Task vs Service for database operations


What is the difference between JavaFX 8 Task and Service and in which case is it better to use one over the other? What is better to use in database operations?

9/14/2016 10:51:26 AM

Accepted Answer

Main Difference between Task and Service - One Time versus Repeated Execution

A Task is a one off thing - you can only use a Task once. If you want to perform the same Task again, you need to construct a new Task instance.

A Service has a reusable interface so that you can start and restart a single service instance multiple times. Behind the scenes, it just takes a Task definition as input and creates new tasks as needed.

Example Use Cases

Task Example => monitoring and reporting progress of a long running startup task on application initialization, like this Splash Page example.

Service Example => The internal load worker implementation for WebEngine where the same task, loading a page asynchronously, needs to be repeated for each page loaded.

Recommendation - Initially try to solve your problem using only a Task and not a Service

Until you are more familiar with concurrency in JavaFX, I'd advise sticking to just using a Task rather than a Service. Tasks have a slightly simpler interface. You can accomplish most of what a Service does simply by creating new Task instances when you need them. If, after understanding Task, you find yourself wanting a predefined API for starting or restarting Tasks, then start using Service at that time.

Database Access Sample using Tasks

Either Task or Service will work for performing database operations off of the JavaFX application thread. Which to use depends on your personal coding preference as well as the particular database operation being performed.

Here is an example which uses a Task to access a database via JDBC. The example was created for JavaFX - Background Thread for SQL Query.

Background Information

The JavaFX concurrency tutorial provides a good overview of Task and Service.

There is excellent documentation in the Task and Service javadoc, including sample code for example use cases.

Worker, Task and Service definitions (from Javadoc)

Task and Service are both Workers, so they have this in common:

A Worker is an object which performs some work in one or more background threads, and who's state is observable and available to JavaFX applications and is usable from the main JavaFX Application thread.

Task definition:

A fully observable implementation of a FutureTask. Tasks expose additional state and observable properties useful for programming asynchronous tasks in JavaFX . . Because Service is designed to execute a Task, any Tasks defined by the application or library code can easily be used with a Service.

Service definition:

A Service is a non-visual component encapsulating the information required to perform some work on one or more background threads. As part of the JavaFX UI library, the Service knows about the JavaFX Application thread and is designed to relieve the application developer from the burden of managing multithreaded code that interacts with the user interface. As such, all of the methods and state on the Service are intended to be invoked exclusively from the JavaFX Application thread.

Service implements Worker. As such, you can observe the state of the background operation and optionally cancel it. Service is a reusable Worker, meaning that it can be reset and restarted. Due to this, a Service can be constructed declaratively and restarted on demand.

5/23/2017 12:10:44 PM

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