A background thread is an inactive task that can be executed on a separate processor. It has the ability to execute concurrently with other tasks, which means it doesn’t have to wait its turn. This allows for more processing power and time efficiency in some cases.
Other times, using the same resource (processor) for multiple things at once will slow down your program’s performance because it takes more steps for one task to complete than if you only use one processor at a time.
For this reason, programmers often use their best judgment when deciding if they should create or utilize background threads in their programs.
You may also notice that many of these terms are used interchangeably — multitasking vs multithreading vs multiprocessing. They all mean the same thing: running more than one task at the same time.
So if you hear someone talking about running multiple processes on a single machine, they are referring to multiprocessing, and if they mention running multiple threads on a single process, they are referring to multithreading.
The important thing is to understand the difference between them so you can make the best decisions for your own applications.
So what are some benefits of using background threads?
One benefit is that it can help improve performance by allowing tasks to run concurrently. This means that the tasks don’t have to wait in line, which can save time and processing power.
Another benefit is that background threads don’t use up all of the resources on your computer.
As for disadvantages, background threads are complex to write and can be difficult to debug. They also contribute to memory bloat.
They are not the best solution in every situation, but they are good to have in your programming tool belt just in case.