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Channels and select

A channel is a thread-safe queue of values of a given type.

A primary use for channels is to communicate between goroutines.

For that reason we talk about sending values to a channel (ch <- value) and receiving values from a channel (value <- ch).

Basic of channels:

func genInts(chInts chan int) {
	chInts <- rand.Intn(1000)
}

func main() {
	chInts := make(chan int)
	for i := 0; i < 2; i++ {
		go genInts(chInts)
	}
	n := <-chInts
	fmt.Printf("n: %d\n", n)

	select {
	case n := <-chInts:
		fmt.Printf("n: %d\n", n)
	}
}
n: 81
n: 887

Zero value of a channel is nil. Sending to nil channel blocks forever so the first thing to do is to create a channel with make(chan <type>, <queue size>). Queue size is optional and defaults to unbuffered channel (you can think of it as size 0).

Send operator chan <- value puts the value at the end of the queue.

If channel is full, <- will block.

Send on a nil channel blocks forever.

Retrieve statement value = <- chan picks up the value from the front of the queue.

If channel is empty, retrieve will block.

Another way to retrieve a value form channel is to use select statement.

Using select allows to:

Yet another is to use range.

Channels have a fixed capacity.

Channel created without explicit size (e.g. make(chan int)) has size 0 and is called unbuffered channel. Send on unbuffered channel blocks until a corresponding receive completes.

Channel created with explicit size (e.g. make(chan int, 3)) is called buffered channel with capacity of 3.

The first 3 sends will finish immediately, the 4th send will block until a value is received from the channel.

You can close a channel with close(chan).

Closing channel twice panics.

Sending to closed channel panics.

A receive from closed channels:

Closing a channel also ends range loop over a channel.

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