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From "Eddie O'Neil" <>
Subject Re: page flow destroy, controls, and deadlock
Date Fri, 31 Mar 2006 15:49:14 GMT
  Good questions -- let's see if I can explain the threads more
clearly in ASCII.  :)

  What's happening is this (note, both threads operate on the *same*
instance of a JPF):

Thread 1 (executing a page flow)              Thread2 (destroying a page flow)
acquire lock on FooPage Flow
                                                             acquire BC.gHL
acquire lock on BarControlBean
                                                             wait for
lock on BarControlBean
wait for lock on BC.gHL

Because the Controls infrastructure is based on the BeanContext
(Services|Support|etc) code in the java.beans package of the JDK, it
uses the BeanContextServicesSupport class as a base class for the
ControlBeanContext object in a Control.  This JDK class (BCSS) uses
the BeanContext.globalHierarchyLock (also in the JDK) to serialize
access to shared data structures like the list of "service" objects in
a BeanContext, etc.  This is a lock that is static throughout the JDK

To answer your questions:

> What grabs the lock on BeanContextServicesSupport.globalHierarchyLock?
The base classes for the ControlBeanContext object which delegates up
to it's "super" in order to serialize changes and service requests to
the classes that implement event listener support, etc.

> What prevents deadlock in general between locking on
> BeanContextServicesSupport.globalHierarchyLock and BarControlBean?

Good question -- this seems like the crux of the issue.  In general,
this is protected by a Control container serializing access to the
container's ControlContainerContext object.  In this case, the problem
occurs because two threads are trying to setup and destroy the same
context object simultaneously.  If those setup and destroy calls were
serialized against the ControlContainerContext object stored in the
HttpSession, presumably, the semantics would be maintained.

My guess is that this deadlock occurred with a double page submit or
quick refresh that caught the tail end of the previous thread and the
beginning of the next request such that the threads interleaved in
this way.

So, hopefully that helps explain what's happening.

Ultimately, I'm not sure how to fix this yet and would appreciate
thoughts on the topic.  Would it be safe to acquire a lock on the JPF
instance during onDestroy?  That would serialize the access to the
session scoped CCC object.

Another way to go (and it's a lot of work) is to build a NetUI /
web-tier specific control container that doesn't leverage the *Support
classes in the JDK.  This would allow the container's implementation
to be tailored to the single-threaded nature of the web tier and would
remove a lot of the performance implications around locking and
synchronized data structures.  But, I've not thought through this yet,
either.  :)


On 3/30/06, Rich Feit <> wrote:
> Looks like a tough one.  First of all, the problem with synchronizing in
> onDestroy is also a deadlock issue: since onDestroy is called from an
> HttpSessionBindingListener, the Servlet container may have a lock on the
> session itself when onDestroy is called.  I don't think it's mandated by
> the Servlet spec, but I don't think it's forbidden either.
> Unfortunately, this means that a deadlock can occur if code in another
> thread synchronizes on the page flow instance first (as in an action
> method invocation), then calls a method on HttpSession that synchronizes
> on the session object.  Again, I don't think this is mandated by the
> spec, but it happens.
> Nothing strikes me off the bat, but I actually don't understand the
> deadlock sequence below (I don't disagree -- just don't have enough info
> to see it).  What grabs the lock on
> BeanContextServicesSupport.globalHierarchyLock?  What prevents deadlock
> in general between locking on
> BeanContextServicesSupport.globalHierarchyLock and BarControlBean?
> Also, how is the same JPF being *created* by two separate threads?
> Rich
> Eddie O'Neil wrote:
> > Rich/Daryl--
> >
> >   Hey, I've run into a thread deadlock problem in the interaction
> > between Controls and Page Flow that happens in the following
> > circumstance:
> >
> > thread1: acquire lock on FooPageFlow (during FlowController.execute)
> > thread2: acquire lock on
> > BeanContextServicesSupport.globalHierarchyLock (JDK class)
> > thread1: acquire lock on BarControlBean (ControlBean.ensureControl())
> > thread2: wait for lock on BarControlBean (BeanContextSupport.remove())
> > thread1: wait for lock on
> > BeanContextServicesSupport.globalHierarchyLock (JDK class)
> >
> > So, the problem is that the same JPF is being both created and
> > destroyed by two different threads.  It appears that the "destroy"
> > phase of the JPF lifecycle is entirely unsynchronized and can freely
> > acquire Control locks without having serialized access to the Page
> > Flow itself.
> >
> >   My thought is to add a synchronization point in
> > JavaControlUtils.uninitJavaControls that locks on the
> > PageFlowManagedObject as this would serialize access to the Page Flow.
> >  But, I seem to recall some threading issues with locking on a JPF
> > during the "destroy" part of the lifecycle and don't want to resurrect
> > those.
> >
> >   Any suggestions about how best to make this fix?
> >
> > Eddie
> >
> >

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