On Writing Loops in Continuation-passing Style, Part 4 -- Raymond Chen

RaymondChen_5in-150x150.jpgIn this article, we delve into the equivalent helper functions for C# and JavaScript, which are simpler due to the inherent behavior of references in these languages, eliminating the need for explicit shared pointer conversions. 

On Writing Loops in Continuation-passing Style, Part 4

By Raymond Chen

From the article:

So far, we’ve been look at writing loops in PPL and continuation-passing style, and a lot of the complications came from creating shared_ptrs to manage shared state without copying, and trying to reduce the number of such pointers we had to make. The equivalent helper functions in C# and JavaScript are simpler because in those languages, references act like shared_ptr already; there’s no need to convert them into shared pointers explicitly.

class TaskHelpers
    public static Task DoWhileTask(Func<Task<bool>> callable)
        return callable().ContinueWith(t =>
            t.Result ? DoWhileTask(callable)
                     : Task.CompletedTask).Unwrap();

The C# Task Parallel Library’s ContinueWith method is the equivalent to the PPL then() method: You give it a Func<Task<T>, Result> which is called with the preceding task. In our case, we are given a Task<bool>: We check the result, and if it is true, then we recurse back and do the whole thing again.

The gotcha is that ContinueWith returns a task whose result type matches the return value of the Func you passed in. In our case, that Func returns a Task, so the return value of ContinueWith is a rather confusing Task<Task>. You need to follow up with the Unwrap() method to unwrap one layer and get a Task back. (More generally, the Unwrap method converts a Task<Task<T>> to a Task<T>.)

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