Spring Framework - Application Events (Synchronous)

Spring Framework - Application Events (Synchronous)

This article explains the use of Application Events within the Spring framework to exchange information synchronously between loosely coupled components.

Spring application events have been part of the Spring Framework from the beginning. The application events of the spring framework is an implementation of the Observer pattern. The Observer pattern serves as a means to exchange information between loosely coupled components.

Multi-part Series

This article forms part of a multi-part series on Spring Framework Application Events.

Application Events - Synchronous

The spring framework has an event mechanism that forms part of the ApplicationContext. The event publisher (subject) publishes an event, while the event listener (observer) only receives the specific event if the event listener listens for that specific type of event.

The application event capability of the Spring framework is synchronous by default. This implies the publisher method blocks until all registered listeners have processed the event.

Application Event - MessageEvent

The MessageEvent is an application event and extends the ApplicationEvent abstract class. The MessageEvent class contains a String property called message that stores the event data.

The ApplicationEvent class is abstract since it doesn’t make sense for generic events to be published directly.

public class MessageEvent extends ApplicationEvent {

    private String message;

    public MessageEvent(final Object source, final String message) {
        this.message = message;

    public String getMessage() {
        return message;


Event Publisher - SpringEventPublisher

The SpringEventPublisher class creates an instance of a MessageEvent class. The MessageEvent is initialised with the message that is the event data for the event listeners. The MessageEvent is also initialised with a reference to the current instance of the SpringEventPublisher class.

The SpringEventPublisher publish the MessageEvent which notifies all matching listeners registered with this application of an application event.

The publication of the event is effectively a hand-off to the multicaster and does not imply synchronous/asynchronous execution or even immediate execution at all.

public class SpringEventPublisher {

    private static final Logger logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(SpringEventPublisher.class);

    private ApplicationEventPublisher applicationEventPublisher;

    public void publishBasicEvent(final String message) {
        logger.info("SpringEventPublisher: Publish Event Started.");

        MessageEvent basicSpringEvent = new MessageEvent(this, message);

        logger.info("SpringEventPublisher: Publish Event Complete.");


Event Listener - SynchronousEventListener

The SynchronousEventListener is an ApplicationListener that listens to for an event. The ApplicationListener is based on the standard java.util.EventListener interface for the Observer design pattern.

The onApplicationEvent handles the application event, which in this case is the MessageEvent. The Listener has access to the event data via the accessor method of the message property.

public class SynchronousEventListener implements ApplicationListener<MessageEvent> {

    private static final Logger logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(SynchronousEventListener.class);

    public void onApplicationEvent(MessageEvent basicEvent) {
        logger.info("SynchronousEventListener: Receive Event: "+ basicEvent.getMessage());


Example Code

The source code used in this example can be found on Github.


This article explained the spring framework application event capability as an implementation of the Observer pattern. The application events of the spring framework are synchronous by default. The article also contains sample code for the application event, the event publisher and the event listener.

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