Simple Java name based locks?

Tags: ,

MySQL has a handy function:


This can be used to create simple, but very specific, name-based locks for an application. However, it requires a database connection.

I have many situations like:

someMethod() {
    // do stuff to user A for their data for feature X

It doesn’t make sense to simply synchronize this method, because, for example, if this method is called for user B in the meantime, user B does not need to wait for user A to finish before it starts, only operations for the user A and feature X combination need to wait.

With the MySql lock I could do something like:

someMethod() {
    executeQuery("SELECT GET_LOCK('userA-featureX')")
    // only locked for user A for their data for feature X
    executeQuery("SELECT RELEASE_LOCK('userA-featureX')")

Since Java locking is based on objects, it seems like I would need to create a new object to represent the situation for this lock and then put it in a static cache somewhere so all the threads can see it. Subsequent requests to lock for that situation would then locate the lock object in the cache and acquire its lock. I tried to create something like this, but then the lock cache itself needs synchronization. Also, it is difficult to detect when a lock object is no longer being used so that it can be removed from the cache.

I have looked at the Java concurrent packages, but nothing stands out as being able to handle something like this. Is there an easy way to implement this, or am I looking at this from the wrong perspective?


To clarify, I am not looking to create a predefined pool of locks ahead of time, I would like to create them on demand. Some pseudo-code for what I am thinking of is:

LockManager.acquireLock(String name) {
    Lock lock;  

    synchronized (map) {
        lock = map.get(name);

        // doesn't exist yet - create and store
        if(lock == null) {
            lock = new Lock();
            map.put(name, lock);


LockManager.releaseLock(String name) {
    // unlock
    // if this was the last hold on the lock, remove it from the cache


maybe this is useful for you: jkeylockmanager


My initial response was probably a bit short. I am the author and was faced with this problem several times and could not find an existing solution. That’s why I made this small library on Google Code.

Source: stackoverflow