wqking / eventpp翻译 / 编辑





eventpp -- C++ library for event dispatcher and callback list

eventpp provides tools that allow your application components to communicate with each other by dispatching events and listening to them. With eventpp you can implement signal/slot mechanism, or observer pattern, very easily.

Facts and features

  • Template based, less runtime overhead, unlimited possibilities. The event and callback can be almost any C++ types meeting minimum requirements.
  • Supports nested event. A listener can dispatch event, append/prepend/insert/remove other listeners during capturing an event safely.
  • Support event filter.
  • Thread safe.
  • Requires C++ 11 (tested with MSVC 2017, MSVC 2015, MinGW (Msys) gcc 7.2, and Ubuntu gcc 5.4).
  • Backed by unit tests.
  • Written in portable and standard C++. (I'm not a C++ standard expert so if you find any non-standard code or undefined behavior please let me know.)
  • Doesn't depend on any other libraries.
  • Header only, no source file, no need to build.


Apache License, Version 2.0
If you have trouble with the license, contact me.

Source code


Quick start



Using EventDispatcher

// Add the folder *include* to include path.
#include "eventpp/eventdispatcher.h"

// The namespace is eventpp
// The first template parameter int is the event type,
// the event type can be any type such as std::string, int, etc.
// The second is the prototype of the listener.
eventpp::EventDispatcher<int, void ()> dispatcher;

// Add a listener. As the type of dispatcher,
// here 3 and 5 is the event type,
// []() {} is the listener.
// Lambda is not required, any function or std::function
// or whatever function object with the required prototype is fine.
dispatcher.appendListener(3, []() {
	std::cout << "Got event 3." << std::endl;
dispatcher.appendListener(5, []() {
	std::cout << "Got event 5." << std::endl;
dispatcher.appendListener(5, []() {
	std::cout << "Got another event 5." << std::endl;

// Dispatch the events, the first argument is always the event type.

Using CallbackList

// Add the folder *include* to include path.
#include "eventpp/callbacklist.h"

// The namespace is eventpp
// The callback list prototype has two parameters.
eventpp::CallbackList<void (const std::string &, const bool)> callbackList;

callbackList.append([](const std::string & s, const bool b) {
	std::cout << std::boolalpha << "Got callback 1, s is " << s << " b is " << b << std::endl;
// The callback prototype doesn't need to be exactly same as the callback list.
// It would be find as long as the arguments is compatible with the callbacklist.
callbackList.append([](std::string s, int b) {
	std::cout << std::boolalpha << "Got callback 2, s is " << s << " b is " << b << std::endl;

// Invoke the callback list
callbackList("Hello world", true);


EventDispatcher VS CallbackList

In brief, EventDispatcher equals to std::map<EventType, CallbackList>.
CallbackList holds a list of callbacks. On invocation, CallbackList simply invokes each callbacks one by one. Think CallbackList as the signal/slot system in Qt, or the callback function pointer in some Windows APIs (such as lpCompletionRoutine in ReadFileEx).
EventDispatcher holds a map of EventType, CallbackList pairs. On dispatching, EventDispatcher finds the CallbackList at the event type, then invoke the callback list. Think EventDispatcher as the event system (QEvent) in Qt, or the message processing in Windows.

CallbackList is ideal when there are very few kinds of events. Each event can have its own CallbackList, and each CallbackList can have different prototype. For example,

eventpp::CallbackList<void()> onStart;
eventpp::CallbackList<void(MyStopReason)> onStop;

However, if there are lots of kinds of events, hundreds to unlimited (this is quite common in a GUI or game system), using CallbackList for each events will be crazy. This is how EventDispatcher comes useful.

EventDispatcher is ideal when there are lots of kinds of events, or the number of events can't be determined. Each event is distinguished by an event type. For example,

enum class MyEventType
	//... maybe 200 other events here

struct MyEvent {
	MyEventType type;
	// data that all events may need

struct MyEventTypeGetter : public eventpp::EventGetterBase
	using Event = MyEventType;

	static Event getEvent(const std::shared_ptr<MyEvent> & e) {
		return e->type;

eventpp::EventDispatcher<MyEventTypeGetter, void(std::shared_ptr<MyEvent>)> dispatcher;

(Note: if you are confused with MyEventTypeGetter in above sample, please read the "Event getter" section in Event dispatcher, and just consider the dispatcher as eventpp::EventDispatcher<MyEventType, void(std::shared_ptr<MyEvent>)> dispatcher for now.)
The disadvantage of EventDispatcher is that all events must have the same callback prototype (void(std::shared_ptr<MyEvent>) in the sample code). The common solution is that the callback takes a base class of Event and all events derive their own event data from Event. In the sample code, MyEvent is the base event class, the callback takes one argument of shared pointer to MyEvent.
The advantage of EventDispatcher is it has more features than CallbackList, such as event queue.

Build the unit tests

The library itself is header only and doesn't need building.
The unit test requires CMake to build, and there is a makefile to ease the building.
Go to folder tests/build, then run make with different target.

  • make vc17 #generate solution files for Microsoft Visual Studio 2017, then open eventpptest.sln in folder project_vc17
  • make vc15 #generate solution files for Microsoft Visual Studio 2015, then open eventpptest.sln in folder project_vc15
  • make mingw #build using MinGW
  • make linux #build on Linux


I (wqking) am a big fan of observer pattern (publish/subscribe pattern), I used such pattern a lot in my code. I either used GCallbackList in my cpgf library which is too simple and not safe, or repeated coding event dispatching mechanism such as I did in my Gincu game engine. Both approaches are neither fun nor robust.
Thanking to C++11, now it's quite easy to write a reusable event library with beautiful syntax (it's a nightmare to simulate the variadic template in C++03), so here comes eventpp.