On this page:

10.6 Breaks

A break is an asynchronous exception, usually triggered through an external source controlled by the user, or through the break-thread procedure. For example, the user may type Ctl-C in a terminal to trigger a break. On some platforms, the Racket process may receive SIGINT, SIGHUP, or SIGTERM; the latter two correspond to hang-up and terminate breaks as reflected by exn:break:hang-up and exn:break:terminate, respectively. Multiple breaks may be collapsed into a single exception, and multiple breaks of different kinds may be collapsed to a single “strongest” break, where a hang-up break is stronger than an interrupt break, and a terminate break is stronger than a hang-up break.

A break exception can only occur in a thread while breaks are enabled. When a break is detected and enabled, the exn:break (or exn:break:hang-up or exn:break:terminate) exception is raised in the thread sometime afterward; if breaking is disabled when break-thread is called, the break is suspended until breaking is again enabled for the thread. While a thread has a suspended break, additional breaks are ignored.

Breaks are enabled through the break-enabled parameter-like procedure and through the parameterize-break form, which is analogous to parameterize. The break-enabled procedure does not represent a parameter to be used with parameterize, because changing the break-enabled state of a thread requires an explicit check for breaks, and this check is incompatible with the tail evaluation of a parameterize expression’s body.

Certain procedures, such as semaphore-wait/enable-break, enable breaks temporarily while performing a blocking action. If breaks are enabled for a thread, and if a break is triggered for the thread but not yet delivered as an exn:break exception, then the break is guaranteed to be delivered before breaks can be disabled in the thread. The timing of exn:break exceptions is not guaranteed in any other way.

Before calling a with-handlers predicate or handler, an exception handler, an error display handler, an error escape handler, an error value conversion handler, or a pre-thunk or post-thunk for a dynamic-wind, the call is parameterize-breaked to disable breaks. Furthermore, breaks are disabled during the transitions among handlers related to exceptions, during the transitions between pre-thunks and post-thunks for dynamic-wind, and during other transitions for a continuation jump. For example, if breaks are disabled when a continuation is invoked, and if breaks are also disabled in the target continuation, then breaks will remain disabled from the time of the invocation until the target continuation executes unless a relevant dynamic-wind pre-thunk or post-thunk explicitly enables breaks.

If a break is triggered for a thread that is blocked on a nested thread (see call-in-nested-thread), and if breaks are enabled in the blocked thread, the break is implicitly handled by transferring it to the nested thread.

When breaks are enabled, they can occur at any point within execution, which makes certain implementation tasks subtle. For example, assuming breaks are enabled when the following code is executed,

(with-handlers ([exn:break? (lambda (x) (void))])
  (semaphore-wait s))

then it is not the case that a #<void> result means the semaphore was decremented or a break was received, exclusively. It is possible that both occur: the break may occur after the semaphore is successfully decremented but before a #<void> result is returned by semaphore-wait. A break exception will never damage a semaphore, or any other built-in construct, but many built-in procedures (including semaphore-wait) contain internal sub-expressions that can be interrupted by a break.

In general, it is impossible using only semaphore-wait to implement the guarantee that either the semaphore is decremented or an exception is raised, but not both. Racket therefore supplies semaphore-wait/enable-break (see Semaphores), which does permit the implementation of such an exclusive guarantee:

(parameterize-break #f
  (with-handlers ([exn:break? (lambda (x) (void))])
    (semaphore-wait/enable-break s)))

In the above expression, a break can occur at any point until breaks are disabled, in which case a break exception is propagated to the enclosing exception handler. Otherwise, the break can only occur within semaphore-wait/enable-break, which guarantees that if a break exception is raised, the semaphore will not have been decremented.

To allow similar implementation patterns over blocking port operations, Racket provides read-bytes-avail!/enable-break, write-bytes-avail/enable-break, and other procedures.


(break-enabled)  boolean?

(break-enabled on?)  void?
  on? : any/c
Gets or sets the break enabled state of the current thread. If on? is not supplied, the result is #t if breaks are currently enabled, #f otherwise. If on? is supplied as #f, breaks are disabled, and if on? is a true value, breaks are enabled.


(parameterize-break boolean-expr body ...+)

Evaluates boolean-expr to determine whether breaks are initially enabled while evaluating the bodys in sequence. The result of the parameterize-break expression is the result of the last expr.

As with parameterize, a fresh thread cell is allocated to hold the break-enabled state of the continuation, and calls to break-enabled within the continuation access or modify the new cell. Unlike a parameter, a mutation to the break setting via break-enabled is not inherited by new threads (i.e., the thread cell is not preserved).

Analogous to (current-parameterization) (see Parameters); it returns a break parameterization (effectively, a thread cell) that holds the current continuation’s break-enable state.


(call-with-break-parameterization break-param    
  thunk)  any
  break-param : break-parameterization?
  thunk : (-> any)
Analogous to (call-with-parameterization parameterization thunk) (see Parameters), calls thunk in a continuation whose break-enabled state is in break-param. The thunk is not called in tail position with respect to the call-with-break-parameterization call.


(break-parameterization? v)  boolean?

  v : any/c
Returns #t if v is a break parameterization as produced by current-break-parameterization, #f otherwise.

Added in version of package base.