How to Write a Threaded Client

The client library is almost thread-safe. The biggest problem is that the subroutines in net.c that read from sockets are not interrupt safe. This was done with the thought that you might want to have your own alarm that can break a long read to a server. If you install interrupt handlers for the SIGPIPE interrupt, the socket handling should be thread-safe.

To avoid aborting the program when a connection terminates, MySQL blocks SIGPIPE on the first call to mysql_library_init(), mysql_init(), or mysql_connect(). If you want to use your own SIGPIPE handler, you should first call mysql_library_init() and then install your handler.

If “undefined symbol” errors occur when linking against the libmysqlclient client library, in most cases this is because you have not included the thread libraries on the link/compile command.

The client library is thread-safe per connection. You can let two threads share the same connection with the following caveats:

  • Two threads can't send a query to the MySQL server at the same time on the same connection. In particular, you have to ensure that between calls to mysql_query() and mysql_store_result() no other thread is using the same connection.

  • Many threads can access different result sets that are retrieved with mysql_store_result().

  • If you use mysql_use_result(), you must ensure that no other thread is using the same connection until the result set is closed. However, it really is best for threaded clients that share the same connection to use mysql_store_result().

  • If you want to use multiple threads on the same connection, you must have a mutex lock around your pair of mysql_query() and mysql_store_result() calls. Once mysql_store_result() is ready, the lock can be released and other threads may query the same connection.

  • If you use POSIX threads, you can use pthread_mutex_lock() and pthread_mutex_unlock() to establish and release a mutex lock.

You need to know the following if you have a thread that did not create the connection to the MySQL database but is calling MySQL functions:

When you call mysql_init(), MySQL creates a thread-specific variable for the thread that is used by the debug library (among other things). If you call a MySQL function before the thread has called mysql_init(), the thread does not have the necessary thread-specific variables in place and you are likely to end up with a core dump sooner or later. To avoid problems, you must do the following:

  1. Call mysql_library_init() before any other MySQL functions. It is not thread-safe, so call it before threads are created, or protect the call with a mutex.

  2. Arrange for mysql_thread_init() to be called early in the thread handler before calling any MySQL function. If you call mysql_init(), it will call mysql_thread_init() for you.

  3. In the thread, call mysql_thread_end() before calling pthread_exit(). This frees the memory used by MySQL thread-specific variables.

The preceding notes regarding mysql_init() also apply to mysql_connect(), which calls mysql_init().

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