Oleg Atamanenko

thoughts about programming

Limiting threads count for GreenRobot EventBus

In one of my projects I used EventBus library. The library is pretty cool and I would recommend everybody to use it.

But I found one small issue with this library - in case you send too many events very fast (i.e. more than 1000 per second) you may face issue with application crash due to inability to create new thread.

The problem is lying in the used ExecutorService:

package de.greenrobot.event;
// imports
public final class EventBus {
    static ExecutorService executorService = Executors.newCachedThreadPool();

    // class content skipped 

As you can see, it calls newCachedThreadPool method to create thread pool.

From javadoc for this method:

Creates a thread pool that creates new threads as needed, but will reuse previously constructed threads when they are available.

This is where we hit the wall - if we send too many requests and each request is slow (i.e. saving into database or network request) then we will try to create too many threads and app will crash.

Thankfully, executorService is static but not final. And this will allow us to solve the issue easily.

Let’s create our configurer class in package de.greenrobot.event so we will be able to access executorService property which is package-visible and override it with different thread pool:


package de.greenrobot.event;

import java.util.concurrent.Executors;

public class EventBusExecutorServiceConfigurer {

    public void configureEventBus() {
        ExecutorService executorServiceToUse;
            executorServiceToUse = (ExecutorService) AsyncTask.THREAD_POOL_EXECUTOR;
        } else {
            executorServiceToUse = Executors.newFixedThreadPool(
        EventBus.executorService = executorServiceToUse;

Android 3.0+ has special THREAD_POOL_EXECUTOR which is supposed to be used by asynchronous tasks, so we use it on newer devices. On older, pre-Honeycomb devices we create our own thread pool.

And then in Android application we configure executorService:

public class CustomApplication extends Application {
    public void onCreate() {
        new EventBusExecutorServiceConfigurer().configureEventBus();

        // other initialization