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Events are deepstreamHub's implementation of the "publish/subscribe" or "observer" pattern. If you're familiar with e.g. JavaScript event-emitters or Java events, you know how they work. Zero or more interested clients subscribe to an event (sometimes also called a "topic", "channel" or "namespace"), and zero or more other clients publish to it.

Pub/Sub diagram

The emphasis on "zero or more" underlines one of the main characteristics of pub/sub: Publishers and subscribers are completely decoupled. It's a bit like a newspaper - journalists write articles assuming - but not knowing that they will be read. Readers open the sports section expecting, but not knowing that something will be written on it.

Pub/Sub and its limitations

Due to its simplicity and versatility, pub/sub is the most widely adopted pattern for realtime systems with many hosted (e.g. Pusher, PubNub) or self-hosted server-to-client (e.g. socket.io, SocketCluster) or server-to-server (e.g. Redis, Kafka) solutions available.

However, pub/sub is purely a lightweight way of messaging that doesn't have any concept of persistence or state. It's therefore often used to notify clients of changes which in turn trigger a separate HTTP request to retrieve the actual data.

This comes with significant overhead and is increasingly abandoned in favour of "data-sync", an approach where the actual data is distributed and kept in sync across all subscribed clients. Data-sync is the mechanism behind deepstreamHub's realtime-datastore and can be used in the form of records and lists.

Having said that, pub/sub vs data-sync doesn't need to be an either/or decision. Both complement each other well and can be used together for many use cases.

How to use events

Subscription to events can be established with client.event.subscribe() and removed with client.event.unsubscribe().

// Client A
function eventCallback(data) {
    //callback for incoming events

//Subscribing to an event
client.event.subscribe('news/sports', eventCallback)

//Removing specific callback to the event
client.event.unsubscribe('news/sports', eventCallback)

//Removing all subscriptions to the event

Events can be published using client.event.emit(eventName, data). It is possible to send any kind of serializable data along with the event, e.g. Strings, JSON objects, Numbers, Booleans etc.

// Client B
client.event.emit('news/sports', 'something about football is happening')

Video Demo

If you would like to learn more about events, have a look at this video tutorial with Yasser Fadl, explaining more in detail about Pub/Sub in deepstreamHub.