четверг, 8 декабря 2011 г.

WinForms UI Thread Invokes: An In-Depth Review of Invoke/BeginInvoke/InvokeRequred


Abstract:Marshalling the execution of your code onto the UI thread in the Windows Forms environment is critical to prevent cross-thread usage of UI code.  Most people don't understand how or when they'll need to use the marshalling behavior or under what circumstances it is required and when it is not.  Other users don't understand what happens when you use the marshalling behavior but it isn't needed.  In actuality it has no negative effects on stability, and instead reserves any negative side effects to performance only.
Understanding the semantics of when your callback methods will be called, in what order, and how might be very important to your application.  In addition to the default marhalling behavior, I'll be covering special considerations for enhancing the marhsalling behavior once we fully understand how it works.  We'll also cover all of the normal scenarios and uses for code execution marhsalling to make this a complete Windows Forms marshalling document.
TOC:
    1. UCS 1: Using InvokeRequired and Invoke for Synchronous Marshalling, the default scenario
    2. UCS 2: Using BeginInvoke for Asynchronous Marshalling
    3. InvokeRequired and how it works
    4. Invoke operation on the UI thread and from a different thread
    5. InvokeMarshaledCallbacks and how it handles the callback queue
    6. BeginInvoke operation on the UI thread and from a different thread
    7. UCS 3: Using BeginInvoke to change a property after other events are processed, and why it can fail
    8. Public and Internal Methods covered with a short description of what they do
    9. Conclusion
1.  UCS 1: Using InvokeRequired and Invoke for Synchronous Marshalling, the default scenarioI call this the default scenario, because it identifies the most prominent use of UI thread marshalling.  In this scenario the user is either on the UI thread or they are not, and most likely they aren't sure.  This can occur when you use common helper methods for acting on the UI that are called from your main code (most likely on the UI thread), and in code running on worker threads.
You can always tell if an Invoke is going to be required by calling InvokeRequired.  This method finds the thread the control's handle was created on and compares it to the current thread.  In doing so it can tell you whether or not you'll need to marshal.  This is extremely easy to use since it is a basic property on Control.  Just be aware that there is some work going on inside the method and it should have possibly been made a method instead.
Button b = new Button(); // Creates button on the current thread
if ( b.InvokeRequired ) { // This shouldn't happen since we are on the same thread }
else { // We should fall into here }
If your code is running on a thread that the control was not created on then InvokeRequired will return true.  In this case you should either call Invoke or BeginInvoke on the control before you execute any code.  Invoke can either be called with just a delegate, or you can specify arguments in the form of an object[].  This part can be confusing for a lot of users, because they don't know what they should pass to the Invoke method in order to get their code to run.  For instance, let's say you are trying to do something simple, like call a method like Focus().  Well, you could write a method that calls Focus() and then pass that to Invoke.
myControl.Invoke(new MethodInvoker(myControl.Hide());
Noticed I used MethodInvoker.  This is a special delegate that takes no parameters so it can be used to call any methods that take 0 parameters.  In this case Focus() takes no arguments so things work.  I'm telling the control to invoke the method right off of myControl, so I don't need any additional information.  What happens if you need to call a bunch of methods on myControl?  In that case you'll need to define a method that contains all of the code you need run and then Invoke it.
private void BunchOfCode() {
    myControl.Focus();
    myControl.SomethingElse();
}

myControl.Invoke(new MethodInvoker(this.BunchOfCode());
This solves one problem, but leaves another.  We just wrote code that only works only for myControl because we hard coded the control instance into our method.  We can overcome this by using an EventHandler syntax instead.  We'll cover the semantics of this later, so I'll just write some code that works now.
private void BunchOfCode(object sender, EventArgs e) {
    Control c = sender as Control;
    if ( c != null ) {
        c.Focus();
        c.SomethingElse();
    }
}

myControl.Invoke(new EventHandler(BunchOfCode));
EventArgs is always going to be empty, while sender will always be the control that Invoke was called on.  There is also a generic helper method syntax you can use to circumvent any of these issues that makes use of InvokeRequired.  I'll give you a version of that works with MethodInvoker and one that works with EventHandler for completeness.
private void DoFocusAndStuff() {
    if ( myControl.InvokeRequired ) {
        myControl.Invoke(new MethodInvoker(this.DoFocusAndStuff));
    } else {
        myControl.Focus();
        myControl.SomethingElse();
    }
}

private void DoFocusAndStuffGeneric(object sender, EventArgs e) {
    Control c = sender as Control;

    if ( c != null ) {
        if ( c.InvokeRequired ) {
            c.Invoke(new EventHandler(this.DoFocusAndStuffGeneric));
        } else {
            c.Focus();
            c.SomethingElse();
        }
    }
}
Once you've set up these helper functions, you can just call them and they handle cross thread marshalling for you if needed.  Notice how each method simply calls back into itself as the target of the Invoke call.  This lets you put all of the code in a single place.  This is a great abstraction that you can add to your application to automatically handle marshalling for you.  We haven't yet had to define any new delegates to handle strange method signatures, so these techniques have low impact on the complexity of your code.  I'll wrap up the Invoke use case scenario there and move into the BeginInvoke scenario.
2.  UCS 2: Using BeginInvoke for Asynchronous MarshallingWhenever you call Invoke, you have to wait for the return call, so your current thread hangs until the remote operation completes.  This can take some time since lots of things need to happen in order to schedule your code on the UI thread and have it execute.  While you don't really have to worry that an Invoke might block indefinitely, you still can't determine exactly how long it will take (unless it really wasn't required in the first place, but we'll get to that later).  In these cases you'll want to call Invoke asynchronously.
Calling your code asynchronously is simliar to calling it through Invoke.  The only difference is that BeginInvoke will return immediately.  You can always check for the results of your operation by calling EndInvoke, but you don't have to.  In general, you'll almost never use EndInvoke unless you actually want the return value from the method which is fairly rare.  The same plumbing is in the back-end for BeginInvoke as for Invoke so all we'll be doing is changing our code from UCS 1 to use BeginInvoke.
private void DoFocusAndStuff() {
    if ( myControl.InvokeRequired ) {
        myControl.BeginInvoke(new MethodInvoker(this.DoFocusAndStuff));
    } else {
        myControl.Focus();
        myControl.SomethingElse();
    }
}

private void DoFocusAndStuffGeneric(object sender, EventArgs e) {
    Control c = sender as Control;

    if ( c != null ) {
        if ( c.InvokeRequired ) {
            c.BeginInvoke(new EventHandler(this.DoFocusAndStuffGeneric));
        } else {
            c.Focus();
            c.SomethingElse();
        }
    }
}
What happens if you do need the return value?  Well, then the use case changes quite a bit.  You'll need to wait until the IAsyncResult has been signalled complete and then call EndInvoke on this object to get your value.  The following code will will grab the return value and then immediately call EndInvoke.  Note that since the result is probably not ready yet, EndInvoke will hang.  Using this combination of BeginInvoke/EndInvoke is the same as just calling Invoke.
IAsyncResult result = myControl.BeginInvoke(new MethodInvoker(myControl.Hide());
myControl.EndInvoke(result);
So we'll change our behavior to check for completion status.  We'll need to find some way to poll the completion status value so we don't hang our current thread and can continue doing work while we wait.  Normally you'll just put places in your code to check the result status and return.  We don't have the time nor space to make up such an elaborate sample here, so we'll just pretend we are doing work.
IAsyncResult result = myControl.BeginInvoke(new MethodInvoker(myControl.Hide());
while ( !result.IsCompleted ) { // Do work somehow }
myControl.EndInvoke(result);
The BeginInvoke use case scenario isn't much different from the Invoke scenario.  The underlying reason behind using one over the other is simply how long you are willing to wait for the result.  There is also the matter of whether you want the code to execute now or later.  You see, if you are on the UI thread already and issue an Invoke the code runs immediately.  If you instead issue a BeginInvoke you can continue executing your own code, and then only during the next set of activity on the message pump will the code be run.  If you have some work to finish up before you yield execution then BeginInvoke is the answer for you.
You have to be careful when using BeginInvoke because you never know when your code will execute.  The only thing you are assured is that your code will be placed on the queue and executed in the order it was placed there.  This is the same guarantee you get for Invoke as well, though Invoke places your code on the queue and then exhausts it (running any queued operations).  We'll examine this in more detail in later sections.  For now, let's take a hard look at InvokeRequired.
3.  InvokeRequired and how it worksThis is a read-only property that does quite a bit of work.  You could say it ran in determinate time in most cases, but there are degenerate cases where it can take much longer.  In fact the only time it is determinate is if IsHandleCreated is true meaning the control you are using is fully instantiated and has a windows handle associated with it.
If the handle is created then control falls into the check logic to see if the windows thread process id is the same as the current thread id.  They use GetWindowThreadProcessID, a Win32 API call, to check the handle and find it's thread and process ID (note the process ID doesn't appear to be used).  Then they grab the current thread ID through none other than GetCurrentThreadID.  The result of InvokeRequired is nothing more than (threadID != currentThreadID).  Pretty basic eh?
Things get more difficult when your control's handle is not created yet.  In this case they have to find what they call a marshalling control for your control.  This process can take some time.  They walk the entire control hiearchy trying to find out if any of your parent control's have been instantiated yet and have a valid handle.  Normally they'll find one.  As soon as they do they fall out and return that control as your marshalling control.  If they can't find any the have a fallback step.  They get the parking window.  They make one of these parking windows on every thread that has a message pump apparently, so no matter where you create your controls (no matter what thread) there should be at least one control that can be used as the marshalling control (unless maybe you are running in the designer ;-).
Application.GetParkingWindow is nasty.  After all, this is the final fallback and the last ditch effort to find some control that can accept your windows message.  The funny thing here is that GetParkingWindow is extremely determinant if your control is already created.  They have some code that basically gets the ThreadContext given the thread ID of your control.  That is what we've been looking for this entire time, so that code-path must be used somewhere else (darn IL is getting muddied, thank god these are small methods).
Then they start doing the magic.  They assume the control is on the current thread.  This is just an assumption, and it might not be true, but they make it for the sake of running the method.  They get the parking window off of this current TheadContext and return that.  If it hasn't been created yet, we are really screwed because that was our last chance to find a marshalling control.  At this point, if we still don't have a marshalling control, they return the original control you passed in.
At the end of this entire process, if we find a marshalling control, that is used with GetWindowThreadProcessID.  If not, we simply return false, indicating that an Invoke is not required.  This is important.  It basically means if the handle isn't created, it doesn't matter WHAT thread you are on when you call into the control.  Reason being, is that there isn't any Handle, which means no real control exists yet, and all of the method calls will probably fail anyway (some won't, but those that require a HWND or Windows Handle will).  This also means you don't always have to call control methods on the UI thread, only those that aren't thread safe.  With InvokeRequired to the side, it is time to talk about Invoke and what it goes through.
4.  Invoke operation on the UI thread and from a different threadTime to examine the Invoke operation and what is involed.  To start with, we'll examine what happens when the Invoke operation is happening on the same thread as the UI thread for the control.  This is a special case, since it means we don't have to marshal across a thread boundary in order to call the delegate in question.
All of the real work happens in MarshaledInvoke.  This call is made on the marshalling control, so the first step is to get the marshaling control through FindMarshalingControl.  The first Invoke method, without arguments, calls the Invoke method with a null argument set.  The overriden Invoke in turn calls MarshaledInvoke on the marshaling control passing in the current caller (note we need this because the marshalling control might be different from the control we called Invoke on), the delegate we are marshalling, the arguments, and whether or not we want synchronous marshaling.  That second parameter is there so we can use the same method for asynchronous invokes later.
// The method looks something like this and it is where all of the action occurs
object MarshaledInvoke(Control invokeControl, Delegate delegate, object[] arguments, bool isSynchronous);
If the handle on the marhaling control is invalid, you get the classic exception telling you the handle isn't created and that the Invoke or what not failed.  There is also some gook about ActiveX controls in there that I don't quite understand, but they appear to be demanding some permissions.  Then comes the important part for calling Invoke on the UI thread.  They again check the handle's thread id against the current thread id, and if we are running synchronously, they set a special bool indicating we are running synchronously and are operating on the same thread.  This is the short-circuit code that gets run only when you call Invoke and are on the same thread.
Since the special case is enabled, we'll immediately call the InvokeMarshaledCallbacks method rather than posting a message to the queue.  Note all other entries into this method, and all other conditions will cause a windows message to be posted and InvokeMarshaledCallbacks will later be called from the WndProc of the control once the message is received.
There is some more code before this point.  Basically, they make a copy of the arguments you pass in.  This is pretty smart, since I'm guessing you could try changing the arguments in the original array and thus the arguments to your delegate if they didn't make the copy.  It also means, once Invoke or BeginInvoke is called, you can change your object array of parameters, aka you can reuse the array, which is pretty nice for some scenarios.
After they copy your parameters into a newly allocated array they take the liberty of grabbing the current stack so they can reattach it to the UI thread.  This is for security purposes so you can't try to Invoke code on the UI thread that you wouldn't have been able to run on your own thread.  They use CompressedStack for this operation and the GetCompressedStack method.  While this is a public class inside of mscorlib.dll, there is NO documentation for it.  It seems to me that this might be a very interesting security mechanism for API developers, but they don't give you any info on it.  Maybe I'll write something about how to use it later.
With this in place, they construct a new ThreadMethodEntry.  These guys are the work horse.  They get queued into a collection, and are later used to execute your delegate.  It appears the only additional parameter used to create this class over calling MarshaledInvoke is the CompressedStack.  They also used the copied arguments array instead of the original.
They then grab the queue for these guys off of the property bag.  You could never do this yourself, because they index the properties collection using object instances that you can't get access to.  This is a very interesting concept, to create an object used to index a hashtable or other collection that nobody else has access to.  They store all of the WinForms properties this way, as well as the events.
Finally, they queue the ThreadMethodEntry onto the queue and continue.  They appear to do a bunch of locking to make all of this thread-safe.  While the Invoke structure is a pain in the rear, I'm glad they reserve all of this locking to a few select methods that handle all of the thread safe operations.
Since this is an Invoke there is additional code required to make sure the operation happens synchronously.  The ThreadMethodEntry implements IAsyncResult directly, so on Invoke calls, we check to make sure it isn't already completed (a call to IsCompleted), and if it isn't, we grab the AsyncWaitHandle and do a WaitOne call.  This will block our thread until the operation completes and we can return our value.  Why did we make a call to IsCompleted first?  Well, remember that call we made to InvokeMarshaledCallbacks?  Well, when we do that our operation will already be complete once we get to that portion of the code.  If we didn't make this check and instead just started a WaitOne on the handle, we'd hang indefinitely.
Once the operation either completes or was already completed, we look for any exceptions.  If there are exceptions, we throw them.  Here have some exceptions they say ;-)  If no exceptions were thrown then we return a special return value property stored on the ThreadMethodEntry.  This value is set in InvokeMarshaledCallbacks when we invoke the delegate.
If you are running off the UI thread, how do things change?  Well, we don't have the special same thread operation involved this time, so instead we post a message to the marshaling control.  This is a special message that is constructed using some internal properties and then registered using RegisterWindowMessage.  This ensures that all controls will use the same message for this callback preventing us from register a bunch of custom windows messages.
InvokeMarshaledCallbacks is an important method since it gets called both synchronously if we are on the same thread as the UI and from the WndProc in the case we aren't.  This is where all of the action of calling our delegate happens and so it is where we'll be next.
5.  InvokeMarshaledCallbacks and how it handles the callback queueThis method is deep.  Since it has to be thread safe, we get lots of locking (even though we should only call this method from the UI thread, we have to make sure we don't step on others that are accessing the queue to add items, while we remove them).  Note that this method will continue processing the entire queue of delegates, and not just one.  Calling this method is very expensive, especially if you have a large number of delegates queued up.  You can start to better understand the performance possibilities of asynchronous programming and how you should avoid queuing up multiple delegates that are going to do the same thing (hum, maybe that IAsyncResult will come in handy after all ;-)
We start by grabbing the delegate queue and grabbing a start entry.  Then we start up a loop to process all of the entries.  Each time through the loop the current delegate entry gets updated and as soon as we run out of elements, the loop exits.  If you were to start an asynchronous delegate from inside of another asynchronous delegate, you could probably hang your system because of the way this queue works.  So you should be careful.
The top of the loop does work with the stack.  We grab the current stack so we can restore it later, then set the compressed stack that was saved onto the ThreadMethodEntry.  That'll ensure our security model is in place.  Then we run the delegate.  There are some defaults.  For instance, if the type is MethodInvoker, we cast it and call it using a method that yields better performance.  If the method is of type EventHandler, then we automatically set the parameters used to call the EventHandler.  In this case the sender will be the original caller, and the EventArgs will be EventArgs.Empty.  This is pretty sweet, since it simplifies calling EventHandler definitions.  It also means we can't change the sender or target of an EventHandler definition, so you have to be careful.
If the delegate isn't of one of the two special types then we do a DynamicInvoke on it.  This is a special method on all delegates and we simply pass in our argument array.  The return value is stored on our ThreadMethodEntry and we continue.  The only special case is that of an exception.  If an exception is thrown, we store the exception on the ThreadMethodEntry and continue.
Exiting our delegate calling code, we reset the stack frame to the saved stack frame.  We then call Complete on our ThreadMethodEntry to signal anybody waiting for it to finish.  If we are running asynchronously and there were exceptions we call Application.OnThreadException().  You may have noticed these exceptions happening in the background when you call BeginInvoke in your application, and this is where they come from.  With all of that complete, we are done.  That concludes all of the code required to understand an Invoke call, but we still have some other cases for BeginInvoke, so let's look at those.
6.  BeginInvoke operation on the UI thread and from a different threadHow much different is BeginInvoke from the basic Invoke paradigm?  Well, not much.  There are only a couple of notes, so I don't take a bunch of your time redefining all of the logic we already discussed.  The first change is how we call MarshaledInvoke.  Instead of specifying true for running synchronously we instead specify false.  There is also no special case for running synchronously on the UI thread, instead we always post a message to the windows pump.  Finally, rather than having synchronization code on the ThreadMethodEntry, we return it immediately as an IAsyncResult that can be used to determine when the method has completed later or with EndInvoke.
That is where all of the new logic is, EndInvoke.  You see, we need additional logic for retrieving the result of the operation and making sure it is completed.  EndInvoke can be a blocking operation if IsCompleted is not already true on the IAsyncResult.  So basically, we do a bunch of checks to make sure the IAsyncResult passed in really is a ThreadMethodEntry.  If it is, and it hasn't completed, we do the same synchronization logic we did on the Invoke version, with some small changes.  First, we try to do an InvokeMarshaledCallbacks if we are on the same thread.  This is similar to the same thread synchronization we did in the first case.  If we aren't on the same thread, then we wait on the AsyncWaitHandle.  They have some code that is dangerously close to looking like a race condition here, but I think they've properly instrumented everything to prevent that scenario.
As we fall through all of the synchronization we again check for exceptions.  Just like with Invoke we throw them if we have them.  A lot of people don't catch these exceptions or assume they won't happen, so a lot of asynchronous code tends to fail.  Catch your exceptions people ;-)  If no exceptions were thrown then we return the value from the delegate and everything is done.
You see, not many changes are required in order to implement BeginInvoke over top of the same code we used in Invoke.  We've already covered the changes in InvokeMarshaledCallbacks, so we appear to be complete.  Time for a sample.
7.  UCS 3: Using BeginInvoke to change a property after other events are processed, and why it can failSometimes events in Windows Forms can transpire against you.  The classic example I use to explain this process is the AfterNodeSelect event of the TreeView control.  I generally use this event in order to update a ListBox or other control somewhere on the form, and often you want to transfer focus to a new control, probably the ListBox.  If you try to set the Focus within the event handler, then later on when the TreeView gets control back after the event, it sets the Focus right back to itself.  You feel like nothing happened, even though it did.
You can easily fix this by using a BeginInvoke to set focus instead.  We'll call Focus directly so we need to define a new delegate.  We'll call it a BoolMethodInvoker since Focus() returns a bool, we can't just use the basic MethodInvoker delegate (what a shame eh?)
// Declare the delegate outside of your class or as a nested class member
private delegate bool BoolMethodInvoker();

// Issue this call from your event instead of invoking it directly.
listPictures.BeginInvoke(new BoolMethodInvoker(listPictures.Focus));
Now, knowing a bit about how the BeginInvoke stuff works, there is a way to screw yourself over.  First, your method may get executed VERY soon.  As a matter of fact, the next message on the pump might be a marshalling message, and then other messages in the pump that you wanted to go after might still be executed after you.  In many cases your method calls will still generate even more messages so this can be circumvented a bit, but possibly not.
There is a second issue as well.  If another code source calls an Invoke and you are on the UI thread, then your method may get processed even before the event handlers are done executing and the TreeView gets control back to make it's focus call.  This is an edge case, but you can imagine you might run into scenarios where you want some asynchronous operations and some synchronous.  You need to be aware than any synchronous call can possibly affect your asynchronous calls and cause them to be processed.
8.  Public and Internal Methods covered with a short description of what they doThese are all of the public and internal methods that we covered and what they do.  Kind of a quick reference.  I'll probably find this very helpful later when I'm trying to derive some new functionality and I don't want to have to read my entire article.
  • InvokeRequired - Finds the most appropriate control and uses the handle of that control to get the thread id that created it.  If this thread id is different than the thread id of the current thread then an invoke is required, else it is not.  This method uses a number of internal methods to solve the issue of the most appropriate control.
  • Invoke - This method sets up a brand new synchronous marshalled delegate.  The delegate is marshalled to the UI thread while your thread waits for the return value.
  • BeginInvoke - This method sets up a brand new asynchronous marshalled delegate.  The delegate is marshalled to the UI thread while your thread continues to operate.  An extended usage of this method allows you to continue working on the UI thread and then yield execution to the message pump allowing the delegate to be called.
  • EndInvoke - This method allows you to retrieve the return value of a delegate run by the BeginInvoke call.  If the delegate hasn't returned yet, EndInvoke will hang until it does.  If the delegate is alread complete, then the return value is retrieved immediately.
  • MarshaledInvoke - This method queues up marshaling actions for both the Invoke and BeginInvoke layers.  Depending on the circumstances this method can either immediately execute the delegates (running on the same thread) or send a message into the message pump.  It also handles wait actions during the Invoke process or returns an IAsyncResult for use in BeginInvoke.
  • InvokeMarshaledCallbacks - This method is where all of your delegates get run.  This method is either called from MarshaledInvoke or WndProc depending on the circumstances.  Once inside of this method, the entire queue of delegates is run through and all events are signalled allowing any blocking calls to operate (Invoke or EndInvoke calls) and setting all IAsyncResult objects to the IsCompleted = true state.  This method also handles exception logic allowing exceptions to be thrown back on the original thread for Invoke calls or tossed into the applications thread exception layer if you are using BeginInvoke and were running asynchronous delegates.
  • FindMarshallingControl - Walks the control tree from current back up the control hierarchy until a valid control is found for purposes of finding the UI thread id.  If the control hierarchy doesn't contain a control with a valid handle, then a special parking window is retrieved.  This method is used by many of the other methods since a marshalling control is the first step in marshalling a delegate to the UI thread.
  • Application.GetParkingWindow - This method takes a control and finds the marking window for it.  If the control has a valid handle then the thread id of the control is found, the ThreadContext for that thread is retreived, and the parking window is returned.  If the control does not have a valid handle then the ThreadContext of the current thread is retrieved and the parking window is returned.  If no context is found (really shouldn't happen) null is returned.
  • ThreadContext.FromId - This method takes a thread id and indexes a special hash to find the context for the given thread.  If one doesn't exist then a new ThreadContext is created and returned in it's place.
  • ThreadContext.FromCurrent - This method grabs the current ThreadContext out of thread local storage.  I'm guessing this must be faster than getting the current thread id and indexing the context hash, else why would they use thread local storage at all?
  • ThreadContext..ctor() - This is the most confusing IL to examine, but it appears the constructor does some self registration into a context hash that the other methods use to get the context for a given thread.  They wind up using some of the Thread methods, namely SetData, to register things into thread local storage.  Why they use thread local storage and a context hash indexed by thread ID, I'm just not sure.
9.  Conclusion
You've learned quite a bit about the Windows Forms marshalling pump today and how it handles all of the various methods of cross thread marshalling.  You've also gotten a peak deeper into the Windows Forms source through a very detailed IL inspection.  I've come up with some derived concepts based on this whole process, so maybe these will lead into some even more compelling articles.  Even more importantly, we've learned how the process can break down if we are expecting a specific order of events.
I had never fully examined this code before, so even I was surprised at some of what I found.  For instance, the performance implications of calling the same method multiple times asynchronously might be something that should be considered.  Knowing that all delegates will be processed in a tight loop is pretty huge and that items can be queued while others are being dequeued (aka you can hang yourself).  Finally, the realization that if you use an EventHandler type, you can't pass in the sender explicitly might lead to confusion for some folks.  After all, if you mock up an arguments array and pass it to Invoke or BeginInvoke you would expect it to be used.

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