F# - Events


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Events allow classes to send and receive messages between one another.

In GUI, events are user actions like key press, clicks, mouse movements, etc., or some occurrence like system generated notifications. Applications need to respond to events when they occur. For example, interrupts. Events are used for inter-process communication.

Objects communicate with one another through synchronous message passing.

Events are attached to other functions; objects register callback functions to an event, and these callbacks are executed when (and if) the event is triggered by some object.

The Event Class and Event Module

The Control.Event<'T> Class helps in creating an observable object or event.

It has the following instance members to work with the events −

Member Description
Publish Publishes an observation as a first class value.
Trigger Triggers an observation using the given parameters.

The Control.Event Module provides functions for managing event streams −

Value Description
add : ('T → unit) → Event<'Del,'T> → unit Runs the given function each time the given event is triggered.
choose : ('T → 'U option) → IEvent<'Del,'T> → IEvent<'U> Returns a new event which fires on a selection of messages from the original event. The selection function takes an original message to an optional new message.
filter : ('T → bool) → IEvent<'Del,'T> → IEvent<'T> Returns a new event that listens to the original event and triggers the resulting event only when the argument to the event passes the given function.
map : ('T → 'U) → IEvent<'Del, 'T> → IEvent<'U> Returns a new event that passes values transformed by the given function.
merge : IEvent<'Del1,'T> → IEvent<'Del2,'T> → IEvent<'T> Fires the output event when either of the input events fire.
pairwise : IEvent<'Del,'T> → IEvent<'T * 'T> Returns a new event that triggers on the second and subsequent triggering of the input event. The Nth triggering of the input event passes the arguments from the N-1th and Nth triggering as a pair. The argument passed to the N-1th triggering is held in hidden internal state until the Nth triggering occurs.
partition : ('T → bool) → IEvent<'Del,'T> → IEvent<'T> * IEvent<'T> Returns a new event that listens to the original event and triggers the first resulting event if the application of the predicate to the event arguments returned true, and the second event if it returned false.
scan : ('U → 'T → 'U) → 'U → IEvent<'Del,'T> → IEvent<'U> Returns a new event consisting of the results of applying the given accumulating function to successive values triggered on the input event. An item of internal state records the current value of the state parameter. The internal state is not locked during the execution of the accumulation function, so care should be taken that the input IEvent not triggered by multiple threads simultaneously.
split : ('T → Choice<'U1,'U2>) → IEvent<'Del,'T> → IEvent<'U1> * IEvent<'U2> Returns a new event that listens to the original event and triggers the first resulting event if the application of the function to the event arguments returned a Choice1Of2, and the second event if it returns a Choice2Of2.

Creating Events

Events are created and used through the Event class. The Event constructor is used for creating an event.

Example

type Worker(name : string, shift : string) =
   let mutable _name = name;
   let mutable _shift = shift;
   let nameChanged = new Event<unit>() (* creates event *)
   let shiftChanged = new Event<unit>() (* creates event *)

   member this.Name
      with get() = _name
      and set(value) = _name <- value

   member this.Shift
      with get() = _shift
      and set(value) = _shift <- value

After this you need to expose the nameChanged field as a public member, so that the listeners can hook onto the event for which, you use the Publish property of the event −

type Worker(name : string, shift : string) =
   let mutable _name = name;
   let mutable _shift = shift;

   let nameChanged = new Event<unit>() (* creates event *)
   let shiftChanged = new Event<unit>() (* creates event *)

   member this.NameChanged = nameChanged.Publish (* exposed event handler *)
   member this.ShiftChanged = shiftChanged.Publish (* exposed event handler *)

   member this.Name
      with get() = _name
      and set(value) = _name <- value
      nameChanged.Trigger() (* invokes event handler *)

   member this.Shift
      with get() = _shift
      and set(value) = _shift <- value
   shiftChanged.Trigger() (* invokes event handler *)

Next, you add callbacks to event handlers. Each event handler has the type IEvent<'T>, which provides several methods −

Method Description
val Add : event:('T → unit) → unit Connects a listener function to the event. The listener will be invoked when the event is fired.
val AddHandler : 'del → unit Connects a handler delegate object to the event. A handler can be later removed using RemoveHandler. The listener will be invoked when the event is fired.
val RemoveHandler : 'del → unit Removes a listener delegate from an event listener store.

The following section provides a complete example.

Example

The following example demonstrates the concept and techniques discussed above −

Live Demo
type Worker(name : string, shift : string) =
   let mutable _name = name;
   let mutable _shift = shift;

   let nameChanged = new Event<unit>() (* creates event *)
   let shiftChanged = new Event<unit>() (* creates event *)

   member this.NameChanged = nameChanged.Publish (* exposed event handler *)
   member this.ShiftChanged = shiftChanged.Publish (* exposed event handler *)

   member this.Name
      with get() = _name
      and set(value) = 
         _name <- value
         nameChanged.Trigger() (* invokes event handler *)

   member this.Shift
      with get() = _shift
      and set(value) = 
         _shift <- value
         shiftChanged.Trigger() (* invokes event handler *)

let wk = new Worker("Wilson", "Evening")
wk.NameChanged.Add(fun () -> printfn "Worker changed name! New name: %s" wk.Name)
wk.Name <- "William"
wk.NameChanged.Add(fun () -> printfn "-- Another handler attached to NameChanged!")
wk.Name <- "Bill"

wk.ShiftChanged.Add(fun () -> printfn "Worker changed shift! New shift: %s" wk.Shift)
wk.Shift <- "Morning"
wk.ShiftChanged.Add(fun () -> printfn "-- Another handler attached to ShiftChanged!")
wk.Shift <- "Night"

When you compile and execute the program, it yields the following output −

Worker changed name! New name: William
Worker changed name! New name: Bill
-- Another handler attached to NameChanged!
Worker changed shift! New shift: Morning
Worker changed shift! New shift: Night
-- Another handler attached to ShiftChanged!


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