EFL is not entirely thread-safe. This means that if a task is running in another thread and, for example, an Evas object shows the status progress of this task, the object cannot be updated from within the thread. Updating can only be done from the main thread that runs the main loop.

Ecore provides a facility to perform tasks on separate worker threads. It is not a simple wrapper around standard threads provided by the operating system. With Ecore threads, it is easier to dispatch a worker function to perform some heavy tasks and get the result once it completes. It does not block the application UI. It is also easy to cancel and reschedule threads. Several threads can be launched simultaneously, since Ecore schedules them according to the number of processors the system has and the maximum amount of concurrent threads set for the application.

Ecore has 2 kinds of threads:

  • Short jobs do not give any kind of information on their status to the parent. They are best used for short computing-intensive snippets of code.
  • Feedback jobs give information on their status to the parent. They are best used for longer snippets requiring a feedback loop, such as an ongoing file download.

Table of Contents

Ecore creates a pool of worker threads. The exact count is computed from the number of CPUs or cores, or it can be specified by the application itself.

When a worker thread is idle, it picks a job to execute from the waiting list until there is none left. In the following example, there are 2 threads defined by my_short_job() and my_feedback_job(). Both threads take 2 parameters: some data passed to them, and the actual thread running. Call a callback when the jobs end, whether they are cancelled (my_job_cancel()) or end normally (my_job_end()).

struct feedback_msg
   int pos;
void my_short_job(void *data, Ecore_Thread *thread)
void my_feedback_job(void *data, Ecore_Thread *thread)
   int i;
   for (i = 0; i < 100; i++)
        usleep(50000); // You can have some real computation done
        struct feedback_msg *message = malloc(sizeof(struct feedback_msg));
        if (message)
             message->pos = i;
             ecore_thread_feedback(thread, message);
        if (ecore_thread_check(thread))
void my_feedback_job_notify(void *data, Ecore_Thread *thread, void *msg)
   struct feedback_msg *message = msg;
void my_job_end(void *data, Ecore_Thread *thread)
   printf("Thread has normally ended.\n");
void my_job_cancel(void *data, Ecore_Thread *thread)
   printf("Thread has been cancelled.\n");
ecore_thread_run(my_short_job, my_job_end, my_job_cancel, my_data);
ecore_thread_feedback_run(my_feedback_job, my_feedback_job_notify, my_job_end, my_job_cancel, my_data, EINA_FALSE);

To manage threads

To cancel a thread

Use the ecore_thread_cancel() function. However, note that this is done cooperatively: the thread continues to run until it exists. Call the ecore_thread_check() function regularly to check whether the thread has been marked for cancellation and exit if true.

To execute a thread later

Use the ecore_thread_reschedule() function. This function is added to the end of the pending tasks.

To get the maximum number of concurrent threads

Use the ecore_thread_max_get() function. If needed, set it by using the ecore_thread_max_set() function, or reset the default value using the ecore_thread_max_reset() function.

To query the number of active threads

Use the ecore_thread_active_get() function. To query the number of available worker threads, use the ecore_thread_available_get() function, which is basically the same as the ecore_thread_max_get() - ecore_thread_active_get().