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Wink Signals

A fast template signal library, for C++, using the Fastest Possible C++ Delegates. This library is designed to be fast and easy to use. It is incredibly lightweight and type-safe. This library uses some C++11 and C++14 features, so it may or may not compile with your compiler. Since it is designed to be easy-to-use, it is quite similar to the famous boost::signals library, but it has it's differences here and there.

Please read the tutorial further down if you wish to use the library.


Miguel Martin -

Tested Compilers

  • clang 3.1/Apple Clang Version 4.1 (LLVM 3.1svn)


This library is a header-only library (mainly because of templates), therefore there is no installation. Just place it in your project, or somewhere your compiler can find it and you're all set!


This library is FAST, it uses the Fastest Possible C++ Delegates library in order to achieve this performance. You can read about the performance of that library on this website.

In order to test out the performance yourself, you can compile and run the Benchmark.cpp file in the examples/ directory (run make benchmark).

Here's the signal and event_queue performance compared to a regular function call:

$ cd examples; make benchmark

Using regular function calls to handle events:
Took: 5.90353 seconds
Using signal<slot<void(int)>> to handle events:
Took: 5.8579 seconds
Using event_queue<int> to handle events:
Took: 5.96127 seconds

As you can see, this library is quite fast compared to regular function calls.


This benchmark, uses only one call-back for the event_queue and signal objects.


The library is contained within the wink/ directory and is within the wink namespace.


Slots are an alternate way of defining a function pointer. They are almost as fast as a normal function call, since they use the Fastest Possible C++ Delegates library, for their implementation.

1. Create a slot

In order to create a slot, you simply #include "wink/slot.hpp" and then create an object of type wink::slot<T>, where T is the function prototype. This syntax is the same as std::function<T>, or boost::signal<T>.


wink::slot<void (int)> mySlot;

2. Assigning a slot to functions/member functions

In order to bind to a member function or regular function, overload the constructor with the appropriate arguments. The appropriate arguments are as follows:

  • ([function pointer])
  • ([object], [member function pointer])


Foo bar;
wink::slot<void (int)> slotMemberFn(&bar, &Foo::foobar);
wink::slot slotGlobalFn(&foo);
wink::slot copy = slotMemberFn;

3. Calling the slot

To call the slot, simply use the operator(), as you would with a regular function/method. This can take any number of arguments, but it should be the same amount of the slot's arguments, declared in its type.

wink::slot<void (int, int, int)> slot(&foo);

slot(3, 4, 5); // call the slot


If binding to an object, when the object is destroyed, it is undefined behaviour. The slot may actually still call the object's method, or it may do something else. I recommend, if you can, to not call the slot, if the object no longer exists (e.g. out of scope).


An event sender is used to send events to multiple call-backs immediately.

1. Create a signal

To create a signal, you create an object of the class wink::signal<T>, where T is a slot (or anything that can have operator() called on it, e.g. functors or functions).


// Create a signal that uses slots with a function prototype of void (int)
wink::signal<wink::slot<void (int)> > signal;


It is recommended to have a return value that is void, as returning a value with multiple call-backs does not make much sense.

2. Connecting/Disconnecting slots

To connect, or disconnect to/from a slot, you simply call connect(Args&&...) and disconnect(Args&&...), respectively. Where your arguments could be a slot itself, a call to slot::bind, or the arguments to construct a slot (the same arguments you would pass to slot::bind).

This is almost exactly the same as it is in boost::signals.


slots aren't required to use with a signal, you can easily use std::function (or any other object that overloads operator()) over the built-in slot class for this library.


void doSomething(int x)
	std::cout << x << '\n';

// ...

// Create a signal
typedef wink::slot<void (int)> slot;
wink::signal<slot> sender;

// connect

// disconnect

3. Emitting the slots in your signal

To emit events to your connected slots, you simply call the emit(Args...) function, or use the ()(Args...) operator on the signal object, where Args... are the parameters of your events.

// create a sender
wink::signal<wink::slot<void (int)>> sender;

// subscribe to events...
// do other things 

// emit the event

Event Queues

An event queue is used for when you don't want to send events out immediately. The basic idea of an event queue is as follows:

  1. You push data onto the event queue, when an event occurs
  2. Later throughout the program, you call emit() or cemit(), where emit() clears the data you pushed on the queue, and cemit() does not (as it is the constant version of emit()).
  3. You start this process all over again

An event queue is usually handy when you are doing something quite expensive and you wish to deal with the events later in your program. Or, where you require to process the event but if you fire the event immediately it will disrupt what you are doing (e.g. looping through a vector and erasing elements).

1. Create an Event Data Structure

In order to create an event queue, you must have a data structure that resembles the data you will be sending for your events. Typically, all data in the data structure will be const and assigned through a constructor, and there will be no other methods.

struct CollisionEvent
	const Entity& obj1, obj2;
	CollisionEvent(const Entity& Obj1, const Entity& Obj2)
			: obj1(Obj1), obj2(Obj2) 

Feel free to make the data non-const, especially if you need to modify sent data, please note that the event data sent by an event queue will be a const reference. (i.e. const T&, where T is the event data).

2. Create an event_queue Object

To create an EventQueue, you must first #include "wink/event_queue.hpp", and then define an object. The template-paramter for event_queue<T> is the type of data you are going to send.

wink::event_queue<CollisionEvent> collisionEventQueue;

3. Connecting/disconnecting slots

Connecting and disconnecting slots for an event_queue is the same as wink::signal.


event_queue actually uses an EventSender object to send out events. The only difference is, an event_queue<T> uses the function prototype void foo(const T&) The name of your method may be anything, as with a signal, but all functions MUST return void. Unlike signals, where it is optional (but doesn't really make sense).

4. Pushing Data to the Event Queue

To push data to the event queue, simply call the method push(const T&), where T is the type of your event.

wink::event_queue<CollisionEvent> collisionEventQueue;

// ...

// push some data to the event queue
collisionEventQueue.push(CollisionEvent(entity1, entity2));

5. Emitting your events

Finally, to emit your events you have pushed to the event queue, call emit(), cemit(), or use the operator() on your event queue object. cemit() is a constant version of the emit() function, and therefore cannot modify your event queue, meaning that it will not clear() the data you pushed onto the queue.


The operator() overload on wink::event_queue objects will clear your pushed data depending if the object is constant. If it is a constant object/reference, it will not clear your data, otherwise it will.

collisionEventQueue(); 			// may or may not clear pushed data (is collisionEventQueue const?)
collisionEventQueue.cemit(); 	// will not clear pushed data
collisionEventQueue.emit(); 	// will clear pushed data


A fast, lightweight, signal library, for C++11, using the Fastest Possible C++ Delegates, with a little extra features.




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