Jan 22, 2018

EventListener objects

#programming #frontend

Whenever I've used addEventListener, I've always passed a function as the second argument. I assumed that when an event was dispatched, the callback would be fired. For example:

element.addEventListener("eventName", () => console.log("hi!"));

Today, I learned that you can pass an object that conforms to a particular interface. This was pretty surprising, because I've always considered Javascript interfaces to be heavily skewed towards functions and callbacks, and not towards objects.

But not so!

Javascript has fantastic interfaces for Events and EventListeners. The second argument to addEventListener can be anything that responds to handleEvent. For example:

element.addEventListener("eventName", {
handleEvent(event) {
console.log("event happened!");

You can take this one step further and implement a handler for all kinds of events by using the type property of the Event object that is passed to handleEvent:

const myCustomHandler = {

// generic handler for events
handleEvent(event) {
if (this[event.type]) {

// a function that will be called on the mouse click event
click: () {},

// a function that will be called on the mouse double click event
dblClick: () {},
// etc

// attach event listener for both the click and dblClick events.
element.addEventListener('click', myCustomHandler);
element.addEventListener('dblClick', myCustomHandler);

Further reading:

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