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Observer

Observer in TypeScript

Observer is a behavioral design pattern that allows one objects to notify other objects about changes in their state.

The Observer pattern provides a way to subscribe and unsubscribe to and from these events for any object that implements a subscriber interface.

Learn more about Observer

Usage of the pattern in TypeScript

Complexity:

Popularity:

Usage examples: The Observer pattern is pretty common in TypeScript code, especially in the GUI components. It provides a way to react to events happening in other objects without coupling to their classes.

Identification: The pattern can be recognized by subscription methods, that store objects in a list and by calls to the update method issued to objects in that list.

Conceptual Example

This example illustrates the structure of the Observer design pattern. It focuses on answering these questions:

  • What classes does it consist of?
  • What roles do these classes play?
  • In what way the elements of the pattern are related?

index.ts: Conceptual Example

/**
 * The Subject interface declares a set of methods for managing subscribers.
 */
interface Subject {
    // Attach an observer to the subject.
    attach(observer: Observer): void;

    // Detach an observer from the subject.
    detach(observer: Observer): void;

    // Notify all observers about an event.
    notify(): void;
}

/**
 * The Subject owns some important state and notifies observers when the state
 * changes.
 */
class ConcreteSubject implements Subject {
    /**
     * @type {number} For the sake of simplicity, the Subject's state, essential
     * to all subscribers, is stored in this variable.
     */
    public state: number;

    /**
     * @type {Observer[]} List of subscribers. In real life, the list of
     * subscribers can be stored more comprehensively (categorized by event
     * type, etc.).
     */
    private observers: Observer[] = [];

    /**
     * The subscription management methods.
     */
    public attach(observer: Observer): void {
        console.log('Subject: Attached an observer.');
        this.observers.push(observer);
    }

    public detach(observer: Observer): void {
        const observerIndex = this.observers.indexOf(observer);
        this.observers.splice(observerIndex, 1);
        console.log('Subject: Detached an observer.');
    }

    /**
     * Trigger an update in each subscriber.
     */
    public notify(): void {
        console.log('Subject: Notifying observers...');
        for (const observer of this.observers) {
            observer.update(this);
        }
    }

    /**
     * Usually, the subscription logic is only a fraction of what a Subject can
     * really do. Subjects commonly hold some important business logic, that
     * triggers a notification method whenever something important is about to
     * happen (or after it).
     */
    public someBusinessLogic(): void {
        console.log('\nSubject: I\'m doing something important.');
        this.state = Math.floor(Math.random() * (10 + 1));

        console.log(`Subject: My state has just changed to: ${this.state}`);
        this.notify();
    }
}

/**
 * The Observer interface declares the update method, used by subjects.
 */
interface Observer {
    // Receive update from subject.
    update(subject: Subject): void;
}

/**
 * Concrete Observers react to the updates issued by the Subject they had been
 * attached to.
 */
class ConcreteObserverA implements Observer {
    public update(subject: Subject): void {
        if (subject.state < 3) {
            console.log('ConcreteObserverA: Reacted to the event.');
        }
    }
}

class ConcreteObserverB implements Observer {
    public update(subject: Subject): void {
        if (subject.state === 0 || subject.state >= 2) {
            console.log('ConcreteObserverB: Reacted to the event.');
        }
    }
}

/**
 * The client code.
 */

const subject = new ConcreteSubject();

const observer1 = new ConcreteObserverA();
subject.attach(observer1);

const observer2 = new ConcreteObserverB();
subject.attach(observer2);

subject.someBusinessLogic();
subject.someBusinessLogic();

subject.detach(observer2);

subject.someBusinessLogic();

Output.txt: Execution result

Subject: Attached an observer.
Subject: Attached an observer.

Subject: I'm doing something important.
Subject: My state has just changed to: 6
Subject: Notifying observers...
ConcreteObserverB: Reacted to the event.

Subject: I'm doing something important.
Subject: My state has just changed to: 1
Subject: Notifying observers...
ConcreteObserverA: Reacted to the event.
Subject: Detached an observer.

Subject: I'm doing something important.
Subject: My state has just changed to: 5
Subject: Notifying observers...

Observer in Other Languages

Design Patterns: Observer in Java Design Patterns: Observer in C# Design Patterns: Observer in PHP Design Patterns: Observer in Python Design Patterns: Observer in Ruby Design Patterns: Observer in Swift