Managing timing in Python calls

Ross nospam at forMe.thks
Wed Dec 17 17:35:13 CET 2008

Interesting stuff - I hadn't come across the 'with' syntax before, so 
I've learned something already.

I was briefly excited to learn about the callLater command which is just 
a convenience class for the wxTimer class.   It seems to be pretty much 
a parallel of the
var t = window.setTimeout( function () { do_when_timed_out}

sort of thing in AJAX.

However, as is well grumbled on the 'net, you can't use wxTimer from a 
non-main thread.   So that dropped off my plate.

But getting my head around my AJAX problem versus my python 
implementation, I realized my use of those javascript structures were 
really just used because javascript doesn't allow any threading at all.

With Python, just having my other processing path in a thread is enough, 
and I can use the brutish time.sleep() function, without worrying about 
blocking the processing of my mainline (UI) thread.  So I'm able to proceed.

I do want to know more about the 'with' command tho' so I'll look into that.

Thx again.


cmdrrickhunter at wrote:
> I believe WxTimerEvent is handled using the event queue, which isn't
> going to do what you want.  An event which goes through the queue does
> not get processed until you return to the queue.
> What you want to do is actually a rather difficult task to do
> generically.  Should the task be interrupted immediately?  Or is a
> tiny latency acceptable?  Should the function being terminated get to
> handle its own termination?  Or should the termination be forced on
> it.  What sort of overhead is acceptable for this "set_timeout"
> behavior?
> I would not be surprised if there isn't a built in solution, because
> its so hard, but rather built in tools which can be used to do it.
> If your timeouts are on the order of seconds, you might be able to
> just check time.time() at the begining, and compare it to the current
> time later in the function.  This could be on the main thread or on a
> worker thread.
> If you need better handling, you may want to look at how condition
> variables and such work.
> Finally, thread has a function to send a Keyboard Interrupt to the
> main thread.  I believe you could do your work on the main thread, and
> catch the interrupt.
> "Background" tasks are not easy to implement in any language (other
> than perhaps AJAX ;-) ).
> Remember, Python does not support truly simultaneous threads.  It
> actually does timeslices of about 100 operations.  Any solution you
> choose should work given this information.
> And as for a "nicer" construct, I personally just learned of how to
> handle the "with" command.  I could see something like
> class Timeout:
>     def __init__(self, t):
>         self.t = t
>     def __enter__(self):
>         self.start = time.time()
>     def __exit__(self, x, y, z):
>         return None
>     def __nonzero__(self):
>         return time.time() - self.start <= self.t
> def doSomethingLong(timeout = True): # true guarentees bailout never
> occurs
>    while timeout:
>        doAnIteration()
> with Timeout(3) as t:
>     doSomethingLong(t)
> and have your Timeout class have a flag which it sets when
> doSomethingLong needs to bail out, using whatever method is "best" for
> your particular application.  This is, of course pseudocode - I've not
> run it through python msyself.  Hopefully any errors are obvious
> enough that you can work around them.

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