Event Dispatcher in Go

The event dispatcher pattern is extremely common in software design, particularly in languages like JavaScript that are primarily used for user interface work. The dispatcher is an object (usually a mixin to other objects) that can register callback functions for particular events. Then when a dispatch method is called with an event, the dispatcher calls each callback function in order of their registration and passes them a copy of the event. In fact, I’ve already written a version of this pattern in Python: Implementing Observers with Events In this snippet, I’m presenting a version in Go that has been incredibly stable and useful in my code.

There are three types in the snippet below:

For example, consider if you want to watch a directory for new files being created, you could do something like this:

type DirectoryWatcher struct {
    path string // path to directory on disk

func (w *DirectoryWatcher) Init(path string) {
    w.path = path

// Watch the given directory and dispatch new file events
func (w *DirectoryWatcher) Watch() error {
    for {
        files, _ := ioutil.ReadDir(w.path)
        for _, file := range files {
            if w.Unseen(file) {
                w.Dispatch(NewFile, file)
        time.Sleep(100 * time.Millisecond)

This initializes the DirectoryWatcher dispatcher with the source as the watcher (so you can refer to exactly which directory was being watched). Then as the watcher looks at the directory for new data every 100 milliseconds, if it sees any files that were Unseen() then it dispatches the event.

The dispatcher code is as follows:

So this works very well but there are a copule of key points: