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Event-driven programming

In computer programming, event-driven programming is a programming paradigm in which the flow of the program is determined
by events such as user actions (mouse clicks, key presses), sensor outputs, or messages from other programs/threads. Event-driven
programming is the dominant paradigm used in graphical user interfaces and other applications (e.g., JavaScript web applications)
that are centered on performing certain actions in response to user input. This is also true of programming for device drivers (e.g., P
in USB device driver stacks[1]).

In an event-driven application, there is generally amain loop that listens for events, and then triggers a callback function when one of
those events is detected. In embedded systems, the same may be achieved using hardware interrupts instead of a constantly running
main loop. Event-driven programs can be written in any programming language, although the task is easier in languages that provide
high-level abstractions, such as await and closures.

Contents
Event handlers
A trivial event handler
Exception handlers
Creating event handlers
Common uses
Criticism
Stackless threading
See also
References
External links

Event handlers

A trivial event handler


Because the code for checking for events and the main loop are common amongst applications, many programming frameworks take
care of their implementation and expect the user to provide only the code for the event handlers. In this simple example there may be
a call to an event handler called OnKeyEnter() that includes an argument with a string of characters, corresponding to what the
user typed before hitting the ENTER key. To add two numbers, storage outside the event handler must be used. The implementation
might look like below.

globally declare the counter K and the integer T.


OnKeyEnter(character C)
{
convert C to a number N
if K is zero store N in T and increment K
otherwise add N to T, print the result and reset K to zero
}

While keeping track of history is straightforward in a batch program, it requires special attention and planning in an event-driven
program.
Exception handlers
In PL/I, even though a program itself may not be predominantly event-driven, certain abnormal events such as a hardware error,
overflow or "program checks" may occur that possibly prevent further processing. Exception handlers may be provided by "ON
statements" in (unseen) callers to provide cleaning routines to clean up afterwards before termination, or to perform recovery
operations and return to the interrupted procedure.

Creating event handlers


The first step in developing an event-driven program is to write a series of subroutines, or methods, called event-handler routines.
These routines handle the events to which the main program will respond. For example, a single left-button mouse-click on a
command button in a GUI program may trigger a routine that will open another window, save data to a database or exit the
application. Many modern-day programming environments provide the programmer with event templates, allowing the programmer
to focus on writing the event code.

The second step is to bind event handlers to events so that the correct function is called when the event takes place. Graphical editors
combine the first two steps: double-click on a button, and the editor creates an (empty) event handler associated with the user clicking
the button and opens a text window so you can edit the event handler
.

The third step in developing an event-driven program is to write the main loop. This is a function that checks for the occurrence of
events, and then calls the matching event handler to process it. Most event-driven programming environments already provide this
main loop, so it need not be specifically provided by the application programmer. RPG, an early programming language from IBM,
whose 1960s design concept was similar to event-driven programming discussed above, provided a built-in main I/O loop (known as
the "program cycle") where the calculations responded in accordance to 'indicators'flags)
( that were set earlier in the cycle.

Common uses
Most of existing GUI development tools and architectures rely on event-driven programming.[2] The Java AWT framework processes
all UI changes on a single thread, called the Event dispatching thread. Similarly, all UI updates in the Java framework JavaFX occur
on the JavaFX Application Thread.[3]

[4]
In addition, systems such as Node.js are also event-driven.

Criticism
The design of those programs which rely on event-action model has been criticised, and it has been suggested that the event-action
model leads programmers to create error-prone, difficult to extend and excessively complex application code.[2] Table-driven state
machines have been advocated as a viable alternative.[5] On the other hand, table-driven state machines themselves suffer from
significant weaknesses includingstate explosion phenomena.[6]

Stackless threading
An event-driven approach is used in hardware description languages. A thread context only needs a CPU stack while actively
processing an event, once done the CPU can move on to process other event-driven threads, which allows an extremely large number
of threads to be handled. This is essentially afinite-state machine approach.

See also
Autonomous peripheral operation
Comparison of programming paradigms
Dataflow programming(a similar concept)
DOM events
Event-driven architecture
Event stream processing(a similar concept)
Hardware description language
Interrupt
Inversion of control
Message-oriented middleware
Programming paradigm
Publish–subscribe pattern
Reactor pattern
Signal programming (a similar concept)
Staged event-driven architecture(SEDA)
Time-triggered system (an alternative architecture for computer systems)
Virtual synchrony, a distributed execution model for event-driven programming

References
1. Vivek Gupta, Ethan Jackson, Shaz Qadeer and Sriram Rajamani. "P: Safe Asynchronous Event-Driven
Programming" (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/publication/p-safe-asynchronous-event-driven-programmi
ng/). Retrieved 20 February 2017.
2. Samek, Miro (April 1, 2013)."Who Moved My State?"(http://www.ddj.com/cpp/184401643). Dr. Dobb's. Retrieved
2018-01-28.
3. Fedortsova, Irina (June 2012)."Concurrency in JavaFX"(https://docs.oracle.com/javafx/2/threads/jfxpub-threads.ht
m). JavaFX Documentation Home. Oracle. Retrieved 4 January 2018. "The JavaFX scene graph, which represents
the graphical user interface of a JavaFX application, is not thread-safe and can only be accessed and modified from
the UI thread also known as the JavaFX Application thread. "
4. Node.js & Event-driven programming(http://www.baloo.io/blog/2013/11/30/node-event-driven-programming/).
5. Samek, Miro (11 March 2009)."State Machines for Event-Driven Systems"(http://www.barrgroup.com/Embedded-Sy
stems/How-To/State-Machines-Event-Driven-Systems). Retrieved 19 March 2013.
6. Patrick Schaumont. A Practical Introduction to Hardware/Software Codesign
. ISBN 978-1-4614-3737-6.

External links
Concurrency patterns presentationgiven at scaleconf
Event-Driven Programming: Introduction, T utorial, History, tutorial by Stephen Ferg
Event Driven Programming, tutorial by Alan Gauld
Event Collaboration, article by Martin Fowler
Rethinking Swing Threading, article by Jonathan Simon
The event driven programming style, article by Chris McDonald
Event Driven Programming using Template Specialization, article by Christopher Diggins
Concepts and Architecture of Vista - a Multiparadigm Programming Environment, article by Stefan Schiffer and
Joachim Hans Fröhlich
Event-Driven Programming and Agents, chapter
LabWindows/CVI Resources
Distributed Publish/Subscribe Event System, an open source example which is in production on MSN.com and
Microsoft.com

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