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In C#, a class can define events and other classes can register with them to be notified when something happens. This is useful for a desktop application or standalone windows service, but for a web application it's a bit problematic since objects are created in a web request and are short-lived. It's hard to register some class events. Directly registering to another class's event makes classes tightly coupled.

Domain events can be used to decouple business logic and to react to important domain changes in an application.

EventBus

The EventBus is a singleton object that is shared by other classes to trigger and handle events. To use the event bus, you need to get a reference to it. You can do that in two ways.

Injecting IEventBus

You can use dependency injection to get a reference to the IEventBus. Here, we used the property injection pattern:

public class TaskAppService : ApplicationService
{
    public IEventBus EventBus { get; set; }

    public TaskAppService()
    {
        EventBus = NullEventBus.Instance;
    }
}

Property injection is more proper than a constructor injection when injecting the event bus. This way, your class can work without the event bus. NullEventBus implements the null object pattern. When you call its methods, it does nothing at all.

Getting The Default Instance

If you can not inject it, you can directly use EventBus.Default. It's the global event bus and it can be used as shown:

EventBus.Default.Trigger(...); //trigger an event

We do not recommend that you directly use EventBus.Default, since it makes unit testing harder.

Defining Events

Before you can trigger an event, you need to first define it. An event is represented by a class that is derived from EventData. Assume that we want to trigger an event when a task is completed:

public class TaskCompletedEventData : EventData
{
    public int TaskId { get; set; }
}

This class contains properties that are needed by the class that handles the event. The EventData class defines the EventSource (the object that triggered the event) and the EventTime (when it's triggered) properties.

Predefined Events

Handled Exceptions

ASP.NET Boilerplate defines AbpHandledExceptionData and triggers this event when it automatically handles an exception. This is especially useful if you want to get more information about exceptions (ASP.NET Boilerplate automatically logs all exceptions). You can register to this event to be informed when an exception occurs.

Entity Changes

There are also generic event data classes for entity changes: EntityCreatingEventData<TEntity>, EntityCreatedEventData<TEntity>, EntityUpdatingEventData<TEntity>, EntityUpdatedEventData<TEntity>, EntityDeletingEventData<TEntity> and EntityDeletedEventData<TEntity>. Also, there are EntityChangingEventData<TEntity> and EntityChangedEventData<TEntity>. A change can be insert, update or delete.

'ing' events (e.g. EntityUpdating) are triggered before committing a transaction. This way, you can rollback the unit of work and prevent an operation by throwing an exception. 'ed' events (e.g. EntityUpdated) are triggered after committing a transaction, for which you cannot rollback the unit of work.

Entity change events are defined in the Abp.Events.Bus.Entities namespace and are automatically triggered by ASP.NET Boilerplate when an entity is inserted, updated or deleted. If you have a Person entity, you can register to EntityCreatedEventData<Person> to be informed when a new Person is created and inserted into the database. These events also support inheritance. If the Student class is derived from the Person class and you registered to EntityCreatedEventData<Person>, you will be informed when a Person or Student is inserted.

Triggering Events

Triggering an event is simple:

public class TaskAppService : ApplicationService
{
    public IEventBus EventBus { get; set; }

    public TaskAppService()
    {
        EventBus = NullEventBus.Instance;
    }

    public void CompleteTask(CompleteTaskInput input)
    {
        //TODO: complete the task in the database...
        EventBus.Trigger(new TaskCompletedEventData {TaskId = 42});
    }
}

There are some overloads of the trigger method:

EventBus.Trigger<TaskCompletedEventData>(new TaskCompletedEventData { TaskId = 42 }); //Explicitly declare generic argument
EventBus.Trigger(this, new TaskCompletedEventData { TaskId = 42 }); //Set 'event source' as 'this'
EventBus.Trigger(typeof(TaskCompletedEventData), this, new TaskCompletedEventData { TaskId = 42 }); //Call non-generic version (first argument is the type of the event class)

Another way of triggering events is to use the DomainEvents collection of an AggregateRoot class (/Pages/Documents/see related section in the [Entity documentation]Entities)).

Handling Events

To handle an event, you should implement the IEventHandler<T> interface as shown below:

public class ActivityWriter : IEventHandler<TaskCompletedEventData>, ITransientDependency
{
    public void HandleEvent(TaskCompletedEventData eventData)
    {
        WriteActivity("A task is completed by id = " + eventData.TaskId);
    }
}

The IEventHandler defines a HandleEvent method and implements it as shown above.

EventBus is integrated into the dependency injection system. We implemented ITransientDependency (above), so when a TaskCompleted event occurs, it creates a new instance of the ActivityWriter class, calls its HandleEvent method, and then disposes it. See dependency injection for more info.

Handling Base Events

Eventbus supports the inheritance of events. For example, you can create a TaskEventData base class with two derived classes: TaskCompletedEventData and TaskCreatedEventData:

public class TaskEventData : EventData
{
    public Task Task { get; set; }
}

public class TaskCreatedEventData : TaskEventData
{
    public User CreatorUser { get; set; }
}

public class TaskCompletedEventData : TaskEventData
{
    public User CompletorUser { get; set; }
}

You can then implement IEventHandler<TaskEventData> to handle both of these events:

public class ActivityWriter : IEventHandler<TaskEventData>, ITransientDependency
{
    public void HandleEvent(TaskEventData eventData)
    {
        if (eventData is TaskCreatedEventData)
        {
            //...
        }
        else if (eventData is TaskCompletedEventData)
        {
            //...
        }
    }
}

You can implement IEventHandler<EventData> to handle all the events in an application. You probably don't want that, but it's possible.

Exception Handlers

The EventBus triggers all handlers even if any of them throw an exception. If only one of them throws an exception, then it's directly thrown by the Trigger method. If more than one handler throws an exception, EventBus throws a single AggregateException for all of them.

Handling Multiple Events

You can handle multiple events in a single handler. If so, you should implement IEventHandler<T> for each event. Example:

public class ActivityWriter :
    IEventHandler<TaskCompletedEventData>,
    IEventHandler<TaskCreatedEventData>,
    ITransientDependency
{
    public void HandleEvent(TaskCompletedEventData eventData)
    {
        //TODO: handle the event...
    }

    public void HandleEvent(TaskCreatedEventData eventData)
    {
        //TODO: handle the event...
    }
}

Registration Of Handlers

We have to register handlers to the event bus in order to handle events.

Automatically

ASP.NET Boilerplate finds all the classes that implement IEventHandler that are registered with dependency injection (for example, by implementing ITransientDependency as the samples above). It then registers them to the event bus automatically. When an event occurs, it uses dependency injection to get a reference to the handler and, after handling the event, releases it. This is the suggested way of using the event bus in ASP.NET Boilerplate.

Manually

It is also possible to manually register to events, but use it with caution! In a web application, event registration should be done at the start of the application. It's not a good approach to register to an event in a web request, since registered classes remain registered after the request's completion and would be re-registered for each request. This may cause problems for your application since a registered class can be called multiple times. Keep in mind that manual registrations do not use the dependency injection system.

There are some overloads of the register method in the event bus. The simplest one uses a delegate (or a lambda):

EventBus.Register<TaskCompletedEventData>(eventData =>
    {
        WriteActivity("A task is completed by id = " + eventData.TaskId);
    });

When a 'task completed' event occurs, this lambda method is called. The second one waits for an object that implements IEventHandler<T>:

EventBus.Register<TaskCompletedEventData>(new ActivityWriter());

The same instance of ActivityWriter is called for events. This method also has a non-generic overload. Another overload accepts two generic arguments:

EventBus.Register<TaskCompletedEventData, ActivityWriter>();

In this case, the event bus creates a new ActivityWriter for each event. It then calls the ActivityWriter.Dispose method if it's disposable.

Lastly, you can register an event handler factory to handle the creation of handlers. A handler factory has two methods: GetHandler and ReleaseHandler. Example:

public class ActivityWriterFactory : IEventHandlerFactory
{
    public IEventHandler GetHandler()
    {
        return new ActivityWriter();
    }

    public void ReleaseHandler(IEventHandler handler)
    {
        //TODO: release/dispose the activity writer instance (handler)
    }
}

There is also a special factory class, IocHandlerFactory, that can be used with the dependency injection system to create and release handlers. ASP.NET Boilerplate also uses this class in automatic registrations, so if you want to use the dependency injection system, directly use the automatic registration as defined above.

Unregistration

When you manually register to an event bus, you may want to unregister the event later. The simplest way of unregistering an event is disposing the return value of the Register method. Example:

//Register to an event...
var registration = EventBus.Register<TaskCompletedEventData>(eventData => WriteActivity("A task is completed by id = " + eventData.TaskId) );

//Unregister from event
registration.Dispose();

Most likely, the unregistration will be somewhere else and at a later time. Keep the registration object and dispose it when you want to unregister. All overloads of the Register method return a disposable object to unregister to the event.

The EventBus also provides the Unregister method. Example usage:

//Create a handler
var handler = new ActivityWriter();

//Register to the event
EventBus.Register<TaskCompletedEventData>(handler);

//Unregister from event
EventBus.Unregister<TaskCompletedEventData>(handler);

This also provides overloads to unregister delegates and factories. Unregistering a handler object must be done on the same object which was registered before.

Lastly, EventBus provides a UnregisterAll<T>() method to unregister all the handlers of an event and a UnregisterAll() method to unregister all the handlers of all the events.