I have a wxPython application ( that counts ballots using methods that have multiple rounds. I'd like to do two things:

(1) For a large number of ballots, this can be a bit slow, so I'd like to show the user a progress dialog so he doesn't think the application is frozen.

(2) I'd like to allow the user to break ties manually, and this requires the counting code to show a dialog window.

To achieve (1), I create a thread to run the counting code, and this allows me to present a nice progress dialog to the user.

The problem with this, however, is that the counting code is not the main thread, and only the main thread in wxPython can process window events.

I suppose I could create a thread to run the progress dialog instead, but this seems awkward. Is there a better way of accomplishing both (1) and (2)?

+1  A: 

There are several ways to call the main thread wxPython thread from a process thread. The simplest is wx.CallAfter() which will always execute the functional passed to it in the main thread. You can also use wx.PostEvent() and there's an example of this in the demo (labeled: Threads), and there are several more complicated but more customizable ways which are discussed in the last chapter of wxPython in Action.

I see how these will allow me to execute the tie-breaking dialog in the main thread, but will either of these allow the main thread to communicate back to the counting thread? The counting thread needs to know how the user broke the tie before it can continue. Perhaps I need a queue for that.
Jeff - Right, these just communicate to the main thread.
+2  A: 

Use Queue to communicate and synchronize among threads, with each thread "owning" and exclusively interacting with a resource that's not handy to share.

In GUI toolkits where only the main thread can really handle the GUI, the main thread should play along -- set up and start the threads doing the actual work, then do nothing but GUI work, using Queues to communicate to and from the other threads.

For (1), when your counting thread has an update, it should put it to the Queue where the main thread is waiting; when your main thread gets a suitable message on that Queue, it updates the progress dialog.

For (2), the counting thread sends the "have the user break a tie" request, main thread gets it and responds appropriately, and sends back the resolution on a separate Queue.

So in general, there are two kinds of communications: one that don't require a response, and others that do. For the former kind, just put the notification on the appropriate queue and simply proceed -- it will be acted on in due course. For the latter kind, my favorite idiom is to put on the appropriate queue a pair (request, response_queue). If otherwise identical requests differ in that some need a response and others don't, queueing (request, None) when no response is needed (and (request, q) where q's a Queue when a response IS needed) is a nice, easy, and general idiom, too.

Alex Martelli