Today’s post is a simple, application-wide event manager. Listening and firing events usually requires some thought as to where the event should be attached. Do we want it on a model? What if I make a custom class? What if I don’t have access to something because I am in a plugin?

One thing I do is make a generic event dispatcher that can be used everywhere. Here’s how you can do the same.


We discussed an AppEventDispatcher in a previous post. If you are using that, you can continue doing so. Everything from here will be additive.

First, the CakeEventManager has a method instance() which returns a globale CakeEventManager. This is useful for a global hooks system. We’ll use this in our own methods.

To handle the entire cycle, we will use both a listen and fire method.

  • listen: Handles the attachment of a listener to the specified event. If the listener is an instance of EventListener, event names can be omitted.
  • fire: Handles the dispatching of a given event. Keep in mind that $subject and $data are optional arguments to this method.

Here is our Lib/Event/AppEventDispatcher.php class with the above methods:

App::uses('CakeEvent', 'Event');
App::uses('CakeEventManager', 'Event');
class AppEventDispatcher {
  public static function listen($callable, $eventKey = null, $options = array()) {
    $manager = CakeEventManager::instance();
    $manager->attach($callable, $eventKey, $options);
  public static function fire($name, $subject = null, $data = null) {
    $manager = CakeEventManager::instance();
    $event = new CakeEvent($name, $subject, $data);
    return $event;

Now that we have our AppEventDispatcher in place, we can start using it.

Global Startup Events

You may wish to create global events before most of the app has started. We’ll create a new file, app/Config/events.php, which will contain our events. Include this file in your app/Config/bootstrap.php:

include dirname(__FILE__) . DS . 'events.php';

Next, create the file:

touch app/Config/events.php

And we’ll add the following as content:

App::uses('AppEventDispatcher', 'Lib/Event');
App::uses('CakeEvent', 'Event');

Now we’re ready to test our global event system

Test the whole thing

Lets add the following to app/Config/events.php:

AppEventDispatcher::listen(function(CakeEvent $event) {
}, 'foo');

This is the initial setup for a dummy event foo that triggers a callback which prints out the event and then exits the app. Not too fantastic, but for the purposes of our demo, it will do.

Now we need to fire the event. While not super exciting, I am placing the following at the bottom of my app/Config/routes.php file:

AppEventDispatcher::fire('foo', null, array('baz'));

And if we start our app, here is the output:

Going further

The following things are not available in our current implementation:

  • Queued events. These events would wait for a AppEventDispatcher::flush() before firing.
  • Subscriber classes that can be subscribed to any specified event
  • Wildcard event names.

Some of the above may be tricky, but all are doable, and if you find them useful, feel free to extend my implementation to include your use cases :)