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code and stuff watch, on pub sub, and you.

A team I work on has been using’s various watch and event systems for more than half a year now, and I wanted to put out some best practices that we’ve learned from painful experience.

When to use a watch:

When NOT to use a watch:

Best practices around watches:

$scope.$watch(function(){return SomeService.stateValueGetter()},

just do this:


When to use pub/sub:

When NOT to use pub/sub:

Best practices around pub/sub:

// an example channel service that lets consumers
// subscribe and publish for nuclear reactor meltdowns
var CoreReactorChannel = function($rootScope) {
    // local constants for the message ids.  
    // these are private implementation detail
    var ELEVATED_CORE_TEMPERATURE_MESSAGE = "elevatedCoreMessage";
    // publish elevatedCoreTemperature
    // note that the parameters are particular to the problem domain
    var elevatedCoreTemperature = function(core_id, temperature) {
                core_id: core_id,
                temperature: temperature
    // subscribe to elevatedCoreTemperature event.
    // note that you should require $scope first 
    // so that when the subscriber is destroyed you 
    // don't create a closure over it, and te scope can clean up. 
    var onElevatedCoreTemperature = function($scope, handler) {
        $scope.$on(ELEVATED_CORE_TEMPERATURE_MESSAGE, function(event, message){
            // note that the handler is passed the problem domain parameters 
            handler(message.core_id, message.temperature);

    // other CoreReactorChannel events would go here.

    return {
        elevatedCoreTemperature: elevatedCoreTemperature,
        onElevatedCoreTemperature: onElevatedCoreTemperature

//Usage elsewhere in the application
var MyController = function($scope, CoreReactorChannel){
    // Handle core temperature changes
    var onCoreTemperatureChange = function(message){
    console.log(message.core_id, message.temperature);
    // Let the CoreReactorChannel know the temperature has changed
    $scope.changeTemperature = function(core_id, temperature){
        CoreReactorChannel.elevatedCoreTemperature(core_id, temperature);
    // Listen for temperature changes and call a handler
    // Note: The handler can be an inline function
    CoreReactorChannel.onElevatedCoreTemperature($scope, onCoreTemperatureChange);