be delighted. Suprised, but delighted. Until then, you'll have
>to handle threadsafety at the application or implementation-dependent

Maybe one way to enable (and only just enable) synchronization to be done
would be to add a getUserObject() and setUserObject
to Node (similar to those in DefaultMutableTreeNode) 
which would allow the client to
associate one object with the underlying node.

In Java, this could be used to do really "safe" external synchronization with code like:

Object getSynchObject(Node node) {
    Object userObj = node.getUserObject();
    if(userObj == null) {
	userObj = new Object();
    return userObj;

void someMethod(Node node) {
    synchronized(getSynchObject(node)) {
	okay, no other code that was synchronized on the same node could execute

On other languages, you could create your own mutex object and do whatever is
appropriate, maybe:

IMyMutex* SomeClass::getSynchObject(IDOMNode* node) {
	IMyMutex mutex = node->get_userObject();
	if(mutex == NULL) {
		mutex = //  some creation code
	return mutex;

void SomeClass::someMethod(IDOMNode* node) {
	IMyMutex* mutex = getSynchObject(node);
	//   do something

Though, it would be useful for synchronization, it could be used for quite a few
other things.  The only requirement for the DOM is that is that if you use setUserObject()
on a node, then a getUserObject() on the same node should return an object
that has the same object identity.
Received on Friday, 20 April 2001 17:23:34 UTC

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