Working with .NET Events

This section discusses .NET event-design guidelines and development practices that promote loose coupling between publishers and subscribers, improve availability, conform to existing conventions, and generally take advantage of .NET’s rich event-support infrastructure. Another event-related technique (publishing events asynchronously) is discussed in Chapter 7.

Defining Delegate Signatures

Although technically a delegate declaration can define any method signature, in practice, event delegates should conform to a few specific guidelines.

First, the target methods should have a void return type. For example, for an event dealing with a new value for a number, such a signature might be:

    public delegate void NumberChangedEventHandler(int number);

The reason you should use a void return type is that it simply doesn’t make sense to return a value to the event publisher. What should the event publisher do with those values? The publisher has no idea why an event subscriber wants to subscribe in the first place. In addition, the delegate class hides the actual publishing act from the publisher. The delegate is the one iterating over its internal list of sinks (subscribing objects), calling each corresponding method; the returned values aren’t propagated to the publisher’s code. The logic for using the void return type also suggests that you should avoid output parameters that use either the ref or out parameter modifiers, because the output parameters of the various ...

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