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Understanding EventEmitter In Node.js

ยท 3 min read
Parth Maheta

In Node.js, the EventEmitter class is a core module that facilitates the implementation of the Observer pattern. It allows objects to emit and listen for events. This mechanism is widely used in Node.js for handling asynchronous operations and building event-driven architectures. Below is an example demonstrating the use of EventEmitter:

const EventEmitter = require('events');

// Create an instance of EventEmitter
const myEmitter = new EventEmitter();

// Registering an event listener
myEmitter.on('event', (arg1, arg2) => {
console.log('Event occurred with arguments:', arg1, arg2);

// Emitting an event
myEmitter.emit('event', 'Argument 1', 'Argument 2');

In this example:

  1. We create an instance of EventEmitter named myEmitter.
  2. We register an event listener for the event named 'event' using the on method. The listener takes two arguments, arg1 and arg2, representing the arguments passed when the event is emitted.
  3. We emit the 'event' with the emit method, providing 'Argument 1' and 'Argument 2' as arguments.

When the event is emitted, the associated listener is invoked, and the output will be:

Event occurred with arguments: Argument 1 Argument 2

Handling Events Asynchronouslyโ€‹

EventEmitter supports asynchronous event handling using async functions or the setImmediate function. Here's an example:

const EventEmitter = require('events');

const myEmitter = new EventEmitter();

myEmitter.on('asyncEvent', async (arg) => {
// Simulate an asynchronous operation
await new Promise((resolve) => setTimeout(resolve, 1000));

console.log('Async event completed with argument:', arg);

myEmitter.emit('asyncEvent', 'Async Argument');

In this example, the event listener is an asynchronous function that simulates an asynchronous operation using a Promise. The event emission will not block the execution, and the output will be:

Async event completed with argument: Async Argument

Handling Onceโ€‹

You can use the once method to register a one-time listener that will be automatically removed after it's invoked once:

const EventEmitter = require('events');

const myEmitter = new EventEmitter();

myEmitter.once('onceEvent', () => {
console.log('This listener will be invoked only once.');

myEmitter.emit('onceEvent'); // This will not trigger the listener again

Error Eventsโ€‹

The EventEmitter emits a special 'error' event if an error occurs and there are no listeners registered for that event. It's a good practice to handle 'error' events to avoid unhandled exceptions:

const EventEmitter = require('events');

const myEmitter = new EventEmitter();

myEmitter.on('error', (err) => {
console.error('Error occurred:', err.message);

myEmitter.emit('error', new Error('Something went wrong'));

By handling 'error' events, you prevent Node.js from terminating your process due to unhandled exceptions.

This is a basic overview of using EventEmitter in Node.js. It's a versatile tool for building event-driven applications and handling asynchronous workflows.