Low-allocation utilies for writing async methods, and related tools


PooledValueTask / PooledValueTask<T>

These are the main tools of the library; their purpose is to remove the boxing of the async state-machine and builder that happens when a method marked async performs an await on an awaitable target that is not yet complete, i.e.

async ValueTask<int> SomeMethod()
	await Task.Yield(); // *is not yet complete*
	return 42

If you’ve ever looked at an application that uses async / await in a memory profiler and seen things like System.Runtime.CompilerServices.AsyncTaskMethodBuilder1.AsyncStateMachineBox1 or YourLib.<<SomeMethod>g__Inner|8_0>d, then that’s what I’m talking about. You can avoid this by simply using a different return type:

For private / internal methods, you can probably just change the return type directly:

private async PooledValueTask<int> SomeMethod()
	await Task.Yield(); // *is not yet complete*
	return 42

For methods on your public API surface, you can use a “local function” to achieve the same thing without changing the exposed return type:

public ValueTask<int> SomeMethod() // not marked async
	return Impl();
	async PooledValueTask<int>() Impl()
		await Task.Yield(); // *is not yet complete*
		return 42

(all of the Pooled* types have implicit conversion operators to their more well-recognized brethren).

And that’s it! That’s all you have to do. The “catch” (there’s always a catch) is that awaiting the same pending operation more than once no longer works:

var pending = SomeIncompleteMethodAsync(); // note no "await" here

var x = await pending;
var y = await pending; // BOOM! await the **same result**

In reality, this almost never happens. Usually you await something once, almost always right away. So… yeah.

PooledTask / PooledTask<T>

These work very similarly to PooledValueTask[<T>], but for the Task[<T>] API. It can’t be quite as frugal, as in most cases a Task[<T>] will still need to be allocated (unless it is the non-generic PooledTask signature, and the operation completes synchronously), but it still avoids the state-machine box etc. Note that this API is not impacted by the “you can only await it once” change (you can await these as many times as you like - they are, after all, Task[<T>]), but again: this is used incredibly rarely anyway.


Ever find yourself needing a fire-and-forget API? This adds one. All you do is declare the return type as FireAndForget:

FireAndForget SomeMethod(...) {
   // .. things before the first incomplete await happen on the calling thread
   await SomeIncompleteMethod();
   // .. other bits continue running in the background

As soon as the method uses await against an incomplete operation, the calling task regains control as though it were complete; the rest of the operation continues in the background. The caller can simply await the fire-and-forget method with confidence that it only runs synchronously to the first incomplete operation. If you’re not in an async method, you can use “discard” to tell the compiler not to tell you to await it:

_ = SomeFireAndForgetMethodAsync();

You won’t get unobserved-task-exception problems. If you want to see any exceptions that happen, there is an event FireAndForget.Exception that you can subscribe to. Otherwise, they just evaporate.


Related to FireAndForget - when you await Task.Yield() it always respects the sync-context/task-scheduler; sometimes you don’t want to. For many awaitables there is a .ConfigureAwait(continueOnCapturedContext: false) method that you can use to suppress this, but not on Task.Yield()until now. Usage is, as you would expect:

await Task.Yield().ConfigureAwait(false);


Do you make use of TaskCompletionSource<T>? Do you hate that this adds another allocation on top of the Task<T> that you actually wanted? ValueTaskCompletionSource<T> is your friend. It uses smoke and magic to work like TaskCompletionSource<T>, but without the extra allocation (unless it discovers that the magic isn’t working for your system). Usage:

var source = ValueTaskCompletionSource<int>.Create();
// ...
source.TrySetResult(42); // etc

The main difference here is that you now have a struct instead of a class. If you want to test whether an instance is a real value (as opposed to the default), check .HasTask.

PooledValueTaskSource / PooledValueTaskSource<T>

These again work like TaskCompletionSource<T>, but a: for ValueType[<T>], and b: with the same zero-allocation features that PooledValueTask / PooledValueTask<T> exhibit. Once again, the “catch” is that you can only await their .Task once. Usage:

var source = PooledValueTaskSource<int>.Create();
// ...
source.TrySetResult(42); // etc

LazyTaskCompletionSource / LazyTaskCompletionSource<T>

Sometimes, you have an API where you aren’t sure whether someone is subscribing to the Task/Task<T> results - for example you have properties like:

public Task SomeStepCompleted { get; }

It would be a shame to allocate a Task for this just in case, so LazyTaskCompletionSource[<T>] allows you to rent state that can manage lazily creating a task. If the .Task is read before the value is set, a source is used to provide a pending task; if the result gets set before the value is read, then some optimizations may be possible (Task.CompletedTask, etc). And if the .Task is never queried: no task or source is allocated. These types are disposable; disposing them releases any rented state for re-use.


Ever need a light-weight basic pool of objects? That’s this. Nothing fancy. The first API is a simple get/put:

var obj = Pool.TryRent<SomeType>() ?? new SomeType();
// ...

Note that it leaves creation to you (hence the ?? new SomeType()), and it is the caller’s responsibility to not retain and access a reference object that you have notionally returned to the pool.


A second API is exposed for use with value-types; there are a lot of scenarios in which you have some state that you need to expose to an API that takes object - especially with callbacks like WaitCallback, SendOrPostCallback, Action<object>, etc. The data will only be unboxed once at the receiver - so: rather than use a regular box, we can rent a box. Also, if you have multiple items of state that you need to convey - consider a value-tuple.

int id = ...
string name = ...
var obj = Pool.Box((id, name));
// ... probably pass obj to a callback-API

then later:

(var id, var name) = Pool.UnboxAndReturn<(int, string)>(obj);
// use id/name as usual

It is the caller’s responsibility to only access the state once.

The pool is global (static) and pretty modest in size. You can control it a bit by adding [PoolSize(...)] to the custom classes and value-types that you use.