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How to: Implement a Form That Uses a Background Operation

The following example program creates a form that calculates Fibonacci numbers. The calculation runs on a thread that is separate from the user interface thread, so the user interface continues to run without delays as the calculation proceeds.

There is extensive support for this task in Visual Studio.

Walkthrough: Implementing a Form That Uses a Background Operation
Walkthrough: Implementing a Form That Uses a Background Operation
Walkthrough: Implementing a Form That Uses a Background Operation
Walkthrough: Implementing a Form That Uses a Background Operation
Walkthrough: Implementing a Form That Uses a Background Operation

using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Threading;
using System.Windows.Forms;

namespace BackgroundWorkerExample
{	
    public class FibonacciForm : System.Windows.Forms.Form
    {	
        private int numberToCompute = 0;
        private int highestPercentageReached = 0;

        private System.Windows.Forms.NumericUpDown numericUpDown1;
        private System.Windows.Forms.Button startAsyncButton;
        private System.Windows.Forms.Button cancelAsyncButton;
        private System.Windows.Forms.ProgressBar progressBar1;
        private System.Windows.Forms.Label resultLabel;
        private System.ComponentModel.BackgroundWorker backgroundWorker1;

        public FibonacciForm()
        {	
            InitializeComponent();

            InitializeBackgroundWorker();
        }

        // Set up the BackgroundWorker object by  
        // attaching event handlers.  
        private void InitializeBackgroundWorker()
        {
            backgroundWorker1.DoWork += 
                new DoWorkEventHandler(backgroundWorker1_DoWork);
            backgroundWorker1.RunWorkerCompleted += 
                new RunWorkerCompletedEventHandler(
            backgroundWorker1_RunWorkerCompleted);
            backgroundWorker1.ProgressChanged += 
                new ProgressChangedEventHandler(
            backgroundWorker1_ProgressChanged);
        }
	
        private void startAsyncButton_Click(System.Object sender, 
            System.EventArgs e)
        {
            // Reset the text in the result label.
            resultLabel.Text = String.Empty;

            // Disable the UpDown control until  
            // the asynchronous operation is done. 
            this.numericUpDown1.Enabled = false;

            // Disable the Start button until  
            // the asynchronous operation is done. 
            this.startAsyncButton.Enabled = false;

            // Enable the Cancel button while  
            // the asynchronous operation runs. 
            this.cancelAsyncButton.Enabled = true;

            // Get the value from the UpDown control.
            numberToCompute = (int)numericUpDown1.Value;

            // Reset the variable for percentage tracking.
            highestPercentageReached = 0;

            // Start the asynchronous operation.
            backgroundWorker1.RunWorkerAsync(numberToCompute);
        }

        private void cancelAsyncButton_Click(System.Object sender, 
            System.EventArgs e)
        {   
            // Cancel the asynchronous operation. 
            this.backgroundWorker1.CancelAsync();

            // Disable the Cancel button.
            cancelAsyncButton.Enabled = false;
        }

        // This event handler is where the actual, 
        // potentially time-consuming work is done. 
        private void backgroundWorker1_DoWork(object sender, 
            DoWorkEventArgs e)
        {   
            // Get the BackgroundWorker that raised this event.
            BackgroundWorker worker = sender as BackgroundWorker;

            // Assign the result of the computation 
            // to the Result property of the DoWorkEventArgs 
            // object. This is will be available to the  
            // RunWorkerCompleted eventhandler.
            e.Result = ComputeFibonacci((int)e.Argument, worker, e);
        }

        // This event handler deals with the results of the 
        // background operation. 
        private void backgroundWorker1_RunWorkerCompleted(
            object sender, RunWorkerCompletedEventArgs e)
        {
            // First, handle the case where an exception was thrown. 
            if (e.Error != null)
            {
                MessageBox.Show(e.Error.Message);
            }
            else if (e.Cancelled)
            {
                // Next, handle the case where the user canceled  
                // the operation. 
                // Note that due to a race condition in  
                // the DoWork event handler, the Cancelled 
                // flag may not have been set, even though 
                // CancelAsync was called.
                resultLabel.Text = "Canceled";
            }
            else
            {
                // Finally, handle the case where the operation  
                // succeeded.
                resultLabel.Text = e.Result.ToString();
            }

            // Enable the UpDown control. 
            this.numericUpDown1.Enabled = true;

            // Enable the Start button.
            startAsyncButton.Enabled = true;

            // Disable the Cancel button.
            cancelAsyncButton.Enabled = false;
        }

        // This event handler updates the progress bar. 
        private void backgroundWorker1_ProgressChanged(object sender,
            ProgressChangedEventArgs e)
        {
            this.progressBar1.Value = e.ProgressPercentage;
        }

        // This is the method that does the actual work. For this 
        // example, it computes a Fibonacci number and 
        // reports progress as it does its work. 
        long ComputeFibonacci(int n, BackgroundWorker worker, DoWorkEventArgs e)
        {
            // The parameter n must be >= 0 and <= 91. 
            // Fib(n), with n > 91, overflows a long. 
            if ((n < 0) || (n > 91))
            {
                throw new ArgumentException(
                    "value must be >= 0 and <= 91", "n");
            }

            long result = 0;

            // Abort the operation if the user has canceled. 
            // Note that a call to CancelAsync may have set  
            // CancellationPending to true just after the 
            // last invocation of this method exits, so this  
            // code will not have the opportunity to set the  
            // DoWorkEventArgs.Cancel flag to true. This means 
            // that RunWorkerCompletedEventArgs.Cancelled will 
            // not be set to true in your RunWorkerCompleted 
            // event handler. This is a race condition. 

            if (worker.CancellationPending)
            {   
                e.Cancel = true;
            }
            else
            {   
                if (n < 2)
                {   
                    result = 1;
                }
                else
                {   
                    result = ComputeFibonacci(n - 1, worker, e) + 
                             ComputeFibonacci(n - 2, worker, e);
                }

                // Report progress as a percentage of the total task. 
                int percentComplete = 
                    (int)((float)n / (float)numberToCompute * 100);
                if (percentComplete > highestPercentageReached)
                {
                    highestPercentageReached = percentComplete;
                    worker.ReportProgress(percentComplete);
                }
            }

            return result;
        }


		#region Windows Form Designer generated code
		
        private void InitializeComponent()
        {
            this.numericUpDown1 = new System.Windows.Forms.NumericUpDown();
            this.startAsyncButton = new System.Windows.Forms.Button();
            this.cancelAsyncButton = new System.Windows.Forms.Button();
            this.resultLabel = new System.Windows.Forms.Label();
            this.progressBar1 = new System.Windows.Forms.ProgressBar();
            this.backgroundWorker1 = new System.ComponentModel.BackgroundWorker();
            ((System.ComponentModel.ISupportInitialize)(this.numericUpDown1)).BeginInit();
            this.SuspendLayout();
            //  
            // numericUpDown1 
            //  
            this.numericUpDown1.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(16, 16);
            this.numericUpDown1.Maximum = new System.Decimal(new int[] {
            91,
            0,
            0,
            0});
            this.numericUpDown1.Minimum = new System.Decimal(new int[] {
            1,
            0,
            0,
            0});
            this.numericUpDown1.Name = "numericUpDown1";
            this.numericUpDown1.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(80, 20);
            this.numericUpDown1.TabIndex = 0;
            this.numericUpDown1.Value = new System.Decimal(new int[] {
            1,
            0,
            0,
            0});
            //  
            // startAsyncButton 
            //  
            this.startAsyncButton.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(16, 72);
            this.startAsyncButton.Name = "startAsyncButton";
            this.startAsyncButton.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(120, 23);
            this.startAsyncButton.TabIndex = 1;
            this.startAsyncButton.Text = "Start Async";
            this.startAsyncButton.Click += new System.EventHandler(this.startAsyncButton_Click);
            //  
            // cancelAsyncButton 
            //  
            this.cancelAsyncButton.Enabled = false;
            this.cancelAsyncButton.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(153, 72);
            this.cancelAsyncButton.Name = "cancelAsyncButton";
            this.cancelAsyncButton.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(119, 23);
            this.cancelAsyncButton.TabIndex = 2;
            this.cancelAsyncButton.Text = "Cancel Async";
            this.cancelAsyncButton.Click += new System.EventHandler(this.cancelAsyncButton_Click);
            //  
            // resultLabel 
            //  
            this.resultLabel.BorderStyle = System.Windows.Forms.BorderStyle.Fixed3D;
            this.resultLabel.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(112, 16);
            this.resultLabel.Name = "resultLabel";
            this.resultLabel.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(160, 23);
            this.resultLabel.TabIndex = 3;
            this.resultLabel.Text = "(no result)";
            this.resultLabel.TextAlign = System.Drawing.ContentAlignment.MiddleCenter;
            //  
            // progressBar1 
            //  
            this.progressBar1.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(18, 48);
            this.progressBar1.Name = "progressBar1";
            this.progressBar1.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(256, 8);
            this.progressBar1.Step = 2;
            this.progressBar1.TabIndex = 4;
            //  
            // backgroundWorker1 
            //  
            this.backgroundWorker1.WorkerReportsProgress = true;
            this.backgroundWorker1.WorkerSupportsCancellation = true;
            //  
            // FibonacciForm 
            //  
            this.ClientSize = new System.Drawing.Size(292, 118);
            this.Controls.Add(this.progressBar1);
            this.Controls.Add(this.resultLabel);
            this.Controls.Add(this.cancelAsyncButton);
            this.Controls.Add(this.startAsyncButton);
            this.Controls.Add(this.numericUpDown1);
            this.Name = "FibonacciForm";
            this.Text = "Fibonacci Calculator";
            ((System.ComponentModel.ISupportInitialize)(this.numericUpDown1)).EndInit();
            this.ResumeLayout(false);

        }
		#endregion

        [STAThread]
        static void Main()
        {
            Application.Run(new FibonacciForm());
        }
    }
}

Caution note Caution

When using multithreading of any sort, you potentially expose yourself to very serious and complex bugs. Consult the Managed Threading Best Practices before implementing any solution that uses multithreading.

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