Module: Observable

Defined in:
lib/observer.rb

Overview

The Observer pattern (also known as publish/subscribe) provides a simple mechanism for one object to inform a set of interested third-party objects when its state changes.

Mechanism

The notifying class mixes in the Observable module, which provides the methods for managing the associated observer objects.

The observable object must:

  • assert that it has #changed

  • call #notify_observers

An observer subscribes to updates using Observable#add_observer, which also specifies the method called via #notify_observers. The default method for #notify_observers is #update.

Example

The following example demonstrates this nicely. A Ticker, when run, continually receives the stock Price for its @symbol. A Warner is a general observer of the price, and two warners are demonstrated, a WarnLow and a WarnHigh, which print a warning if the price is below or above their set limits, respectively.

The update callback allows the warners to run without being explicitly called. The system is set up with the Ticker and several observers, and the observers do their duty without the top-level code having to interfere.

Note that the contract between publisher and subscriber (observable and observer) is not declared or enforced. The Ticker publishes a time and a price, and the warners receive that. But if you don't ensure that your contracts are correct, nothing else can warn you.

require "observer"

class Ticker          ### Periodically fetch a stock price.
  include Observable

  def initialize(symbol)
    @symbol = symbol
  end

  def run
    last_price = nil
    loop do
      price = Price.fetch(@symbol)
      print "Current price: #{price}\n"
      if price != last_price
        changed                 # notify observers
        last_price = price
        notify_observers(Time.now, price)
      end
      sleep 1
    end
  end
end

class Price           ### A mock class to fetch a stock price (60 - 140).
  def self.fetch(symbol)
    60 + rand(80)
  end
end

class Warner          ### An abstract observer of Ticker objects.
  def initialize(ticker, limit)
    @limit = limit
    ticker.add_observer(self)
  end
end

class WarnLow < Warner
  def update(time, price)       # callback for observer
    if price < @limit
      print "--- #{time.to_s}: Price below #@limit: #{price}\n"
    end
  end
end

class WarnHigh < Warner
  def update(time, price)       # callback for observer
    if price > @limit
      print "+++ #{time.to_s}: Price above #@limit: #{price}\n"
    end
  end
end

ticker = Ticker.new("MSFT")
WarnLow.new(ticker, 80)
WarnHigh.new(ticker, 120)
ticker.run

Produces:

Current price: 83
Current price: 75
--- Sun Jun 09 00:10:25 CDT 2002: Price below 80: 75
Current price: 90
Current price: 134
+++ Sun Jun 09 00:10:25 CDT 2002: Price above 120: 134
Current price: 134
Current price: 112
Current price: 79
--- Sun Jun 09 00:10:25 CDT 2002: Price below 80: 79

Instance Method Summary collapse

Instance Method Details

#add_observer(observer, func = :update) ⇒ Object

Add observer as an observer on this object. so that it will receive notifications.

observer

the object that will be notified of changes.

func

Symbol naming the method that will be called when this Observable has changes.

This method must return true for observer.respond_to? and will receive *arg when #notify_observers is called, where *arg is the value passed to #notify_observers by this Observable


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# File 'lib/observer.rb', line 127

def add_observer(observer, func=:update)
  @observer_peers = {} unless defined? @observer_peers
  unless observer.respond_to? func
    raise NoMethodError, "observer does not respond to `#{func.to_s}'"
  end
  @observer_peers[observer] = func
end

#changed(state = true) ⇒ Object

Set the changed state of this object. Notifications will be sent only if the changed state is true.

state

Boolean indicating the changed state of this Observable.


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# File 'lib/observer.rb', line 168

def changed(state=true)
  @observer_state = state
end

#changed?Boolean

Returns true if this object's state has been changed since the last #notify_observers call.


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# File 'lib/observer.rb', line 176

def changed?
  if defined? @observer_state and @observer_state
    true
  else
    false
  end
end

#count_observersObject

Return the number of observers associated with this object.


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# File 'lib/observer.rb', line 154

def count_observers
  if defined? @observer_peers
    @observer_peers.size
  else
    0
  end
end

#delete_observer(observer) ⇒ Object

Remove observer as an observer on this object so that it will no longer receive notifications.

observer

An observer of this Observable


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# File 'lib/observer.rb', line 140

def delete_observer(observer)
  @observer_peers.delete observer if defined? @observer_peers
end

#delete_observersObject

Remove all observers associated with this object.


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# File 'lib/observer.rb', line 147

def delete_observers
  @observer_peers.clear if defined? @observer_peers
end

#notify_observers(*arg) ⇒ Object

Notify observers of a change in state if this object's changed state is true.

This will invoke the method named in #add_observer, passing *arg. The changed state is then set to false.

*arg

Any arguments to pass to the observers.


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# File 'lib/observer.rb', line 192

def notify_observers(*arg)
  if defined? @observer_state and @observer_state
    if defined? @observer_peers
      @observer_peers.each do |k, v|
        k.send v, *arg
      end
    end
    @observer_state = false
  end
end