Handling application-level events

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At server-side, in addition to handling requests, Ktor exposes a mechanism to produce and consume global events.

For example, when the application has started, it is starting, or has stopped, an event is produced and you can subscribe or unsubscribe to those events to execute code when that happens. To do that, associated to the application environment, there is a monitor: ApplicationEvents instance acting as an event dispatcher.

The ApplicationEvents dispatches typed EventDefinition<T> along an object T.

You can get the monitor along the application instance by executing application.environment.monitor.


The simplified API for the monitor: ApplicationEvents looks like this:

class ApplicationEvents {
    fun <T> subscribe(definition: EventDefinition<T>, handler: EventHandler<T>): DisposableHandle
    fun <T> unsubscribe(definition: EventDefinition<T>, handler: EventHandler<T>)
    fun <T> raise(definition: EventDefinition<T>, value: T)

class EventDefinition<T>

typealias EventHandler<T> = (T) -> Unit

interface DisposableHandle {
    fun dispose()

Predefined EventDefinitions

Ktor provides some predefined events that are dispatched by the engine:

val ApplicationStarting: EventDefinition<Application>
val ApplicationStarted: EventDefinition<Application>
val ApplicationStopPreparing: EventDefinition<ApplicationEnvironment>
val ApplicationStopping: EventDefinition<Application>
val ApplicationStopped: EventDefinition<Application>

Subscribing to events and raising them

You can subscribe to events by calling the subscribe method from the monitor. The subscribe method returns a DisposableHandle that you can call to cancel the subscription. Additionally you can call the unsubscribe method with the same method handle to cancel the subscription.

Using the disposable:

val disposable = application.environment.monitor.subscribe(ApplicationStarting) { application: Application ->
    // Handle the event using the application as subject
disposable.dispose() // Cancels the subscription

Using a lambda stored in a property:

val starting: (Application) -> Unit = { log("Application starting: $it") }

application.environment.monitor.subscribe(ApplicationStarting, starting) // subscribe
application.environment.monitor.unsubscribe(ApplicationStarting, starting) // unsubscribe

Using a method reference:

fun starting(application: Application) { log("Application starting: $it") }

application.environment.monitor.subscribe(ApplicationStarting, ::starting) // subscribe
application.environment.monitor.unsubscribe(ApplicationStarting, ::starting) // unsubscribe

If you want to create custom events and dispatching/raising them:

class MySubject
val MyEventDefinition = EventDefinition<MySubject>()
monitor.raise(MyEventDefinition, MySubject())


You can check the CallLogging feature source code that includes code subscribing to events from the application.