Today’s Graphical User Interface programming model requires event-driven programming . A GUI program waits for the user to take an action, such as choosing among menu selections, pushing buttons, updating text fields, clicking icons, and so forth. Each action causes an event to be raised. Other events can be raised without direct user action, such as events that correspond to timer ticks of the internal clock, email being received, file-copy operations completing, etc.

An event is the encapsulation of the idea that “something happened” to which the program must respond.

In a GUI environment, any number of widgets can raise an event. For example, when you click a button, it might raise the Click event. When you add to a drop-down list, it might raise a ListChanged event.

Other classes will be interested in responding to these events. How they respond is not of interest to the class raising the event. The button says, “I was clicked,” and the responding classes react appropriately.

Publishing and Subscribing

In VB.NET, any object can publish a set of events to which other classes can subscribe. When the publishing class raises an event, all the subscribed classes are notified.


This design is similar to the Publish/Subscribe (Observer) Pattern described in the seminal work Design Patterns by Gamma, et al. (Addison-Wesley). Gamma describes the intent of this pattern: “Define a one to many dependency between objects so that when one object changes state, all its dependents ...

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