New goals for the future Eventy v0.5.x

Tristan B. Velloza Kildaire


The current state

The goals have shifted for Eventy. What started off as what I have now figured out is referred to “signals and slots” which is effectively to say that you associate a input signal like push(Event) where maybe is equal to 8, and you associate that number 8 with a slot that handles anything of “type” 8. Given 5 events being pushed into such a system we then end with 5+1 threads, the +1 accounting for the caller main thread and the other 5 being the handlers that were dispatched for the respective slot(s). This is effectively what the v.0.4.x series of Eventy does now.

Previously, the inefficient mechanism of an event-loop and queue was used but this wasn’t a sleeping loop but rather a yielding loop. Which meant it would run rather often even when it didn’t need to. What would have been better would be the use of sleep() (indefinitely) and then signalling that process to wake it up. Some precautions, as I have now read, would probably need to be taken into account. Such would be checking the received signal and if it matches the one we expect - sometimes the kernel can send us signals like when a thread leader quits (or something I believe) - I am still learning (never used clone() with CLONE_THREAD a lot, normally just used CLONE_VM and maybe or’d that with CLONE_FILES (or whichever of that of _FD it was)). This would have been a better solution and could have allowed us to add some priorities to events. Yes, we would slow down all execution by having no immediate dispatch but the playing field would have been evened out then, however we would have gained the ability the prioritize certain dispatches potentially or have low priority events that could be dispatched way later on.

What we want

The next section discusses the ideas I would like to implement into Eventy.


The idea of promises is rather simple. WHen you make a call to push(Event e) you will get a Promise object returned instead of the method being a void push(Event) as it stands today. This Promise object will then have the following methods which are of interest to us:

  1. await(int timeout = 0)
    • The default timeout being 0 implies block-forever
  2. then(Event e)


We could write a program as follows:

// Create a promise
Promise promise = engine.push(new Event(1));

Then later on we could provide this Promise promise to maybe let’s say two threads T1 and T2 and both of them could call the method await() as follows:

Thread 1
Thread 2

This would then block on both T1 and T2 until the signal handler registered for events of type 1 (recall our new Event(1)) finishes. A timeout can be given, in such a case we should probably return a boolean false if a timeout occurred, true if not - meaning the event finished and an enum is returned indicating either a timeout, unblocked from successful execution or unblocked because there was an error in the signal handler (we will need to investigate indicating this last one well).

then(Event e)

THe then(Event) method should provide the ability to chain another Event, in this case e, upon completion of the signal handler for the original event. This, however, might require we do things a little differently.

We might need a method to create the promise, without executing it, such that we can perform such chaining.

// Create the promise first of all
Event myEvent = new Event(1);
Promise promise1 = engine.promise(myEvent);

// Create another event
Event myEvent2 = new Event(2);

// Upon completion og `myEvent` by whatever signal handler it uses
// then execute the given `myEvent2` by its respective signal handler

This should firstly, create the first Event, then create a Promise (promise1). Then we create the second Event, and chain that to promise1 (internally the .then(Event) call will also create a Promise for us.

The .then(Event) returns another promise (call it promise2).

One should setup their awaits before the next step (very important or else the dispatcher may not find any waiting threads in the Engine’s queues):

// Thread 1

// Thread 2

But now we need to emit(Promise) which will actually begin execution:


This will then start the whole system.


This section goes into the details about the implementation of such a feature.


Implementation of await()

In order to accomplish such a mechanism with the await() feature we would need to track a few things. Firstly, when push(Event e) is called we need to immediately create a Promise object that is associated with that Event e.

When it comes to the calls to await() on multiple threads, such as our example with T1 and T2, we will need to, via the Promise class somehow access the Engine class. This can be accomplished by a private non-static (static could be done but that might only allow a single Eventy instance then - I would rather keep everything self-contained) field that gets passed into the Promise constructor. This also indicates we should make the constructor private, such that only Eventy’s push(Event e) can initialize a new Promise object. The reason for this is because we need to actually queue up a tuple of (Promise, tid) in the Engine such that when the signal handler completes it can send a signal to the matching promises, i.e. the ones where for-every tuple in the queue we have tuple[0].e == dispatcher.e (i.e. matching event), then we extract the tid or thread-id and we can use something like pthread_sigqueue() to signal and wake-up the sleeping T1 and T2 in their await() calls.

DispatcherThread notes

The DispatcherThread will also now need access to the Event engine but this should be relatively easy (in the same vain as with the Promise private instantiation) - we can simply pass the this (referring to the Engine object) in.

This dispatcher will have to lock the queue and do the search as discussed earlier.

Implementation of then()

Most important thing here is that the promise1.then(myEvent2) refers to promise1 which was created by engine.promise(Event e), meaning promise1 has access to the Engine (this) object. Therefore, when we construct the second internal promise2, which represents the chained Event myEvent2, it can also easily be associated.

The need for association is that upon the Dispatcher completing promise1, it will make a call to engine.emit(promise2). This whole system then should technically work for infinitely chained events.

The future

This is some of the ideas I have been flirting around with. The great thing about it is that it will hit two birds with one stone in the sense that if you want the behavior of “the old Eventy v0.4.x series” then you will get it.

The only change will be going from:


To (to put it succinctly):


However, the await() method is a great addition and falls inline with what one thinks of when they think of an Event engine. Therefore, this will move to a much more nicer “signals and slots” implementation and will technically also make implementing certain features of Tasky easier. Especially, when a reply is expected - such information can be packaged into the Promise (via an inherited sub-class), which we can then await() on and only use once unblocked as that guarantees the data (reply) is in the Promise object. For asynchronous or notification type data received, we then just emit() and forget - no await() required to be called.

Therefore I believe this is the next and probably final phase of Eventy in what I will be calling the v0.5.x series. It will become a proper event engine in-line with modern systems but also very simple to use and available for usage in your favorite language - D!