The apps I developed recently required saving and loading thousands of objects within a very short time on multiple threads, mostly for reasons of caching and offline mode support. I started implementing this behavior in Core Data, which caused a few problems related to thread safety and performance.

I tried using FMDB as an alternative to Core Data, which works surprisingly great. There is not much information about multithreading and thread safety available, that’s why I’m writing this blog post.

To apply the MVC principal, I assume you create a class just for reading/writing into/from the database. You should never access the database directly from outside of it.

After trying different approaches of multithreading, this turns out to be the best solution for my projects.

First of all you need a database queue (provided by FMDB), an NSOperationQueue to queue your queries and a lock for the database.

static FMDatabaseQueue *_queue; 
static NSOperationQueue *_writeQueue; 
static NSRecursiveLock *_writeQueueLock;

If you use a singleton for your database, set up your static variables.

 _queue = [FMDatabaseQueue databaseQueueWithPath:...]; 
 _writeQueue = [NSOperationQueue new]; 
 [_writeQueue setMaxConcurrentOperationCount:1]; 
 _writeQueueLock = [NSRecursiveLock new];

Basically there are 2 use cases now: Read from database and Write to database

To read, all you have to is:

[_writeQueueLock lock];
[_queue inDatabase:^(FMDatabase *db) {
    FMResultSet *res = [db executeQuery:@"..."];
    if ([res next]) {
        ...
    }
    [res close];
}];
[_writeQueueLock unlock];

To write into the database, you have to use the writeQueue:

[_writeQueue addOperationWithBlock:^{
    [_writeQueueLock lock];
    [_queue inDatabase:^(FMDatabase *db) {
        if (![db executeUpdate:@"..." withArgumentsInArray:...]) { ... }
    }];
    [_writeQueueLock unlock];
}];

That’s all you need to really easily save/read data using FMDB. I use a little wrapper that matches properties with the according columns inside the database.

Unless otherwise mentioned in the post, those projects are side projects which I work on on weekends and evenings, and are not affiliated with my work or employer.