Sending to channel doesn't happen if select has default

Issue

I am working on a personal project that will run on a Raspberry Pi with some sensors attached to it.

The function that read from the sensors and the function that handle the socket connection are executed in different goroutines, so, in order to send data on the socket when they are read from the sensors, I create a chan []byte in the main function and pass it to the goroutines.

My problem came out here: if I do multiple writes in a row, only the first data arrives to the client, but the others don’t. But if I put a little time.Sleep in the sender function, all the data arrives correctly to the client.

Anyway, that’s a simplified version of this little program :

package main

import (
    "net"
    "os"
    "sync"
    "time"
)

const socketName string = "./test_socket"

// create to the socket and launch the accept client routine
func launchServerUDS(ch chan []byte) {
    if err := os.RemoveAll(socketName); err != nil {
        return
    }
    l, err := net.Listen("unix", socketName)
    if err != nil {
        return
    }
    go acceptConnectionRoutine(l, ch)
}

// accept incoming connection on the socket and
// 1) launch the routine to handle commands from the client
// 2) launch the routine to send data when the server reads from the sensors
func acceptConnectionRoutine(l net.Listener, ch chan []byte) {
    defer l.Close()
    for {
        conn, err := l.Accept()
        if err != nil {
            return
        }
        go commandsHandlerRoutine(conn, ch)
        go autoSendRoutine(conn, ch)

    }
}

// routine that sends data to the client
func autoSendRoutine(c net.Conn, ch chan []byte) {
    for {
        data := <-ch
        if string(data) == "exit" {
            return
        }
        c.Write(data)
    }
}

// handle client connection and calls functions to execute commands
func commandsHandlerRoutine(c net.Conn, ch chan []byte) {
    for {
        buf := make([]byte, 1024)
        n, err := c.Read(buf)
        if err != nil {
            ch <- []byte("exit")
            break
        }
        // now, for sake of simplicity , only echo commands back to the client
        _, err = c.Write(buf[:n])
        if err != nil {
            ch <- []byte("exit")
            break
        }
    }
}

// write on the channel to the autosend routine so the data are written on the socket
func sendDataToClient(data []byte, ch chan []byte) {
    select {
    case ch <- data:
        // if i put a little sleep here, no problems
        // i i remove the sleep, only data1 is sent to the client
        // time.Sleep(1 * time.Millisecond)
    default:
    }
}

func dummyReadDataRoutine(ch chan []byte) {
    for {
        // read data from the sensors every 5 seconds
        time.Sleep(5 * time.Second)
        // read first data and send it
        sendDataToClient([]byte("dummy data1\n"), ch)
        // read second data and send it
        sendDataToClient([]byte("dummy data2\n"), ch)
        // read third data and send it
        sendDataToClient([]byte("dummy data3\n"), ch)
    }
}

func main() {
    ch := make(chan []byte)
    wg := sync.WaitGroup{}
    wg.Add(2)
    go dummyReadDataRoutine(ch)
    go launchServerUDS(ch)
    wg.Wait()
}

I don’t think it’s correct to use a sleep to synchronize writes. How do I fix this while keeping the functions running on a different different goroutines.

Solution

The primary problem was in the function:

func sendDataToClient(data []byte, ch chan []byte) {
    select {
    case ch <- data:
        // if I put a little sleep here, no problems
        // if I remove the sleep, only data1 is sent to the client
        // time.Sleep(1 * time.Millisecond)
    default:
}

If the channel ch isn’t ready at the moment the function is called, the default case will be taken and the data will never be sent. In this case you should eliminate the function and send to the channel directly.

Buffering the channel is orthogonal to the problem at hand, and should be done for the similar reasons as you would buffered IO, i.e. provide a “buffer” for writes that can’t immediately progress. If the code were not able progress without a buffer, adding one only delays possible deadlocks.

You also don’t need the exit sentinel value here, as you could range over the channel and close it when you’re done. This however still ignores write errors, but again that requires some re-design.

for data := range ch {
    c.Write(data)
}

You should also be careful passing slices over channels, as it’s all too easy to lose track of which logical process has ownership and is going to modify the backing array. I can’t say from the information given if passing the read+write data over channels improves the architecture, but this is not a pattern you will find in most go networking code.

Answered By – JimB

Answer Checked By – David Marino (GoLangFix Volunteer)

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