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Really Simple Eventing - A tiny set of classes that add infrastructure that auto-registers events and event handlers and executes them either on the current thread or async, without any pesky bindings.

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  • Intro
  • Why Do I Need It?
  • Why Would I Want That?
  • Why Don't I Just Use [Some Enterprise Service Bus]?
  • What This Isn't
  • Configuring My Container
  • Containerless Usage
  • Available Activation Strategies
  • Error Handling
  • Contributors

A tiny set of classes that add infrastructure that auto-registers events and event handlers and executes them either on the current thread or async, without any pesky bindings.

The idea is that you bind the type:


in your IoC container per request scope (or whatever your unit of work is).

To the method:

_eventStream = ReallySimpleEventing.CreateEventStream();

You can then:

_eventStream.Raise(new AnyTypeAtAll());

Anywhere in your codebase.

ReallySimpleEventing will then look for any types that implement IHandle and execute them all. Any types that implement IHandleAsync() will be executed async.

An event handler is very simple, it looks like this:

public class TestHandler<TEventType> : IHandle<TEventType>
    public void Handle(TEventType @event)
        // Do stuff
    public void OnError(TEventType @event, Exception ex)
        // All exceptions are surpressed by default
        // If you wish to really blow the stack, re-throw the ex here.

If you want your handler to execute asynchronously you should instead implement

IHandleAsync<TEventType> // The methods you need to implement are the same

And they can be found anywhere in your appdomain. Obviously, multiple handlers for any given message are supported.

We also support extensibility, you can implement:

  • IEventHandlerResolver - to override the handler detection
  • IHandlerActivationStrategy - to hook in IoC containers
  • IHandlerThreadingStrategy - to change the way the handlers are executed

You can configure these things in your bootstrapping code by setting their properties in the type


Apart from that, a single line IoC binding will get you up and running.

Why Do I Need It?

Events, Event Sourcing, CQRS, all the rage. But you know what's really nice? Instead of having linear procedural code, having a single, obvious atomic operation (i.e. "CreateCustomer") and then having all the side effects fire off discretely, sometimes asyncly, and not right there cluttering up the place.

You can turn:

var customer = new Customer();
using(var tx = _session.BeginTransaction())

var email = new WelcomeEmail(customer);


var customer = new Customer();
using(var tx = _session.BeginTransaction())
_events.Raise(new CustomerCreatedEvent());

And have all the event handlers live elsewhere.

Why Would I Want That?

  • Code cleanliness / sep. of concerns => Make sure methods do only what they say they do
  • Testability => Unit tests need only test what the method does and that an event is raised
  • Performance => Events can be handled off the main worker thread in web apps
  • Open/Closed Principle => Code is "fixed" when complete, and extension is available by adding new event handlers.

Why Don't I Just Use [Some Enterprise Service Bus]?

  • They're big
  • Involve extra infrastructure
  • Require different skills for maintainance
  • Often not needed

What This Isn't

  • A resiliant messaging thing
  • EventSourcing
  • CQRS
  • A replayable event log

Configuring My Container

By default, we use an "ActivatorActivation" strategy to create your event handlers. What this means it that your event handler must have a public parameterless constructor so that Activator.CreateInstance works.

If you have a DI container, you can either:

  • Write your own ActivationStrategy that Implements IHandlerActivationStrategy
  • Use our DelegatedActivationWithDiscovery strategy with a Func passed to it's contructor binding to your container.

You can override the ActivationStrategy by doing this in your App_Start / Bootstrapping code

ReallySimpleEventing.ActivationStrategy = new MyActivationStrategy(); // Your own
ReallySimpleEventing.ActivationStrategy = new DelegatedActivationWithDiscovery(Kernel.GetService); // Delegated activation

The constructor for DelegatedActivationWithDiscovery takes

Func<Type, object> createHandler

Which tends to match a lot of containers. If you want to use a particular feature of your DI container during activation (say "scope per handler") you'll need to implement your own ActivationStrategy. Here's a quick example for Ninject...

public class MyCleverActivationStrategyForNinject : IHandlerActivationStrategy
    private readonly IKernel _ninjectKernel;

    public MyCleverActivationStrategyForNinject(IKernel ninjectKernel)
        _ninjectKernel = ninjectKernel;

    public IEnumerable<IHandle<TEventType>> GetHandlers<TEventType>()
		using(var scope = _ninjectKernel.BeginScope())
			var handler = (IHandle<TEventType>)scope.GetService(handlerType);
			var lst = new List<IHandle<TEventType>>();
			return lst;

Containerless Usage

If you're not using a DI container, you can create the IEventStream where you want to call it.

Creating an EventStream is a cheap operation, as the EventHandlerResolver is statically cached so your handler registrations and the associated reflection will only ever run once. The only expensive operation is the initial static constructor on the ReallySimpleEventing type.

You can basically do this:

ReallySimpleEventing.CreateEventStream().Raise(new MyEvent());

Anywhere in your codebase to raise events. Obviously, due to the use of the static directly, you're going to struggle to unit test the raising of events.

It's worth bearing in mind, that when you don't use a DI container, you're bound the the default "Activator" activation strategy, meaning that any of your event handlers must contain a public parameterless contstructor.

Available Activation Strategies

  • Activator/ActivatorActivation (Default) - Finds all handlers, caches their types, activates them using Activator.CreateInstance();
  • Composed/FirstViableActivatorActivation - Constructed with a collection of IHandlerActivationStrategy. Uses the first thing that returns valid handlers
  • Composed/UnionOfAllActivatorsActivation - Constructed with a collection of IHandlerActivationStrategy. Returns all handlers from all strategies
  • Delegated/DelegatedActivation (Obsolete) - V.1 Default
  • Delegated/DelegatedActivationWithDiscovery - Backwards compatible - allows you to override IHandler instantiation while keeping discovery
  • Delegated/DelegatedActivationWithoutDiscovery - Pure delegation for containers - IHandler discovery and instantiation left to the implementor

Error Handling

The signature of both IHandle and IHandleAsync both contain a method you must implement:

void OnError(TEventType @event, Exception ex);

All unhandled errors are caught and passed to this OnError method of your handler.

The idea behind this is that no errors should accidentally "blow the stack" and prevent further handlers from executing unless you explicitly choose for them to do so. If you choose to throw from the OnError, you can do this deliberately, but by default, everything is handled and passed back to the error handler that threw the error to begin with.

All error handlers should be designed to handle or cope with their exceptions. If you throw from the OnError method, subsequent synchronous handlers will not execute. Throwing from the OnError method in an IHandleAsync handler will potentially crash your application in .NET40 (due to the implementation of Task in that version of the framework).


  • Jon Bates
  • Simon Fenton
  • Bala Iyer
  • David Whitney


Really Simple Eventing - A tiny set of classes that add infrastructure that auto-registers events and event handlers and executes them either on the current thread or async, without any pesky bindings.



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