Lightweight JavaScript library for adding pub sub to any application.
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# Purpose

The Subscribable microframework is a library that provides the basis of a pub-sub event framework for JavaScript running either in the browser or a NodeJS Server.

Integrating with Subscribable

To use in Node.js, easiest installation is through NPM:

npm install subscribable

To use in the browser, download the latest released version from which can be loaded either as the src of a script tag, or as a module using requirejs.


Objects are made subscribable either by inheriting from the Subscribable prototype or by explicitly calling Subscribable.prepareInstance for the object to attach the standard pub-sub methods to the object instance.

Whether inheriting from the Subscribable prototype or using Subscribable as a mixin (see below), the subscribable gains five functions:

.on( eventName, handlerFunction, handlerContext, callOnce ) where the eventName parameter can either be a string event name, or can be the constructor of an Event class. callOnce is optional and defaults to false, when set to true the handler will automatically be removed after it is called once.

.once( eventName, handlerFunction, handlerContext ) equivalent to calling .on with the callOnce parameter set to true.

.un( eventName, handlerFunction, handlerContext ) any and all of the arguments are optional, for more examples of how to unsubscribe a handler check out the source.

.fire( eventName, args... ) fires an event to any handlers attached, eventName should be a string event name, all handlers will be called with the additional arguments sent to the fire function.

.fire( eventInstance ) fires an event instance to any handlers attached for the constructor of the instance, all handlers will be called with just the event instance.

.hasListener( eventName ) where eventName is a string event name or the constructor of an Event class. When called without arguments, checks for the existence of any handlers regardless of the event they are attached to.


function SomePubSubClass() {
SomePubSubClass.prototype = Object.create(Subscribable.prototype);

SomePubSubClass.prototype.sendMessage = function(msg) {'data', msg);

somePubSubClass = new SomePubSubClass().on('data', function(data) {

somePubSubClass.sendMessage('to be alerted');

When a class inherits from Subscribable, it is not necessary to call the Subscribable constructor against the child class. Inheriting from Subscribable is the most efficient use case, as the prepareInstance method will only run when the first subscriber is attached to the Subscribable instance - particularly useful if some base or abstract is made to inherit from Subscribable but not all implementations will have events bound to it.

If it is not convenient to use inheritance, any object can be made a Subscribable by using it as a mix-in:

function SomePubSubClass() {
SomePubSubClass.prototype.sendMessage = function(msg) {'data', msg);

somePubSubClass = new SomePubSubClass().on('data', function(data) {

somePubSubClass.sendMessage('to be alerted');

here the instance of SomePubSubClass is made into a Subscribable by explicitly preparing the instance in its constructor. The mix-in style is useful for when there is already a complex prototype chain and the superclass cannot be made to inherit from Subscribable, or if the object being made Subscribable isn't a class instance, but the class itself:

function SomeGroupedClass() {

SomeGroupedClass.prototype.sendMessage = function(msg) {'data', this, msg);

SomeGroupedClass.on('data', function(someGroupedClass, data) {

new SomeGroupedClass().sendMessage('to be alerted');

Firing an event

Events are fired using the .fire() method and can either be fired as a string event name with any number of additional arguments that will all be passed on to the handlers, or it can be fired with an event instance:

// some method that fires a string event
SomeClass.prototype.someBehaviour = function() {'myEvent', 123, 456);

// handlers would have two arguments whose values are 123 and 456
someClass.on('myEvent', function(a, b) {});

The string event name can add event behaviours to any class very quickly - little to no preparation is required, and all events are case insensitive. Documenting the order of arguments and maintainability can be problematic across large projects though, so it can be better to use a custom event instance:

function SomeEvent(propertyA, propertyB) {
  this.a = propertyA; this.b = propertyB;

// it is a requirement that the event object overrides the toString method to return the name of the event
SomeEvent.toString = function() {
  return 'myEvent';

// some method that fires an instance of the SomeEvent class
SomeClass.prototype.someBehaviour = function() { SomeEvent(123, 456));

// handlers would receive the event instance
someClass.on(SomeEvent, function(someEvent) {})

Event objects fired in this way are not immutable between handlers, so changes made to the event object directly will be seen by any handler that executes later.

Attaching a handler

subscribable.on( eventNameOrConstructor, handlerFunction, handlerScope )

Each handler is added using a separate call to the .on() method, supplying either the name of the event being subscribed to or the constructor of an event object. The handlerScope is optional and when omitted the handlerFunction will be executed in the context of the subscribable itself.

While it is possible to use the Function.prototype.bind method from ECMA5 to set the scope of the handlerFunction explicitly, supplying the scope in the .on() method allows the removal of handlers based on the scope of the handler - particularly useful if removing all handlers created by a class that is being destroyed.