Multiple user problem -- C# MapScript Web Application (Is mapserver thread safe?)

Tamas Szekeres szekerest at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 8 10:14:03 EDT 2006


As digging into the problem increasingly i am getting more and more
disappointed. By now i am not sure whether mapscript is safe for
multithreading at all (even if thread support is switched on).
For example the most essential gd library uses a number of static
variables without using any protection when accessing them. The proj
library also has a number of static variables an we have protection
only against pj_init in the mapserver code. For example i am
considering pj_transform is unsafe  as well (as using static pj_errno
for example).

The problems existing in the libraries cause the same issues as if
they were in the mapserver code directly. Each of the dll is loaded
into the process "globally" so any static variable becomes processwide
global variable.
Has anyone reviewed the libraries with this regard?

I have collected the potential problems of the two libraries mentioned
before. Some of the variables might be const static not causing such
problems, apologies for those.

In the gd library:

gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(12):static int verbose_set = 0;
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(13):static int verbose;
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(68):} Gif89 = { -1, -1, -1, 0 };
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(244):       static unsigned char     buf[256];
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(308):       static unsigned char    buf[280];
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(309):       static int              curbit,
lastbit, done, last_byte;
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(360):       static int      fresh = FALSE;
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(362):       static int      code_size, set_code_size;
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(363):       static int      max_code, max_code_size;
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(364):       static int      firstcode, oldcode;
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(365):       static int      clear_code, end_code;
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(366):       static int      table[2][(1<< MAX_LWZ_BITS)];
gd-2.0.33\gd_gif_in.c(367):       static int      stack[STACK_SIZE], *sp;
gd-2.0.33\gd_png.c(50):static jmpbuf_wrapper gdPngJmpbufStruct;
gd-2.0.33\gdft.c(31):static int fontConfigFlag = 0;
gd-2.0.33\gdft.c(777):static gdCache_head_t *fontCache;
gd-2.0.33\gdft.c(778):static FT_Library library;
gd-2.0.33\gdkanji.c(120):  static int whatcode = ASCII;
gd-2.0.33\gdkanji.c(499):  static unsigned char tmp[BUFSIZ];
gd-2.0.33\gdkanji.c(595):  static unsigned char tmp_dest[BUFSIZ];

In the proj library:

proj-4.4.9\src\biveval.c(7):	static projUV
proj-4.4.9\src\cs2cs.c(69):static projPJ   fromProj, toProj;
proj-4.4.9\src\cs2cs.c(71):static int
proj-4.4.9\src\cs2cs.c(76):	static char
proj-4.4.9\src\cs2cs.c(83):static struct FACTORS facs;
proj-4.4.9\src\cs2cs.c(84):static double (*informat)(const char *,
proj-4.4.9\src\geod.c(15):	static int
proj-4.4.9\src\geod.c(20):	static char
proj-4.4.9\src\geod.c(129):static char *pargv[MAX_PARGS];
proj-4.4.9\src\geod.c(130):static int   pargc = 0;
proj-4.4.9\src\geod.c(135):	static int eargc = 0, c;
proj-4.4.9\src\geod_for.c(7):	static double
proj-4.4.9\src\geod_for.c(9):	static int
proj-4.4.9\src\nad2nad.c(16):	static int
proj-4.4.9\src\nad2nad.c(19):	static char
proj-4.4.9\src\nad2nad.c(54):} input = {
proj-4.4.9\src\nad2nad.c(58):}, output = {
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_apply_gridshift.c(79):    static int debug_count = 0;
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_gridinfo.c(66):static int  byte_order_test = 1;
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_gridlist.c(50):static PJ_GRIDINFO *grid_list = NULL;
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_gridlist.c(54):static int           last_nadgrids_max = 0;
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_gridlist.c(55):static int           last_nadgrids_count = 0;
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_gridlist.c(56):static PJ_GRIDINFO **last_nadgrids_list = NULL;
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_gridlist.c(57):static char         *last_nadgrids = NULL;
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_init.c(71):static paralist *start;
proj-4.4.9\src\PJ_mod_ster.c(102):	static COMPLEX /* Miller Oblated
Stereographic */
proj-4.4.9\src\PJ_mod_ster.c(116):	static COMPLEX /* Lee Oblated
Stereographic */
proj-4.4.9\src\PJ_mod_ster.c(130):	static COMPLEX /* 48 United States */
proj-4.4.9\src\PJ_mod_ster.c(147):	static COMPLEX
proj-4.4.9\src\PJ_mod_ster.c(177):	static COMPLEX
proj-4.4.9\src\PJ_nzmg.c(48):	static COMPLEX
proj-4.4.9\src\PJ_nzmg.c(56):	static double
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_open_lib.c(51):static int path_count = 0;
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_open_lib.c(52):static char **search_path = NULL;
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_open_lib.c(53):static char * proj_lib_name =
proj-4.4.9\src\PJ_robin.c(10):static struct COEFS {
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_strerrno.c(61):    static char note[50];
proj-4.4.9\src\proj.c(26):	static PJ
proj-4.4.9\src\proj.c(28):	static projUV
proj-4.4.9\src\proj.c(30):	static int
proj-4.4.9\src\proj.c(43):	static char
proj-4.4.9\src\proj.c(49):	static struct FACTORS
proj-4.4.9\src\proj.c(51):	static double
proj-4.4.9\src\rtodms.c(13):	static double
proj-4.4.9\src\rtodms.c(17):	static char
proj-4.4.9\src\rtodms.c(19):	static int
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_datums.c(73):C_NAMESPACE struct PJ_DATUMS pj_datums[] = {
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_datums.c(98):C_NAMESPACE struct PJ_PRIME_MERIDIANS
pj_prime_meridians[] = {
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_ellps.c(8):C_NAMESPACE struct PJ_ELLPS
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_errno.c(8):C_NAMESPACE int pj_errno = 0;
proj-4.4.9\src\PJ_goode.c(10):	C_NAMESPACE PJ
proj-4.4.9\src\pj_units.c(10):C_NAMESPACE struct PJ_UNITS

I wonder if mapscript can safely be used in a real multithreaded
environment regardless of the performance problems. Are there any
further experiences about this issue? Which architecture can be used?
I cannot step beyond the "one process handles one request at a time"

Best Regards,


2006/8/8, Steve Lime <Steve.Lime at>:
> Tamas: What happened to the talk of thread specific globals that
> was started on mapserver-dev awhile back? Now's the time to move
> on such things...
> Steve
> >>> Tamas Szekeres <szekerest at GMAIL.COM> 8/7/2006 3:22:16 PM >>>
> Hi,
> Many of the mapserver components use globally allocated data so
> multiple threads within the executable (inside libmap.dll in this
> case) share the same data.
> Moreover the .dll is loaded into the host application (eg.
> aspnet_wp.exe or w3wp.exe) and the global variable will be shared
> among the threads within the overall worker process.
> The process may host multiple appdomains so the variables is shared
> among multiple web applications in this case. Lastly, the ASP
> application model implies the various requests are handled by multiple
> threads taken out of a pool of threads.
> It seems terrible compared to the architecture of a windows
> application, isn't it?
> If mapserver is compiled with thread support the global data in some
> of the components are protected by locks to provide synchronized
> access by multiple threads. The access will take place sequentially so
> the threads will wait for each
> other. For example if you are creating mapObj from a .map file
> multiple requests will wait for each other when parsing the file. This
> kind of thread interaction may be slightly decreased if the protected
> critical sections could be made smaller.
> The issue mentioned previously makes some of us frustrated.
> Maintaining locks kills the performance of the application, it would
> be preferable to avoid the global data at all when possible.
> Unfortunately to achieve this level much of the code should be
> reconsidered ( a better sort of collaboration should be made between
> the developers ).
> I consider this problem is critical and will manifest itself more and
> more obviously. I wonder the other mapscript languages are living
> happily without it ;-)
> Getting back to your question this time i would prefer establishing
> the mapping functionality in the middleware if possible. The drawing
> request should be queued and a pool of multiple processes should be
> spawned to handle the requests. The result may be dispatched back to
> the client using HTTP. The MONO XSP implementation may also help to
> establish the required functionality.
> Best Regards,
> Tamas Szekeres
> 2006/8/7, Zhonghai Wang <zhonghaiw at>:
> >
> > Hi All,
> >
> > I've developed a windows application with the C# MapScript, and this
> > application works well with all the common mapping functions. I am
> very
> > happy with the performance of MapServer. So I am now trying to
> migrate the
> > windows application to  a web application, here I have some doubts
> with the
> > migration:
> >
> > 1. for the windows application I use a singelton class to return the
> mapobj
> > for all the mapping API --  I've programmed a mapping class for
> mapping
> > functionalities, and this works well to store all the changes of a
> mapobj
> > during the mapping process. But if I migrate the mapping class to
> web
> > application, this singelton class should not be used, since there may
> be
> > hundred users, who are accessing MapServer at the same time. I am
> just
> > wondering how to solve this problem in MapServer?
> >
> > In MapXtreme, this problem is solved with the use of MapXBroker,
> which is a
> > shared pool of MapX objects, does MapServer has any similar
> component?
> >
> > 2. Thread-Safety, I know this is not a new question, but it's
> important. In
> > the .NET application, how to solve this problem? use thread lock? (I
> am
> > programming with VB.NET)
> >
> > thanks for any information about this topic.
> >
> >
> > zhonghai

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