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Extending Bolt / Event Dispatcher

During the execution of a Symfony/Bolt application, lots of event notifications are triggered. Your project can create and listen to these notifications and respond to them by executing any piece of code.

Listening to events

Symfony allows two distinct ways for executing code in response to an event: Listeners and Subscribers.

While similar in what they accomplish, there are a couple of differences that may sometimes sway you to use a listener or a subscriber:

  • Subscribers are easier to reuse because the knowledge of the events is kept in the class rather than in the service definition. This is the reason why Symfony uses subscribers internally;
  • Listeners are more flexible because bundles can enable or disable each of them conditionally depending on some configuration value.
  • Listeners require further configuration in the services.yaml file. Subscribers do not.

Due to the last difference (see above), the recommended way in Bolt is to use subscribers, unless you have a good reason for preferring listeners.

Creating an event subscriber

Each subscriber has two required components:

  • An event or events it subscribers to (i.e., in when does your custom code execute)
  • A handler or handlers that contain the custom code in response to the triggered event.

The list of available events is available by running php bin/console debug:event-dispatcher

You can put subscribers in the src folder in the root of your Bolt project, like so:


namespace App;

use Bolt\Event\ContentEvent;
use Symfony\Component\EventDispatcher\EventSubscriberInterface;

class OnSaveSubscriber implements EventSubscriberInterface
    const PRIORITY = 0; // default priority

     * This is the handler
    public function onPostSave(ContentEvent $event): void
        // Each event passes an optional event class.
        // Bolt's POST_SAVE event passes a ContentEvent object.

        // Get the content from the event
        $content = $event->getContent();

        // Do something with it, e.g. print the ID.

     * Returns an array of event names this subscriber wants to listen to.
     * The array keys are event names and the value can be:
     *  * The method name to call (priority defaults to 0)
     *  * An array composed of the method name to call and the priority
     *  * An array of arrays composed of the method names to call and respective
     *    priorities, or 0 if unset
     * For instance:
     *  * ['eventName' => 'methodName']
     *  * ['eventName' => ['methodName', $priority]]
     *  * ['eventName' => [['methodName1', $priority], ['methodName2']]]
     * The code must not depend on runtime state as it will only be called at compile time.
     * All logic depending on runtime state must be put into the individual methods handling the events.
     * @return array The event names to listen to
    public static function getSubscribedEvents()
        return [
            // This is the event
            ContentEvent::POST_SAVE => ['onPostSave', self::PRIORITY]

Creating a custom event

Assuming there is a class that handles custom work in your project, called CustomWorker, you can use the EventDispatcher service to create an event.

First, we need a new Event object. For example, here is Bolt's own ContentEvent:



namespace Bolt\Event;

use Bolt\Entity\Content;
use Symfony\Contracts\EventDispatcher\Event;

class ContentEvent extends Event
    // All possible events
    public const PRE_SAVE = 'bolt.pre_save';
    public const POST_SAVE = 'bolt.post_save';
    public const ON_EDIT = 'bolt.pre_edit';
    public const ON_PREVIEW = 'bolt.pre_edit';
    public const ON_DUPLICATE = 'bolt.on_duplicate';
    public const PRE_STATUS_CHANGE = 'bolt.pre_status_change';
    public const POST_STATUS_CHANGE = 'bolt.post_status_change';
    public const PRE_DELETE = 'bolt.pre_delete';
    public const POST_DELETE = 'bolt.post_delete';

    /** @var Content */
    private $content;

    // The constructor for each ContentEvent
    public function __construct(Content $content)
        $this->content = $content;

    // Methods that are available in the event handlers (listeners and subscribers)
    public function getContent(): Content
        return $this->content;

Now, we can dispatch (also known as trigger) that event in the example CustomWorker class:


namespace App;

use Bolt\Entity\Content;
use Bolt\Event\ContentEvent;
use Symfony\Component\EventDispatcher\EventDispatcherInterface;

class CustomWorker
    /** @var EventDispatcherInterface */
    private $dispatcher;

    public function __construct(EventDispatcherInterface $dispatcher)
        $this->dispatcher = $dispatcher;

    public function work(): void
        // Do some work...
        $content = new Content();

        // Dispatch a new event, in this case a PRE_SAVE.
        $event = new ContentEvent($content);
        $this->dispatcher->dispatch($event, ContentEvent::PRE_SAVE);

Read more about this topic in Symfony's official documentation: Event Dispatcher.

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