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Lock mechanism to prevent concurrent access to asynchronous code.

synchronized #

Basic lock mechanism to prevent concurrent access to asynchronous code.

pub package

Goal #

You were missing hard to debug deadlocks, here it is!

The goal is to propose a solution similar to critical sections and offer a simple synchronized API à la Java style. It provides a basic Lock/Mutex solution to allow features like transactions.

The name is biased as we are single threaded in Dart. However since we write asychronous code (await) like we would write synchronous code, it makes the overall API feel the same.

The goal is to ensure for a single process (single isolate) that some asynchronous operations can run without conflict. It won't solve cross-process (or cross-isolate) synchronization.

For single process (single isolate) accessing some resources (database..), it can help to

  • Provide transaction on database system that don't have transaction mechanism (mongodb, file system)
  • In html application make sure some asynchronous UI operation are not conflicting (login, transition)

Feature #

  • By default a lock is not reentrant
  • Timeout support
  • Support for reentrant lock (using Zone)
  • Consistent behavior (i.e. if it is unlocked calling synchronized grab the lock)
  • Values and Errors are properly reported to the caller
  • Work on Browser, DartVM and Flutter
  • No dependencies (other than the sdk itself)

It differs from the pool package used with a resource count of 1 by supporting a reentrant option

Usage #

A simple usage example:

import 'package:synchronized/synchronized.dart';

main() async {
  // Use this object to prevent concurrent access to data
  var lock = new Lock();
  await lock.synchronized(() async {
    // Only this block can run (once) until done 

If you need a re-entrant lock you can use

var lock = new Lock(reentrant: true);
// ...
await lock.synchronized(() async {
  // do some stuff
  // ... 
  await lock.synchronized(() async {
    // other stuff

A basic lock is not reentrant by default and does not use Zone. It behaves like an async executor with a pool capacity of 1

var lock = Lock();
// ...
lock.synchronized(() async {
  // do some stuff
  // ...

The return value is preserved

int value = await lock.synchronized(() {
  return 1;

Using the package:synchronized/extension.dart import, you can turn any object into a lock. synchronized() can then be called on any object

import 'package:synchronized/extension.dart';

class MyClass {

  /// Perform a long action that won't be called more than one at a time.
  Future performAction() {
    // Lock at the instance level
    return synchronized(() async {
      // ...uninterrupted action

How it works #

The next tasks is executed once the previous one is done

Re-entrant locks uses Zone to know in which context a block is running in order to be reentrant. It maintains a list of inner tasks to be awaited for.

Example #

Consider the following dummy code

Future writeSlow(int value) async {
  await Future.delayed(new Duration(milliseconds: 1));

Future write(List<int> values) async {
  for (int value in values) {
    await writeSlow(value);

Future write1234() async {
  await write([1, 2, 3, 4]);



would print


while doing


would print


The Lock instance #

Have in mind that the Lock instance must be shared between calls in order to effectively prevent concurrent execution. For instance, in the example below the lock instance is the same between all myMethod() calls.

class MyClass {
  final _lock = new Lock();

  Future<void> myMethod() async {
    await _lock.synchronized(() async {

Typically you would create a global or static instance Lock to prevent concurrent access to a global resource or a class instance Lock to prevent concurrent modifications of class instance data and resources.

Features and bugs #

Please feel free to:

pub points



Lock mechanism to prevent concurrent access to asynchronous code.

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