Angular’s $scope event system $emit, $broadcast and $on


Angular’s $emit, $broadcast and $on fall under the common “publish/subscribe” design pattern, or can do, in which you’d publish an event and subscribe/unsubscribe to it somewhere else. The Angular event system is brilliant, it makes things flawless and easy to do (as you’d expect!) but the concept behind it isn’t so simple to master and you can often be left wondering why things don’t work as you thought they might.

For those who are new to Angular and haven’t used or seen $emit, $broadcast or $on, let’s clarify what they do before we look at $scope and $rootScope event and scope relationships and how to utilise the event system correctly – as well as understand what’s really going on.

$scope.$emit up, $scope.$broadcast down

Using $scope.$emit will fire an event up the $scope. Using $scope.$broadcast will fire an event downthe $scope. Using $scope.$on is how we listen for these events. A quick example:


// firing an event upwards
$scope.$emit('myCustomEvent', 'Data to send');

// firing an event downwards
$scope.$broadcast('myCustomEvent', {
  someProp: 'Sending you an Object!' // send whatever you want

// listen for the event in the relevant $scope
$scope.$on('myCustomEvent', function (event, data) {
  console.log(data); // 'Data to send'

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