Asynchronous and Synchronous Callbacks in Java
A CallBack Function is a function that is passed into another function as an argument and is expected to execute after some kind of event. The purpose of the callback function is to inform a class Sync/Async if some work in another class is done. This is very useful when working with Asynchronous tasks. Suppose we want to perform some routine tasks like perform some operation or display content after clicking a button, or fetching data from internet. This is also used in event handling, as we get notified when a button is clicked via callback function.
This type of design pattern is used in Observer Design Pattern.The observer pattern is a software design pattern in which an object, called the subject, maintains a list of its dependent, called observers, and notifies them automatically of any state changes, usually by calling one of their methods( Source:wiki).
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In Java, Callbacks can be implemented using an interface. The general procedure for implementation is given below.
1. Define the methods in an interface that we want to invoke after callback. 2. Define a class that will implement the callback methods of the interface. 3. Define a reference in other class to register the callback interface. 4. Use that reference to invoke the callback method.
The code execution will block or wait for the event before continuing. Until your event returns a response, your program will not execute any further. So Basically, the callback performs all its work before returning to the call statement. The problem with synchronous callbacks are that they appear to lag.
Below is the simple implementation of this principle
Performing callback before synchronous Task Performing callback after synchronous Task
An Asynchronous call does not block the program from the code execution. When the call returns from the event, the call returns back to the callback function. So in the context of Java, we have to Create a new thread and invoke the callback method inside that thread. The callback function may be invoked from a thread but is not a requirement. A Callback may also start a new thread, thus making themselves asynchronous.
Below is the simple implementation of this principle.
Performing operation in Asynchronous Task Performing callback after Asynchronous Task
When To Use What
Synchronous Callback : Any process having multiple tasks where the tasks must be executed in sequence and doesn’t occupy much time should use synchronous Callbacks.
For example : You’re in a movie queue for ticket you can’t get one until everyone in front of you gets one.
Asynchronous Callback : When the tasks are not dependent on each other and may take some time for execution we should use Asynchronous callbacks.
For example : When you order your food other people can also order their food in the restaurant. They don’t have to wait for your order to finish, If you’re downloading a song from internet, Getting an API response.