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Google Guava Concurrency – ListenableFuture

11.25.2011
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In my last post I covered using the Monitor class from the com.google.common.util.concurrent package in the Guava Library. In this post I am going to continue my coverage of Guava concurrency utilities and discuss the ListenableFuture interface. A ListenableFuture extends the Future interface from the java.util.concurrent package, by adding a method that accepts a completion listener.

ListenableFuture

a ListenableFuture behaves in exactly the same manner as a java.util.concurrent.Future but has the method addCallback(Runnable, ExecutorService) that executes the callback in the given executor. Here is an example:

ListenableFuture futureTask = executorService.submit(callableTask)
futureTask.addListener(new Runnable() {
           @Override
           public void run() {
              ..work after futureTask completed
           }
       }, executorService);

If the submitted task has completed when you add the callback, it will run immediately. Using the addCallback method has a drawback in that the Runnable does not have access to the result produced by the future. For access to the result of the Future you would need to use a FutureCallback.

FutureCallback

A FutureCallback accepts the results produced from the Future and specifies onSuccess and onFailure methods. Here is an example:

class FutureCallbackImpl implements FutureCallback<String> {

       @Override
       public void onSuccess(String result){
            .. work with result
       }

       @Override
       public void onFailure(Throwable t) {
           ... handle exception
       }
   }

A FutureCallback is attached by using the addCallback method in the Futures class:

Futures.addCallback(futureTask, futureCallbackImpl);

At this point you may be asking how do you get an instance of ListenableFuture, when an ExecutorService only returns Futures? The answer is to use the ListenableExecutionService.

ListenableExecutionService

To use a ListenableExecutionService simply decorate an ExecutorService instance with a call to MoreExecutors.listeningDecorator(ExecutorService) for example:

ExecutorsService executorService = MoreExecutors.listeningDecorator(Executors.newCachedThreadPool());

 

Conclusion

With the ability to add a callback, whether a Runnable or the FutureCallback that handles success and failure conditions, the ListenableFuture could be a valuable addition to your arsenal. I have created a unit-test demonstrating using the ListenableFuture available as a gist. In my next post I am going to cover the Futures class, which contains static methods for working with futures.

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