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An object-oriented event handling framework where events are registered by classes and then broadcasted by individual objects. Listening for events from specific objects is made easy.

Project description

This module provides an object-oriented event handling framework. In this framework, events are registered by classes and then broadcasted by individual objects. Listening for events from specific objects is made easy.

Simple Example

The most important parts of this framework are the Dispatcher class and the event() decorator. Dispatcher is a base class for objects that that want to broadcast events and the event decorator is used to register events.

>>> from kemepo import Dispatcher, event
>>> class Button (Dispatcher):
        def on_press(self):
            print('Calling internal handler')

The method decorated by event() is taken to be the “internal handler”, distinct from any “external observers” that may be attached using connect() later on. When an event is triggered using handle(), the internal handler is called before the external observers.

>>> button = Button()
>>> button.connect(on_press=lambda: print('Calling external observer.'))
>>> button.handle('on_press')
Calling internal handler.
Calling external observer.


KeepMePosted can be installed from PyPI:

$ pip install kemepo

You can also download the source code directly from GitHub. The code is made available under the MIT license. If you find the code useful and want to make improvements, feel free to make pull requests:

$ git clone kemepo

Registering Events

Within this framework, objects can only broadcast events that have already been registered with their class. Typically, events are registered when the class is created using the event() decorator:

>>> class CheckBox (Dispatcher):
        def on_check(self):
            print('Calling internal handler')

This registers a new event based on the given method. The name of the event is the name of the method, and the method itself becomes the internal handler for that type of event. Furthermore, the argument signature and the docstring of the handler are used for error checking and documentation, respectively. This information is often useful even if the handler itself is left unimplemented.

It is possible to register new events without using the event decorator. The advantage of doing this is that you can register events after the class has been created. You also don’t need to specify an internal handler (the second argument) when manually registering events, although doing so provides improved error checking and documentation, as discussed above.

>>> CheckBox.register_event('on_uncheck', lambda: None)

All that said, you should very rarely need to manually register events. In the typical case, the event() decorator should be preferred.

Triggering Events

There are two ways to trigger an event: handle() and notify(). The difference concerns the internal handler (i.e. the callback used the register the event), which is called by handle() and not called by notify(). Referring back to the button example from the first section:

>>> button.handle('on_press')
Calling internal handler.
Calling external observer.
>>> button.notify('on_press')
Calling external observer.

Usually you should use notify(). Use notify() only in cases where notify() would create infinite recursion. If you simply don’t want the internal handler to do anything, just leave it unimplemented.

Reacting to Events

Although only objects that inherit from Dispatcher can broadcast events, any callback can be used to react to events. The connect() method provides a very flexible interface for connecting observers to dispatchers. In particular, observers can be provided either as keyword arguments mapping event names to callbacks or as objects with method names matching event names.

The former approach is probably more intuitive. Any type of callable can be used as an observer callback, including functions and lambda functions.

>>> def observer_function(): print("Calling an observer function.")
>>> button.connect(on_press=observer_function)
>>> button.connect(on_press=lambda: print("Calling an observer lambda."))

The latter approach provides a powerful way to listen to many events from the same object. Provide any number of arguments to connect, and each will be searched for methods with names matching registered events. Those methods will be connected as observers of those events.

>>> class Observer:
        def on_press(self):
            print("Calling an observer method.")
>>> observer_object = Observer()
>>> button.connect(observer_object)

No matter an observer is specified, it must have the same argument signature as the internal handler used to register the event. A TypeError will be raised otherwise.

Events can be disconnected using the disconnect() method.

>>> button.disconnect(observer_function)
>>> button.disconnect(observer_object)

Error Checking

Strong error checking is possible because events are registered when the class is created. Exceptions are thrown if you attempt any of the following:

  1. Connect to an undefined event.
  2. Handle an undefined event.
  3. Connect an observer that doesn’t have the same argument signature as the internal handler.
  4. Handle an event without providing the arugments expected by the internal handler.

Docstring Generation

One advantage of registering events using the event() decorator (e.g. before the class in question has been created) is that those events can be incorporated into the class docstring. This is useful both for use with help() in the python interpreter and for use with Sphinx for online documentation.

To incorporate event documentation into the docstring of a Dispatcher subclass, just include the string ‘{events}’. This will be replaced by a list of the events that are registered with that class. (Note that only events registered using the event() decorator will be included.) Replacement is done using standard string formatting, so this is roughly what’s going on behind the scenes:

>>> cls.__doc__ = cls.__doc__.format(events=events_docstring)

You can control the exact format of the event documentation using the set_docstring_formatter() function. This function takes one argument, which can either be the name of a built-in formatter or a custom formatter function.

Currently, the two built-in formatters are named pretty and sphinx. The pretty formatter is the default. It’s the more readable of the two and it’s meant to look good in interpreter sessions, but it’s not rendered very nicely by Sphinx (although it does produce legal restructured text). The sphinx formatter is a more heavily marked-up alternative that looks better when rendered by Sphinx. To use the sphinx formatter in Sphinx, but these lines in docs/

>>> import kemepo
>>> kemepo.set_docstring_formatter('sphinx')

This must be done before you import any of your Dispatcher subclasses, because the docstrings are created at the same time as the class itself.

If you want to write a custom formatter, provide a function that accepts a single OrderedDict argument. This is a mapping between event names and EventMetaData objects, in the order that the events were defined. Return a string to incorporate into the class docstring. You may find the format_arg_spec() and format_description() functions useful.

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