Handling private messages and pulses

A resource manager may need to receive and handle pulses, perhaps because an interrupt handler has returned a pulse or some other thread or process has sent a pulse.

The main issue with pulses is that they have to be received as a message. This means that a thread has to explicitly perform a MsgReceive() in order to get the pulse. But unless this pulse is sent to a different channel than the one that the resource manager is using for its main messaging interface, it will be received by the library. Therefore, we need to see how a resource manager can associate a pulse code with a handler routine and communicate that information to the library.

You can use the pulse_attach() function to associate a pulse code with a handler function. When the dispatch layer receives a pulse, it will look up the pulse code and see which associated handler to call to handle the pulse message.

You may also want to define your own private message range to communicate with your resource manager. Note that the range 0x0 to 0x1FF is reserved for the OS. To attach a range, you use the message_attach() function.

In this example, we create the same resource manager, but this time we also attach to a private message range and attach a pulse, which is then used as a timer event:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stddef.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>

#define THREAD_POOL_PARAM_T     dispatch_context_t
#include <sys/iofunc.h>
#include <sys/dispatch.h>

static resmgr_connect_funcs_t   connect_func;
static resmgr_io_funcs_t        io_func;
static iofunc_attr_t            attr;

timer_tick( message_context_t *ctp, int code, unsigned flags,
            void *handle)
    union sigval             value = ctp->msg->pulse.value;
     *  Do some useful work on every timer firing
     *  ....
    printf("received timer event, value %d\n", value.sival_int);
    return 0;

message_handler( message_context_t *ctp, int code, unsigned flags,
                 void *handle)
    printf("received private message, type %d\n", code);
    return 0;

main(int argc, char **argv) {
    thread_pool_attr_t    pool_attr;
    resmgr_attr_t         resmgr_attr;
    struct sigevent       event;
    struct _itimer        itime;
    dispatch_t            *dpp;
    thread_pool_t         *tpp;
    int                   timer_id;
    int                   id;

    if((dpp = dispatch_create()) == NULL) {
                "%s: Unable to allocate dispatch handle.\n",
        return EXIT_FAILURE;

    memset(&pool_attr, 0, sizeof pool_attr);
    pool_attr.handle = dpp;
    /*  We are doing resmgr and pulse-type attaches.
     *  If you're going to use custom messages or pulses with 
     *  the message_attach() or pulse_attach() functions,
     *  then you MUST use the dispatch functions 
     *  (i.e., dispatch_block(),  dispatch_handler(), ...),
     *  NOT the resmgr functions (resmgr_block(), resmgr_handler()).
    pool_attr.context_alloc = dispatch_context_alloc;
    pool_attr.block_func = dispatch_block; 
    pool_attr.unblock_func = dispatch_unblock;
    pool_attr.handler_func = dispatch_handler;
    pool_attr.context_free = dispatch_context_free;
    pool_attr.lo_water = 2;
    pool_attr.hi_water = 4;
    pool_attr.increment = 1;
    pool_attr.maximum = 50;

    if((tpp = thread_pool_create(&pool_attr, POOL_FLAG_EXIT_SELF)) == NULL) {
        fprintf(stderr, "%s: Unable to initialize thread pool.\n",argv[0]);
        return EXIT_FAILURE;

    iofunc_func_init(_RESMGR_CONNECT_NFUNCS, &connect_func, _RESMGR_IO_NFUNCS,
    iofunc_attr_init(&attr, S_IFNAM | 0666, 0, 0);
    memset(&resmgr_attr, 0, sizeof resmgr_attr);
    resmgr_attr.nparts_max = 1;
    resmgr_attr.msg_max_size = 2048;

    if((id = resmgr_attach(dpp, &resmgr_attr, "/dev/sample", _FTYPE_ANY, 0,
                 &connect_func, &io_func, &attr)) == -1) {
        fprintf(stderr, "%s: Unable to attach name.\n", argv[0]);
        return EXIT_FAILURE;

    /* We want to handle our own private messages, of type 0x5000 to 0x5fff */
    if(message_attach(dpp, NULL, 0x5000, 0x5fff, &message_handler, NULL) == -1) {
        fprintf(stderr, "Unable to attach to private message range.\n");
         return EXIT_FAILURE;

    /* Initialize an event structure, and attach a pulse to it */
    if((event.sigev_code = pulse_attach(dpp, MSG_FLAG_ALLOC_PULSE, 0, &timer_tick,
                                        NULL)) == -1) {
        fprintf(stderr, "Unable to attach timer pulse.\n");
         return EXIT_FAILURE;

    /* Connect to our channel */
    if((event.sigev_coid = message_connect(dpp, MSG_FLAG_SIDE_CHANNEL)) == -1) {
        fprintf(stderr, "Unable to attach to channel.\n");
        return EXIT_FAILURE;

    event.sigev_notify = SIGEV_PULSE;
    event.sigev_priority = -1;
    /* We could create several timers and use different sigev values for each */
    event.sigev_value.sival_int = 0;

    if((timer_id = TimerCreate(CLOCK_MONOTONIC, &event)) == -1) {;
        fprintf(stderr, "Unable to attach channel and connection.\n");
        return EXIT_FAILURE;

    /* And now set up our timer to fire every second */
    itime.nsec = 1000000000;
    itime.interval_nsec = 1000000000;
    TimerSettime(timer_id, 0, &itime, NULL);

    /* Never returns */
    return EXIT_SUCCESS;

We can either define our own pulse code (e.g., #define OurPulseCode 57), or we can ask the pulse_attach() function to dynamically generate one for us (and return the pulse code value as the return code from pulse_attach()) by specifying the pulse code as _RESMGR_PULSE_ALLOC.

See the pulse_attach(), MsgSendPulse(), MsgDeliverEvent(), and MsgReceive() functions in the QNX Neutrino C Library Reference for more information on receiving and generating pulses.