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.\" ========================================================================
.IX Title "LIBEV 3"
.TH LIBEV 3 "2008-10-21" "libev-3.45" "libev - high performance full featured event loop"
.\" For nroff, turn off justification. Always turn off hyphenation; it makes
.\" way too many mistakes in technical documents.
.if n .ad l
libev \- a high performance full\-featured event loop written in C
.Vb 1
\& #include <ev.h>
.Sh "\s-1EXAMPLE\s0 \s-1PROGRAM\s0"
.Vb 2
\& // a single header file is required
\& #include <ev.h>
\& // every watcher type has its own typedef\*(Aqd struct
\& // with the name ev_<type>
\& ev_io stdin_watcher;
\& ev_timer timeout_watcher;
\& // all watcher callbacks have a similar signature
\& // this callback is called when data is readable on stdin
\& static void
\& stdin_cb (EV_P_ struct ev_io *w, int revents)
\& {
\& puts ("stdin ready");
\& // for one\-shot events, one must manually stop the watcher
\& // with its corresponding stop function.
\& ev_io_stop (EV_A_ w);
\& // this causes all nested ev_loop\*(Aqs to stop iterating
\& ev_unloop (EV_A_ EVUNLOOP_ALL);
\& }
\& // another callback, this time for a time\-out
\& static void
\& timeout_cb (EV_P_ struct ev_timer *w, int revents)
\& {
\& puts ("timeout");
\& // this causes the innermost ev_loop to stop iterating
\& ev_unloop (EV_A_ EVUNLOOP_ONE);
\& }
\& int
\& main (void)
\& {
\& // use the default event loop unless you have special needs
\& struct ev_loop *loop = ev_default_loop (0);
\& // initialise an io watcher, then start it
\& // this one will watch for stdin to become readable
\& ev_io_init (&stdin_watcher, stdin_cb, /*STDIN_FILENO*/ 0, EV_READ);
\& ev_io_start (loop, &stdin_watcher);
\& // initialise a timer watcher, then start it
\& // simple non\-repeating 5.5 second timeout
\& ev_timer_init (&timeout_watcher, timeout_cb, 5.5, 0.);
\& ev_timer_start (loop, &timeout_watcher);
\& // now wait for events to arrive
\& ev_loop (loop, 0);
\& // unloop was called, so exit
\& return 0;
\& }
The newest version of this document is also available as an html-formatted
web page you might find easier to navigate when reading it for the first
time: <>.
Libev is an event loop: you register interest in certain events (such as a
file descriptor being readable or a timeout occurring), and it will manage
these event sources and provide your program with events.
To do this, it must take more or less complete control over your process
(or thread) by executing the \fIevent loop\fR handler, and will then
communicate events via a callback mechanism.
You register interest in certain events by registering so-called \fIevent
watchers\fR, which are relatively small C structures you initialise with the
details of the event, and then hand it over to libev by \fIstarting\fR the
.Sh "\s-1FEATURES\s0"
.IX Subsection "FEATURES"
Libev supports \f(CW\*(C`select\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`poll\*(C'\fR, the Linux-specific \f(CW\*(C`epoll\*(C'\fR, the
BSD-specific \f(CW\*(C`kqueue\*(C'\fR and the Solaris-specific event port mechanisms
for file descriptor events (\f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR), the Linux \f(CW\*(C`inotify\*(C'\fR interface
(for \f(CW\*(C`ev_stat\*(C'\fR), relative timers (\f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR), absolute timers
with customised rescheduling (\f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic\*(C'\fR), synchronous signals
(\f(CW\*(C`ev_signal\*(C'\fR), process status change events (\f(CW\*(C`ev_child\*(C'\fR), and event
watchers dealing with the event loop mechanism itself (\f(CW\*(C`ev_idle\*(C'\fR,
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_embed\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR watchers) as well as
file watchers (\f(CW\*(C`ev_stat\*(C'\fR) and even limited support for fork events
It also is quite fast (see this
benchmark comparing it to libevent
for example).
.Sh "\s-1CONVENTIONS\s0"
.IX Subsection "CONVENTIONS"
Libev is very configurable. In this manual the default (and most common)
configuration will be described, which supports multiple event loops. For
more info about various configuration options please have a look at
\&\fB\s-1EMBED\s0\fR section in this manual. If libev was configured without support
for multiple event loops, then all functions taking an initial argument of
name \f(CW\*(C`loop\*(C'\fR (which is always of type \f(CW\*(C`struct ev_loop *\*(C'\fR) will not have
this argument.
.Sh "\s-1TIME\s0 \s-1REPRESENTATION\s0"
Libev represents time as a single floating point number, representing the
(fractional) number of seconds since the (\s-1POSIX\s0) epoch (somewhere near
the beginning of 1970, details are complicated, don't ask). This type is
called \f(CW\*(C`ev_tstamp\*(C'\fR, which is what you should use too. It usually aliases
to the \f(CW\*(C`double\*(C'\fR type in C, and when you need to do any calculations on
it, you should treat it as some floating point value. Unlike the name
component \f(CW\*(C`stamp\*(C'\fR might indicate, it is also used for time differences
throughout libev.
Libev knows three classes of errors: operating system errors, usage errors
and internal errors (bugs).
When libev catches an operating system error it cannot handle (for example
a system call indicating a condition libev cannot fix), it calls the callback
set via \f(CW\*(C`ev_set_syserr_cb\*(C'\fR, which is supposed to fix the problem or
abort. The default is to print a diagnostic message and to call \f(CW\*(C`abort
When libev detects a usage error such as a negative timer interval, then
it will print a diagnostic message and abort (via the \f(CW\*(C`assert\*(C'\fR mechanism,
so \f(CW\*(C`NDEBUG\*(C'\fR will disable this checking): these are programming errors in
the libev caller and need to be fixed there.
Libev also has a few internal error-checking \f(CW\*(C`assert\*(C'\fRions, and also has
extensive consistency checking code. These do not trigger under normal
circumstances, as they indicate either a bug in libev or worse.
These functions can be called anytime, even before initialising the
library in any way.
.IP "ev_tstamp ev_time ()" 4
.IX Item "ev_tstamp ev_time ()"
Returns the current time as libev would use it. Please note that the
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_now\*(C'\fR function is usually faster and also often returns the timestamp
you actually want to know.
.IP "ev_sleep (ev_tstamp interval)" 4
.IX Item "ev_sleep (ev_tstamp interval)"
Sleep for the given interval: The current thread will be blocked until
either it is interrupted or the given time interval has passed. Basically
this is a sub-second-resolution \f(CW\*(C`sleep ()\*(C'\fR.
.IP "int ev_version_major ()" 4
.IX Item "int ev_version_major ()"
.PD 0
.IP "int ev_version_minor ()" 4
.IX Item "int ev_version_minor ()"
You can find out the major and minor \s-1ABI\s0 version numbers of the library
you linked against by calling the functions \f(CW\*(C`ev_version_major\*(C'\fR and
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_version_minor\*(C'\fR. If you want, you can compare against the global
symbols \f(CW\*(C`EV_VERSION_MAJOR\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`EV_VERSION_MINOR\*(C'\fR, which specify the
version of the library your program was compiled against.
These version numbers refer to the \s-1ABI\s0 version of the library, not the
release version.
Usually, it's a good idea to terminate if the major versions mismatch,
as this indicates an incompatible change. Minor versions are usually
compatible to older versions, so a larger minor version alone is usually
not a problem.
Example: Make sure we haven't accidentally been linked against the wrong
.Vb 3
\& assert (("libev version mismatch",
\& ev_version_major () == EV_VERSION_MAJOR
\& && ev_version_minor () >= EV_VERSION_MINOR));
.IP "unsigned int ev_supported_backends ()" 4
.IX Item "unsigned int ev_supported_backends ()"
Return the set of all backends (i.e. their corresponding \f(CW\*(C`EV_BACKEND_*\*(C'\fR
value) compiled into this binary of libev (independent of their
availability on the system you are running on). See \f(CW\*(C`ev_default_loop\*(C'\fR for
a description of the set values.
Example: make sure we have the epoll method, because yeah this is cool and
a must have and can we have a torrent of it please!!!11
.Vb 2
\& assert (("sorry, no epoll, no sex",
\& ev_supported_backends () & EVBACKEND_EPOLL));
.IP "unsigned int ev_recommended_backends ()" 4
.IX Item "unsigned int ev_recommended_backends ()"
Return the set of all backends compiled into this binary of libev and also
recommended for this platform. This set is often smaller than the one
returned by \f(CW\*(C`ev_supported_backends\*(C'\fR, as for example kqueue is broken on
most BSDs and will not be auto-detected unless you explicitly request it
(assuming you know what you are doing). This is the set of backends that
libev will probe for if you specify no backends explicitly.
.IP "unsigned int ev_embeddable_backends ()" 4
.IX Item "unsigned int ev_embeddable_backends ()"
Returns the set of backends that are embeddable in other event loops. This
is the theoretical, all-platform, value. To find which backends
might be supported on the current system, you would need to look at
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_embeddable_backends () & ev_supported_backends ()\*(C'\fR, likewise for
recommended ones.
See the description of \f(CW\*(C`ev_embed\*(C'\fR watchers for more info.
.IP "ev_set_allocator (void *(*cb)(void *ptr, long size)) [\s-1NOT\s0 \s-1REENTRANT\s0]" 4
.IX Item "ev_set_allocator (void *(*cb)(void *ptr, long size)) [NOT REENTRANT]"
Sets the allocation function to use (the prototype is similar \- the
semantics are identical to the \f(CW\*(C`realloc\*(C'\fR C89/SuS/POSIX function). It is
used to allocate and free memory (no surprises here). If it returns zero
when memory needs to be allocated (\f(CW\*(C`size != 0\*(C'\fR), the library might abort
or take some potentially destructive action.
Since some systems (at least OpenBSD and Darwin) fail to implement
correct \f(CW\*(C`realloc\*(C'\fR semantics, libev will use a wrapper around the system
\&\f(CW\*(C`realloc\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`free\*(C'\fR functions by default.
You could override this function in high-availability programs to, say,
free some memory if it cannot allocate memory, to use a special allocator,
or even to sleep a while and retry until some memory is available.
Example: Replace the libev allocator with one that waits a bit and then
retries (example requires a standards-compliant \f(CW\*(C`realloc\*(C'\fR).
.Vb 6
\& static void *
\& persistent_realloc (void *ptr, size_t size)
\& {
\& for (;;)
\& {
\& void *newptr = realloc (ptr, size);
\& if (newptr)
\& return newptr;
\& sleep (60);
\& }
\& }
\& ...
\& ev_set_allocator (persistent_realloc);
.IP "ev_set_syserr_cb (void (*cb)(const char *msg)); [\s-1NOT\s0 \s-1REENTRANT\s0]" 4
.IX Item "ev_set_syserr_cb (void (*cb)(const char *msg)); [NOT REENTRANT]"
Set the callback function to call on a retryable system call error (such
as failed select, poll, epoll_wait). The message is a printable string
indicating the system call or subsystem causing the problem. If this
callback is set, then libev will expect it to remedy the situation, no
matter what, when it returns. That is, libev will generally retry the
requested operation, or, if the condition doesn't go away, do bad stuff
(such as abort).
Example: This is basically the same thing that libev does internally, too.
.Vb 6
\& static void
\& fatal_error (const char *msg)
\& {
\& perror (msg);
\& abort ();
\& }
\& ...
\& ev_set_syserr_cb (fatal_error);
An event loop is described by a \f(CW\*(C`struct ev_loop *\*(C'\fR. The library knows two
types of such loops, the \fIdefault\fR loop, which supports signals and child
events, and dynamically created loops which do not.
.IP "struct ev_loop *ev_default_loop (unsigned int flags)" 4
.IX Item "struct ev_loop *ev_default_loop (unsigned int flags)"
This will initialise the default event loop if it hasn't been initialised
yet and return it. If the default loop could not be initialised, returns
false. If it already was initialised it simply returns it (and ignores the
flags. If that is troubling you, check \f(CW\*(C`ev_backend ()\*(C'\fR afterwards).
If you don't know what event loop to use, use the one returned from this
Note that this function is \fInot\fR thread-safe, so if you want to use it
from multiple threads, you have to lock (note also that this is unlikely,
as loops cannot bes hared easily between threads anyway).
The default loop is the only loop that can handle \f(CW\*(C`ev_signal\*(C'\fR and
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_child\*(C'\fR watchers, and to do this, it always registers a handler
for \f(CW\*(C`SIGCHLD\*(C'\fR. If this is a problem for your application you can either
create a dynamic loop with \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop_new\*(C'\fR that doesn't do that, or you
can simply overwrite the \f(CW\*(C`SIGCHLD\*(C'\fR signal handler \fIafter\fR calling
The flags argument can be used to specify special behaviour or specific
backends to use, and is usually specified as \f(CW0\fR (or \f(CW\*(C`EVFLAG_AUTO\*(C'\fR).
The following flags are supported:
.RS 4
.ie n .IP """EVFLAG_AUTO""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEVFLAG_AUTO\fR" 4
The default flags value. Use this if you have no clue (it's the right
thing, believe me).
.ie n .IP """EVFLAG_NOENV""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEVFLAG_NOENV\fR" 4
If this flag bit is or'ed into the flag value (or the program runs setuid
or setgid) then libev will \fInot\fR look at the environment variable
\&\f(CW\*(C`LIBEV_FLAGS\*(C'\fR. Otherwise (the default), this environment variable will
override the flags completely if it is found in the environment. This is
useful to try out specific backends to test their performance, or to work
around bugs.
.ie n .IP """EVFLAG_FORKCHECK""" 4
Instead of calling \f(CW\*(C`ev_default_fork\*(C'\fR or \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop_fork\*(C'\fR manually after
a fork, you can also make libev check for a fork in each iteration by
enabling this flag.
This works by calling \f(CW\*(C`getpid ()\*(C'\fR on every iteration of the loop,
and thus this might slow down your event loop if you do a lot of loop
iterations and little real work, but is usually not noticeable (on my
GNU/Linux system for example, \f(CW\*(C`getpid\*(C'\fR is actually a simple 5\-insn sequence
without a system call and thus \fIvery\fR fast, but my GNU/Linux system also has
\&\f(CW\*(C`pthread_atfork\*(C'\fR which is even faster).
The big advantage of this flag is that you can forget about fork (and
forget about forgetting to tell libev about forking) when you use this
This flag setting cannot be overridden or specified in the \f(CW\*(C`LIBEV_FLAGS\*(C'\fR
environment variable.
.ie n .IP """EVBACKEND_SELECT"" (value 1, portable select backend)" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEVBACKEND_SELECT\fR (value 1, portable select backend)" 4
.IX Item "EVBACKEND_SELECT (value 1, portable select backend)"
This is your standard \fIselect\fR\|(2) backend. Not \fIcompletely\fR standard, as
libev tries to roll its own fd_set with no limits on the number of fds,
but if that fails, expect a fairly low limit on the number of fds when
using this backend. It doesn't scale too well (O(highest_fd)), but its
usually the fastest backend for a low number of (low-numbered :) fds.
To get good performance out of this backend you need a high amount of
parallelism (most of the file descriptors should be busy). If you are
writing a server, you should \f(CW\*(C`accept ()\*(C'\fR in a loop to accept as many
connections as possible during one iteration. You might also want to have
a look at \f(CW\*(C`ev_set_io_collect_interval ()\*(C'\fR to increase the amount of
readiness notifications you get per iteration.
This backend maps \f(CW\*(C`EV_READ\*(C'\fR to the \f(CW\*(C`readfds\*(C'\fR set and \f(CW\*(C`EV_WRITE\*(C'\fR to the
\&\f(CW\*(C`writefds\*(C'\fR set (and to work around Microsoft Windows bugs, also onto the
\&\f(CW\*(C`exceptfds\*(C'\fR set on that platform).
.ie n .IP """EVBACKEND_POLL"" (value 2, poll backend, available everywhere except on windows)" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEVBACKEND_POLL\fR (value 2, poll backend, available everywhere except on windows)" 4
.IX Item "EVBACKEND_POLL (value 2, poll backend, available everywhere except on windows)"
And this is your standard \fIpoll\fR\|(2) backend. It's more complicated
than select, but handles sparse fds better and has no artificial
limit on the number of fds you can use (except it will slow down
considerably with a lot of inactive fds). It scales similarly to select,
i.e. O(total_fds). See the entry for \f(CW\*(C`EVBACKEND_SELECT\*(C'\fR, above, for
performance tips.
This backend maps \f(CW\*(C`EV_READ\*(C'\fR to \f(CW\*(C`POLLIN | POLLERR | POLLHUP\*(C'\fR, and
\&\f(CW\*(C`EV_WRITE\*(C'\fR to \f(CW\*(C`POLLOUT | POLLERR | POLLHUP\*(C'\fR.
.ie n .IP """EVBACKEND_EPOLL"" (value 4, Linux)" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEVBACKEND_EPOLL\fR (value 4, Linux)" 4
.IX Item "EVBACKEND_EPOLL (value 4, Linux)"
For few fds, this backend is a bit little slower than poll and select,
but it scales phenomenally better. While poll and select usually scale
like O(total_fds) where n is the total number of fds (or the highest fd),
epoll scales either O(1) or O(active_fds). The epoll design has a number
of shortcomings, such as silently dropping events in some hard-to-detect
cases and requiring a system call per fd change, no fork support and bad
support for dup.
While stopping, setting and starting an I/O watcher in the same iteration
will result in some caching, there is still a system call per such incident
(because the fd could point to a different file description now), so its
best to avoid that. Also, \f(CW\*(C`dup ()\*(C'\fR'ed file descriptors might not work
very well if you register events for both fds.
Please note that epoll sometimes generates spurious notifications, so you
need to use non-blocking I/O or other means to avoid blocking when no data
(or space) is available.
Best performance from this backend is achieved by not unregistering all
watchers for a file descriptor until it has been closed, if possible,
i.e. keep at least one watcher active per fd at all times. Stopping and
starting a watcher (without re-setting it) also usually doesn't cause
extra overhead.
While nominally embeddable in other event loops, this feature is broken in
all kernel versions tested so far.
This backend maps \f(CW\*(C`EV_READ\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`EV_WRITE\*(C'\fR in the same way as
.ie n .IP """EVBACKEND_KQUEUE"" (value 8, most \s-1BSD\s0 clones)" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEVBACKEND_KQUEUE\fR (value 8, most \s-1BSD\s0 clones)" 4
.IX Item "EVBACKEND_KQUEUE (value 8, most BSD clones)"
Kqueue deserves special mention, as at the time of this writing, it was
broken on all BSDs except NetBSD (usually it doesn't work reliably with
anything but sockets and pipes, except on Darwin, where of course it's
completely useless). For this reason it's not being \*(L"auto-detected\*(R" unless
you explicitly specify it in the flags (i.e. using \f(CW\*(C`EVBACKEND_KQUEUE\*(C'\fR) or
libev was compiled on a known-to-be-good (\-enough) system like NetBSD.
You still can embed kqueue into a normal poll or select backend and use it
only for sockets (after having made sure that sockets work with kqueue on
the target platform). See \f(CW\*(C`ev_embed\*(C'\fR watchers for more info.
It scales in the same way as the epoll backend, but the interface to the
kernel is more efficient (which says nothing about its actual speed, of
course). While stopping, setting and starting an I/O watcher does never
cause an extra system call as with \f(CW\*(C`EVBACKEND_EPOLL\*(C'\fR, it still adds up to
two event changes per incident. Support for \f(CW\*(C`fork ()\*(C'\fR is very bad and it
drops fds silently in similarly hard-to-detect cases.
This backend usually performs well under most conditions.
While nominally embeddable in other event loops, this doesn't work
everywhere, so you might need to test for this. And since it is broken
almost everywhere, you should only use it when you have a lot of sockets
(for which it usually works), by embedding it into another event loop
(e.g. \f(CW\*(C`EVBACKEND_SELECT\*(C'\fR or \f(CW\*(C`EVBACKEND_POLL\*(C'\fR) and, did I mention it,
using it only for sockets.
This backend maps \f(CW\*(C`EV_READ\*(C'\fR into an \f(CW\*(C`EVFILT_READ\*(C'\fR kevent with
\&\f(CW\*(C`NOTE_EOF\*(C'\fR, and \f(CW\*(C`EV_WRITE\*(C'\fR into an \f(CW\*(C`EVFILT_WRITE\*(C'\fR kevent with
.ie n .IP """EVBACKEND_DEVPOLL"" (value 16, Solaris 8)" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEVBACKEND_DEVPOLL\fR (value 16, Solaris 8)" 4
.IX Item "EVBACKEND_DEVPOLL (value 16, Solaris 8)"
This is not implemented yet (and might never be, unless you send me an
implementation). According to reports, \f(CW\*(C`/dev/poll\*(C'\fR only supports sockets
and is not embeddable, which would limit the usefulness of this backend
.ie n .IP """EVBACKEND_PORT"" (value 32, Solaris 10)" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEVBACKEND_PORT\fR (value 32, Solaris 10)" 4
.IX Item "EVBACKEND_PORT (value 32, Solaris 10)"
This uses the Solaris 10 event port mechanism. As with everything on Solaris,
it's really slow, but it still scales very well (O(active_fds)).
Please note that Solaris event ports can deliver a lot of spurious
notifications, so you need to use non-blocking I/O or other means to avoid
blocking when no data (or space) is available.
While this backend scales well, it requires one system call per active
file descriptor per loop iteration. For small and medium numbers of file
descriptors a \*(L"slow\*(R" \f(CW\*(C`EVBACKEND_SELECT\*(C'\fR or \f(CW\*(C`EVBACKEND_POLL\*(C'\fR backend
might perform better.
On the positive side, with the exception of the spurious readiness
notifications, this backend actually performed fully to specification
in all tests and is fully embeddable, which is a rare feat among the
OS-specific backends.
This backend maps \f(CW\*(C`EV_READ\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`EV_WRITE\*(C'\fR in the same way as
.ie n .IP """EVBACKEND_ALL""" 4
Try all backends (even potentially broken ones that wouldn't be tried
with \f(CW\*(C`EVFLAG_AUTO\*(C'\fR). Since this is a mask, you can do stuff such as
It is definitely not recommended to use this flag.
.RS 4
If one or more of these are or'ed into the flags value, then only these
backends will be tried (in the reverse order as listed here). If none are
specified, all backends in \f(CW\*(C`ev_recommended_backends ()\*(C'\fR will be tried.
Example: This is the most typical usage.
.Vb 2
\& if (!ev_default_loop (0))
\& fatal ("could not initialise libev, bad $LIBEV_FLAGS in environment?");
Example: Restrict libev to the select and poll backends, and do not allow
environment settings to be taken into account:
.Vb 1
Example: Use whatever libev has to offer, but make sure that kqueue is
used if available (warning, breaks stuff, best use only with your own
private event loop and only if you know the \s-1OS\s0 supports your types of
.Vb 1
\& ev_default_loop (ev_recommended_backends () | EVBACKEND_KQUEUE);
.IP "struct ev_loop *ev_loop_new (unsigned int flags)" 4
.IX Item "struct ev_loop *ev_loop_new (unsigned int flags)"
Similar to \f(CW\*(C`ev_default_loop\*(C'\fR, but always creates a new event loop that is
always distinct from the default loop. Unlike the default loop, it cannot
handle signal and child watchers, and attempts to do so will be greeted by
undefined behaviour (or a failed assertion if assertions are enabled).
Note that this function \fIis\fR thread-safe, and the recommended way to use
libev with threads is indeed to create one loop per thread, and using the
default loop in the \*(L"main\*(R" or \*(L"initial\*(R" thread.
Example: Try to create a event loop that uses epoll and nothing else.
.Vb 3
\& struct ev_loop *epoller = ev_loop_new (EVBACKEND_EPOLL | EVFLAG_NOENV);
\& if (!epoller)
\& fatal ("no epoll found here, maybe it hides under your chair");
.IP "ev_default_destroy ()" 4
.IX Item "ev_default_destroy ()"
Destroys the default loop again (frees all memory and kernel state
etc.). None of the active event watchers will be stopped in the normal
sense, so e.g. \f(CW\*(C`ev_is_active\*(C'\fR might still return true. It is your
responsibility to either stop all watchers cleanly yourself \fIbefore\fR
calling this function, or cope with the fact afterwards (which is usually
the easiest thing, you can just ignore the watchers and/or \f(CW\*(C`free ()\*(C'\fR them
for example).
Note that certain global state, such as signal state, will not be freed by
this function, and related watchers (such as signal and child watchers)
would need to be stopped manually.
In general it is not advisable to call this function except in the
rare occasion where you really need to free e.g. the signal handling
pipe fds. If you need dynamically allocated loops it is better to use
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_loop_new\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop_destroy\*(C'\fR).
.IP "ev_loop_destroy (loop)" 4
.IX Item "ev_loop_destroy (loop)"
Like \f(CW\*(C`ev_default_destroy\*(C'\fR, but destroys an event loop created by an
earlier call to \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop_new\*(C'\fR.
.IP "ev_default_fork ()" 4
.IX Item "ev_default_fork ()"
This function sets a flag that causes subsequent \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR iterations
to reinitialise the kernel state for backends that have one. Despite the
name, you can call it anytime, but it makes most sense after forking, in
the child process (or both child and parent, but that again makes little
sense). You \fImust\fR call it in the child before using any of the libev
functions, and it will only take effect at the next \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR iteration.
On the other hand, you only need to call this function in the child
process if and only if you want to use the event library in the child. If
you just fork+exec, you don't have to call it at all.
The function itself is quite fast and it's usually not a problem to call
it just in case after a fork. To make this easy, the function will fit in
quite nicely into a call to \f(CW\*(C`pthread_atfork\*(C'\fR:
.Vb 1
\& pthread_atfork (0, 0, ev_default_fork);
.IP "ev_loop_fork (loop)" 4
.IX Item "ev_loop_fork (loop)"
Like \f(CW\*(C`ev_default_fork\*(C'\fR, but acts on an event loop created by
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_loop_new\*(C'\fR. Yes, you have to call this on every allocated event loop
after fork that you want to re-use in the child, and how you do this is
entirely your own problem.
.IP "int ev_is_default_loop (loop)" 4
.IX Item "int ev_is_default_loop (loop)"
Returns true when the given loop is, in fact, the default loop, and false
.IP "unsigned int ev_loop_count (loop)" 4
.IX Item "unsigned int ev_loop_count (loop)"
Returns the count of loop iterations for the loop, which is identical to
the number of times libev did poll for new events. It starts at \f(CW0\fR and
happily wraps around with enough iterations.
This value can sometimes be useful as a generation counter of sorts (it
\&\*(L"ticks\*(R" the number of loop iterations), as it roughly corresponds with
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR calls.
.IP "unsigned int ev_backend (loop)" 4
.IX Item "unsigned int ev_backend (loop)"
Returns one of the \f(CW\*(C`EVBACKEND_*\*(C'\fR flags indicating the event backend in
.IP "ev_tstamp ev_now (loop)" 4
.IX Item "ev_tstamp ev_now (loop)"
Returns the current \*(L"event loop time\*(R", which is the time the event loop
received events and started processing them. This timestamp does not
change as long as callbacks are being processed, and this is also the base
time used for relative timers. You can treat it as the timestamp of the
event occurring (or more correctly, libev finding out about it).
.IP "ev_now_update (loop)" 4
.IX Item "ev_now_update (loop)"
Establishes the current time by querying the kernel, updating the time
returned by \f(CW\*(C`ev_now ()\*(C'\fR in the progress. This is a costly operation and
is usually done automatically within \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop ()\*(C'\fR.
This function is rarely useful, but when some event callback runs for a
very long time without entering the event loop, updating libev's idea of
the current time is a good idea.
See also \*(L"The special problem of time updates\*(R" in the \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR section.
.IP "ev_loop (loop, int flags)" 4
.IX Item "ev_loop (loop, int flags)"
Finally, this is it, the event handler. This function usually is called
after you initialised all your watchers and you want to start handling
If the flags argument is specified as \f(CW0\fR, it will not return until
either no event watchers are active anymore or \f(CW\*(C`ev_unloop\*(C'\fR was called.
Please note that an explicit \f(CW\*(C`ev_unloop\*(C'\fR is usually better than
relying on all watchers to be stopped when deciding when a program has
finished (especially in interactive programs), but having a program
that automatically loops as long as it has to and no longer by virtue
of relying on its watchers stopping correctly, that is truly a thing of
A flags value of \f(CW\*(C`EVLOOP_NONBLOCK\*(C'\fR will look for new events, will handle
those events and any already outstanding ones, but will not block your
process in case there are no events and will return after one iteration of
the loop.
A flags value of \f(CW\*(C`EVLOOP_ONESHOT\*(C'\fR will look for new events (waiting if
necessary) and will handle those and any already outstanding ones. It
will block your process until at least one new event arrives (which could
be an event internal to libev itself, so there is no guarentee that a
user-registered callback will be called), and will return after one
iteration of the loop.
This is useful if you are waiting for some external event in conjunction
with something not expressible using other libev watchers (i.e. "roll your
own \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR"). However, a pair of \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR/\f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR watchers is
usually a better approach for this kind of thing.
Here are the gory details of what \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR does:
.Vb 10
\& \- Before the first iteration, call any pending watchers.
\& * If EVFLAG_FORKCHECK was used, check for a fork.
\& \- If a fork was detected (by any means), queue and call all fork watchers.
\& \- Queue and call all prepare watchers.
\& \- If we have been forked, detach and recreate the kernel state
\& as to not disturb the other process.
\& \- Update the kernel state with all outstanding changes.
\& \- Update the "event loop time" (ev_now ()).
\& \- Calculate for how long to sleep or block, if at all
\& (active idle watchers, EVLOOP_NONBLOCK or not having
\& any active watchers at all will result in not sleeping).
\& \- Sleep if the I/O and timer collect interval say so.
\& \- Block the process, waiting for any events.
\& \- Queue all outstanding I/O (fd) events.
\& \- Update the "event loop time" (ev_now ()), and do time jump adjustments.
\& \- Queue all expired timers.
\& \- Queue all expired periodics.
\& \- Unless any events are pending now, queue all idle watchers.
\& \- Queue all check watchers.
\& \- Call all queued watchers in reverse order (i.e. check watchers first).
\& Signals and child watchers are implemented as I/O watchers, and will
\& be handled here by queueing them when their watcher gets executed.
\& \- If ev_unloop has been called, or EVLOOP_ONESHOT or EVLOOP_NONBLOCK
\& were used, or there are no active watchers, return, otherwise
\& continue with step *.
Example: Queue some jobs and then loop until no events are outstanding
.Vb 4
\& ... queue jobs here, make sure they register event watchers as long
\& ... as they still have work to do (even an idle watcher will do..)
\& ev_loop (my_loop, 0);
\& ... jobs done or somebody called unloop. yeah!
.IP "ev_unloop (loop, how)" 4
.IX Item "ev_unloop (loop, how)"
Can be used to make a call to \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR return early (but only after it
has processed all outstanding events). The \f(CW\*(C`how\*(C'\fR argument must be either
\&\f(CW\*(C`EVUNLOOP_ONE\*(C'\fR, which will make the innermost \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR call return, or
\&\f(CW\*(C`EVUNLOOP_ALL\*(C'\fR, which will make all nested \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR calls return.
This \*(L"unloop state\*(R" will be cleared when entering \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR again.
It is safe to call \f(CW\*(C`ev_unloop\*(C'\fR from otuside any \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR calls.
.IP "ev_ref (loop)" 4
.IX Item "ev_ref (loop)"
.PD 0
.IP "ev_unref (loop)" 4
.IX Item "ev_unref (loop)"
Ref/unref can be used to add or remove a reference count on the event
loop: Every watcher keeps one reference, and as long as the reference
count is nonzero, \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR will not return on its own.
If you have a watcher you never unregister that should not keep \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR
from returning, call \fIev_unref()\fR after starting, and \fIev_ref()\fR before
stopping it.
As an example, libev itself uses this for its internal signal pipe: It is
not visible to the libev user and should not keep \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR from exiting
if no event watchers registered by it are active. It is also an excellent
way to do this for generic recurring timers or from within third-party
libraries. Just remember to \fIunref after start\fR and \fIref before stop\fR
(but only if the watcher wasn't active before, or was active before,
Example: Create a signal watcher, but keep it from keeping \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR
running when nothing else is active.
.Vb 4
\& struct ev_signal exitsig;
\& ev_signal_init (&exitsig, sig_cb, SIGINT);
\& ev_signal_start (loop, &exitsig);
\& evf_unref (loop);
Example: For some weird reason, unregister the above signal handler again.
.Vb 2
\& ev_ref (loop);
\& ev_signal_stop (loop, &exitsig);
.IP "ev_set_io_collect_interval (loop, ev_tstamp interval)" 4
.IX Item "ev_set_io_collect_interval (loop, ev_tstamp interval)"
.PD 0
.IP "ev_set_timeout_collect_interval (loop, ev_tstamp interval)" 4
.IX Item "ev_set_timeout_collect_interval (loop, ev_tstamp interval)"
These advanced functions influence the time that libev will spend waiting
for events. Both time intervals are by default \f(CW0\fR, meaning that libev
will try to invoke timer/periodic callbacks and I/O callbacks with minimum
Setting these to a higher value (the \f(CW\*(C`interval\*(C'\fR \fImust\fR be >= \f(CW0\fR)
allows libev to delay invocation of I/O and timer/periodic callbacks
to increase efficiency of loop iterations (or to increase power-saving
The idea is that sometimes your program runs just fast enough to handle
one (or very few) event(s) per loop iteration. While this makes the
program responsive, it also wastes a lot of \s-1CPU\s0 time to poll for new
events, especially with backends like \f(CW\*(C`select ()\*(C'\fR which have a high
overhead for the actual polling but can deliver many events at once.
By setting a higher \fIio collect interval\fR you allow libev to spend more
time collecting I/O events, so you can handle more events per iteration,
at the cost of increasing latency. Timeouts (both \f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic\*(C'\fR and
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR) will be not affected. Setting this to a non-null value will
introduce an additional \f(CW\*(C`ev_sleep ()\*(C'\fR call into most loop iterations.
Likewise, by setting a higher \fItimeout collect interval\fR you allow libev
to spend more time collecting timeouts, at the expense of increased
latency/jitter/inexactness (the watcher callback will be called
later). \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR watchers will not be affected. Setting this to a non-null
value will not introduce any overhead in libev.
Many (busy) programs can usually benefit by setting the I/O collect
interval to a value near \f(CW0.1\fR or so, which is often enough for
interactive servers (of course not for games), likewise for timeouts. It
usually doesn't make much sense to set it to a lower value than \f(CW0.01\fR,
as this approaches the timing granularity of most systems.
Setting the \fItimeout collect interval\fR can improve the opportunity for
saving power, as the program will \*(L"bundle\*(R" timer callback invocations that
are \*(L"near\*(R" in time together, by delaying some, thus reducing the number of
times the process sleeps and wakes up again. Another useful technique to
reduce iterations/wake\-ups is to use \f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic\*(C'\fR watchers and make sure
they fire on, say, one-second boundaries only.
.IP "ev_loop_verify (loop)" 4
.IX Item "ev_loop_verify (loop)"
This function only does something when \f(CW\*(C`EV_VERIFY\*(C'\fR support has been
compiled in. which is the default for non-minimal builds. It tries to go
through all internal structures and checks them for validity. If anything
is found to be inconsistent, it will print an error message to standard
error and call \f(CW\*(C`abort ()\*(C'\fR.
This can be used to catch bugs inside libev itself: under normal
circumstances, this function will never abort as of course libev keeps its
data structures consistent.
A watcher is a structure that you create and register to record your
interest in some event. For instance, if you want to wait for \s-1STDIN\s0 to
become readable, you would create an \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR watcher for that:
.Vb 5
\& static void my_cb (struct ev_loop *loop, struct ev_io *w, int revents)
\& {
\& ev_io_stop (w);
\& ev_unloop (loop, EVUNLOOP_ALL);
\& }
\& struct ev_loop *loop = ev_default_loop (0);
\& struct ev_io stdin_watcher;
\& ev_init (&stdin_watcher, my_cb);
\& ev_io_set (&stdin_watcher, STDIN_FILENO, EV_READ);
\& ev_io_start (loop, &stdin_watcher);
\& ev_loop (loop, 0);
As you can see, you are responsible for allocating the memory for your
watcher structures (and it is usually a bad idea to do this on the stack,
although this can sometimes be quite valid).
Each watcher structure must be initialised by a call to \f(CW\*(C`ev_init
(watcher *, callback)\*(C'\fR, which expects a callback to be provided. This
callback gets invoked each time the event occurs (or, in the case of I/O
watchers, each time the event loop detects that the file descriptor given
is readable and/or writable).
Each watcher type has its own \f(CW\*(C`ev_<type>_set (watcher *, ...)\*(C'\fR macro
with arguments specific to this watcher type. There is also a macro
to combine initialisation and setting in one call: \f(CW\*(C`ev_<type>_init
(watcher *, callback, ...)\*(C'\fR.
To make the watcher actually watch out for events, you have to start it
with a watcher-specific start function (\f(CW\*(C`ev_<type>_start (loop, watcher
*)\*(C'\fR), and you can stop watching for events at any time by calling the
corresponding stop function (\f(CW\*(C`ev_<type>_stop (loop, watcher *)\*(C'\fR.
As long as your watcher is active (has been started but not stopped) you
must not touch the values stored in it. Most specifically you must never
reinitialise it or call its \f(CW\*(C`set\*(C'\fR macro.
Each and every callback receives the event loop pointer as first, the
registered watcher structure as second, and a bitset of received events as
third argument.
The received events usually include a single bit per event type received
(you can receive multiple events at the same time). The possible bit masks
.ie n .IP """EV_READ""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_READ\fR" 4
.IX Item "EV_READ"
.PD 0
.ie n .IP """EV_WRITE""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_WRITE\fR" 4
The file descriptor in the \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR watcher has become readable and/or
.ie n .IP """EV_TIMEOUT""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_TIMEOUT\fR" 4
The \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR watcher has timed out.
.ie n .IP """EV_PERIODIC""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_PERIODIC\fR" 4
The \f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic\*(C'\fR watcher has timed out.
.ie n .IP """EV_SIGNAL""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_SIGNAL\fR" 4
The signal specified in the \f(CW\*(C`ev_signal\*(C'\fR watcher has been received by a thread.
.ie n .IP """EV_CHILD""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_CHILD\fR" 4
The pid specified in the \f(CW\*(C`ev_child\*(C'\fR watcher has received a status change.
.ie n .IP """EV_STAT""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_STAT\fR" 4
.IX Item "EV_STAT"
The path specified in the \f(CW\*(C`ev_stat\*(C'\fR watcher changed its attributes somehow.
.ie n .IP """EV_IDLE""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_IDLE\fR" 4
.IX Item "EV_IDLE"
The \f(CW\*(C`ev_idle\*(C'\fR watcher has determined that you have nothing better to do.
.ie n .IP """EV_PREPARE""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_PREPARE\fR" 4
.PD 0
.ie n .IP """EV_CHECK""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_CHECK\fR" 4
All \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR watchers are invoked just \fIbefore\fR \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR starts
to gather new events, and all \f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR watchers are invoked just after
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR has gathered them, but before it invokes any callbacks for any
received events. Callbacks of both watcher types can start and stop as
many watchers as they want, and all of them will be taken into account
(for example, a \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR watcher might start an idle watcher to keep
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR from blocking).
.ie n .IP """EV_EMBED""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_EMBED\fR" 4
The embedded event loop specified in the \f(CW\*(C`ev_embed\*(C'\fR watcher needs attention.
.ie n .IP """EV_FORK""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_FORK\fR" 4
.IX Item "EV_FORK"
The event loop has been resumed in the child process after fork (see
.ie n .IP """EV_ASYNC""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_ASYNC\fR" 4
The given async watcher has been asynchronously notified (see \f(CW\*(C`ev_async\*(C'\fR).
.ie n .IP """EV_ERROR""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_ERROR\fR" 4
An unspecified error has occurred, the watcher has been stopped. This might
happen because the watcher could not be properly started because libev
ran out of memory, a file descriptor was found to be closed or any other
problem. You best act on it by reporting the problem and somehow coping
with the watcher being stopped.
Libev will usually signal a few \*(L"dummy\*(R" events together with an error, for
example it might indicate that a fd is readable or writable, and if your
callbacks is well-written it can just attempt the operation and cope with
the error from \fIread()\fR or \fIwrite()\fR. This will not work in multi-threaded
programs, though, as the fd could already be closed and reused for another
thing, so beware.
.Sh "\s-1GENERIC\s0 \s-1WATCHER\s0 \s-1FUNCTIONS\s0"
In the following description, \f(CW\*(C`TYPE\*(C'\fR stands for the watcher type,
e.g. \f(CW\*(C`timer\*(C'\fR for \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR watchers and \f(CW\*(C`io\*(C'\fR for \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR watchers.
.ie n .IP """ev_init"" (ev_TYPE *watcher, callback)" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWev_init\fR (ev_TYPE *watcher, callback)" 4
.IX Item "ev_init (ev_TYPE *watcher, callback)"
This macro initialises the generic portion of a watcher. The contents
of the watcher object can be arbitrary (so \f(CW\*(C`malloc\*(C'\fR will do). Only
the generic parts of the watcher are initialised, you \fIneed\fR to call
the type-specific \f(CW\*(C`ev_TYPE_set\*(C'\fR macro afterwards to initialise the
type-specific parts. For each type there is also a \f(CW\*(C`ev_TYPE_init\*(C'\fR macro
which rolls both calls into one.
You can reinitialise a watcher at any time as long as it has been stopped
(or never started) and there are no pending events outstanding.
The callback is always of type \f(CW\*(C`void (*)(ev_loop *loop, ev_TYPE *watcher,
int revents)\*(C'\fR.
Example: Initialise an \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR watcher in two steps.
.Vb 3
\& ev_io w;
\& ev_init (&w, my_cb);
\& ev_io_set (&w, STDIN_FILENO, EV_READ);
.ie n .IP """ev_TYPE_set"" (ev_TYPE *, [args])" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWev_TYPE_set\fR (ev_TYPE *, [args])" 4
.IX Item "ev_TYPE_set (ev_TYPE *, [args])"
This macro initialises the type-specific parts of a watcher. You need to
call \f(CW\*(C`ev_init\*(C'\fR at least once before you call this macro, but you can
call \f(CW\*(C`ev_TYPE_set\*(C'\fR any number of times. You must not, however, call this
macro on a watcher that is active (it can be pending, however, which is a
difference to the \f(CW\*(C`ev_init\*(C'\fR macro).
Although some watcher types do not have type-specific arguments
(e.g. \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR) you still need to call its \f(CW\*(C`set\*(C'\fR macro.
See \f(CW\*(C`ev_init\*(C'\fR, above, for an example.
.ie n .IP """ev_TYPE_init"" (ev_TYPE *watcher, callback, [args])" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWev_TYPE_init\fR (ev_TYPE *watcher, callback, [args])" 4
.IX Item "ev_TYPE_init (ev_TYPE *watcher, callback, [args])"
This convenience macro rolls both \f(CW\*(C`ev_init\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`ev_TYPE_set\*(C'\fR macro
calls into a single call. This is the most convenient method to initialise
a watcher. The same limitations apply, of course.
Example: Initialise and set an \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR watcher in one step.
.Vb 1
\& ev_io_init (&w, my_cb, STDIN_FILENO, EV_READ);
.ie n .IP """ev_TYPE_start"" (loop *, ev_TYPE *watcher)" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWev_TYPE_start\fR (loop *, ev_TYPE *watcher)" 4
.IX Item "ev_TYPE_start (loop *, ev_TYPE *watcher)"
Starts (activates) the given watcher. Only active watchers will receive
events. If the watcher is already active nothing will happen.
Example: Start the \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR watcher that is being abused as example in this
whole section.
.Vb 1
\& ev_io_start (EV_DEFAULT_UC, &w);
.ie n .IP """ev_TYPE_stop"" (loop *, ev_TYPE *watcher)" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWev_TYPE_stop\fR (loop *, ev_TYPE *watcher)" 4
.IX Item "ev_TYPE_stop (loop *, ev_TYPE *watcher)"
Stops the given watcher if active, and clears the pending status (whether
the watcher was active or not).
It is possible that stopped watchers are pending \- for example,
non-repeating timers are being stopped when they become pending \- but
calling \f(CW\*(C`ev_TYPE_stop\*(C'\fR ensures that the watcher is neither active nor
pending. If you want to free or reuse the memory used by the watcher it is
therefore a good idea to always call its \f(CW\*(C`ev_TYPE_stop\*(C'\fR function.
.IP "bool ev_is_active (ev_TYPE *watcher)" 4
.IX Item "bool ev_is_active (ev_TYPE *watcher)"
Returns a true value iff the watcher is active (i.e. it has been started
and not yet been stopped). As long as a watcher is active you must not modify
.IP "bool ev_is_pending (ev_TYPE *watcher)" 4
.IX Item "bool ev_is_pending (ev_TYPE *watcher)"
Returns a true value iff the watcher is pending, (i.e. it has outstanding
events but its callback has not yet been invoked). As long as a watcher
is pending (but not active) you must not call an init function on it (but
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_TYPE_set\*(C'\fR is safe), you must not change its priority, and you must
make sure the watcher is available to libev (e.g. you cannot \f(CW\*(C`free ()\*(C'\fR
.IP "callback ev_cb (ev_TYPE *watcher)" 4
.IX Item "callback ev_cb (ev_TYPE *watcher)"
Returns the callback currently set on the watcher.
.IP "ev_cb_set (ev_TYPE *watcher, callback)" 4
.IX Item "ev_cb_set (ev_TYPE *watcher, callback)"
Change the callback. You can change the callback at virtually any time
(modulo threads).
.IP "ev_set_priority (ev_TYPE *watcher, priority)" 4
.IX Item "ev_set_priority (ev_TYPE *watcher, priority)"
.PD 0
.IP "int ev_priority (ev_TYPE *watcher)" 4
.IX Item "int ev_priority (ev_TYPE *watcher)"
Set and query the priority of the watcher. The priority is a small
integer between \f(CW\*(C`EV_MAXPRI\*(C'\fR (default: \f(CW2\fR) and \f(CW\*(C`EV_MINPRI\*(C'\fR
(default: \f(CW\*(C`\-2\*(C'\fR). Pending watchers with higher priority will be invoked
before watchers with lower priority, but priority will not keep watchers
from being executed (except for \f(CW\*(C`ev_idle\*(C'\fR watchers).
This means that priorities are \fIonly\fR used for ordering callback
invocation after new events have been received. This is useful, for
example, to reduce latency after idling, or more often, to bind two
watchers on the same event and make sure one is called first.
If you need to suppress invocation when higher priority events are pending
you need to look at \f(CW\*(C`ev_idle\*(C'\fR watchers, which provide this functionality.
You \fImust not\fR change the priority of a watcher as long as it is active or
The default priority used by watchers when no priority has been set is
always \f(CW0\fR, which is supposed to not be too high and not be too low :).
Setting a priority outside the range of \f(CW\*(C`EV_MINPRI\*(C'\fR to \f(CW\*(C`EV_MAXPRI\*(C'\fR is
fine, as long as you do not mind that the priority value you query might
or might not have been adjusted to be within valid range.
.IP "ev_invoke (loop, ev_TYPE *watcher, int revents)" 4
.IX Item "ev_invoke (loop, ev_TYPE *watcher, int revents)"
Invoke the \f(CW\*(C`watcher\*(C'\fR with the given \f(CW\*(C`loop\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`revents\*(C'\fR. Neither
\&\f(CW\*(C`loop\*(C'\fR nor \f(CW\*(C`revents\*(C'\fR need to be valid as long as the watcher callback
can deal with that fact, as both are simply passed through to the
.IP "int ev_clear_pending (loop, ev_TYPE *watcher)" 4
.IX Item "int ev_clear_pending (loop, ev_TYPE *watcher)"
If the watcher is pending, this function clears its pending status and
returns its \f(CW\*(C`revents\*(C'\fR bitset (as if its callback was invoked). If the
watcher isn't pending it does nothing and returns \f(CW0\fR.
Sometimes it can be useful to \*(L"poll\*(R" a watcher instead of waiting for its
callback to be invoked, which can be accomplished with this function.
.Sh "\s-1ASSOCIATING\s0 \s-1CUSTOM\s0 \s-1DATA\s0 \s-1WITH\s0 A \s-1WATCHER\s0"
Each watcher has, by default, a member \f(CW\*(C`void *data\*(C'\fR that you can change
and read at any time: libev will completely ignore it. This can be used
to associate arbitrary data with your watcher. If you need more data and
don't want to allocate memory and store a pointer to it in that data
member, you can also \*(L"subclass\*(R" the watcher type and provide your own
.Vb 7
\& struct my_io
\& {
\& struct ev_io io;
\& int otherfd;
\& void *somedata;
\& struct whatever *mostinteresting;
\& };
\& ...
\& struct my_io w;
\& ev_io_init (&, my_cb, fd, EV_READ);
And since your callback will be called with a pointer to the watcher, you
can cast it back to your own type:
.Vb 5
\& static void my_cb (struct ev_loop *loop, struct ev_io *w_, int revents)
\& {
\& struct my_io *w = (struct my_io *)w_;
\& ...
\& }
More interesting and less C\-conformant ways of casting your callback type
instead have been omitted.
Another common scenario is to use some data structure with multiple
embedded watchers:
.Vb 6
\& struct my_biggy
\& {
\& int some_data;
\& ev_timer t1;
\& ev_timer t2;
\& }
In this case getting the pointer to \f(CW\*(C`my_biggy\*(C'\fR is a bit more
complicated: Either you store the address of your \f(CW\*(C`my_biggy\*(C'\fR struct
in the \f(CW\*(C`data\*(C'\fR member of the watcher (for woozies), or you need to use
some pointer arithmetic using \f(CW\*(C`offsetof\*(C'\fR inside your watchers (for real
.Vb 1
\& #include <stddef.h>
\& static void
\& t1_cb (EV_P_ struct ev_timer *w, int revents)
\& {
\& struct my_biggy big = (struct my_biggy *
\& (((char *)w) \- offsetof (struct my_biggy, t1));
\& }
\& static void
\& t2_cb (EV_P_ struct ev_timer *w, int revents)
\& {
\& struct my_biggy big = (struct my_biggy *
\& (((char *)w) \- offsetof (struct my_biggy, t2));
\& }
This section describes each watcher in detail, but will not repeat
information given in the last section. Any initialisation/set macros,
functions and members specific to the watcher type are explained.
Members are additionally marked with either \fI[read\-only]\fR, meaning that,
while the watcher is active, you can look at the member and expect some
sensible content, but you must not modify it (you can modify it while the
watcher is stopped to your hearts content), or \fI[read\-write]\fR, which
means you can expect it to have some sensible content while the watcher
is active, but you can also modify it. Modifying it may not do something
sensible or take immediate effect (or do anything at all), but libev will
not crash or malfunction in any way.
.ie n .Sh """ev_io"" \- is this file descriptor readable or writable?"
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_io\fP \- is this file descriptor readable or writable?"
.IX Subsection "ev_io - is this file descriptor readable or writable?"
I/O watchers check whether a file descriptor is readable or writable
in each iteration of the event loop, or, more precisely, when reading
would not block the process and writing would at least be able to write
some data. This behaviour is called level-triggering because you keep
receiving events as long as the condition persists. Remember you can stop
the watcher if you don't want to act on the event and neither want to
receive future events.
In general you can register as many read and/or write event watchers per
fd as you want (as long as you don't confuse yourself). Setting all file
descriptors to non-blocking mode is also usually a good idea (but not
required if you know what you are doing).
If you cannot use non-blocking mode, then force the use of a
known-to-be-good backend (at the time of this writing, this includes only
Another thing you have to watch out for is that it is quite easy to
receive \*(L"spurious\*(R" readiness notifications, that is your callback might
be called with \f(CW\*(C`EV_READ\*(C'\fR but a subsequent \f(CW\*(C`read\*(C'\fR(2) will actually block
because there is no data. Not only are some backends known to create a
lot of those (for example Solaris ports), it is very easy to get into
this situation even with a relatively standard program structure. Thus
it is best to always use non-blocking I/O: An extra \f(CW\*(C`read\*(C'\fR(2) returning
\&\f(CW\*(C`EAGAIN\*(C'\fR is far preferable to a program hanging until some data arrives.
If you cannot run the fd in non-blocking mode (for example you should
not play around with an Xlib connection), then you have to separately
re-test whether a file descriptor is really ready with a known-to-be good
interface such as poll (fortunately in our Xlib example, Xlib already
does this on its own, so its quite safe to use). Some people additionally
use \f(CW\*(C`SIGALRM\*(C'\fR and an interval timer, just to be sure you won't block
But really, best use non-blocking mode.
\fIThe special problem of disappearing file descriptors\fR
.IX Subsection "The special problem of disappearing file descriptors"
Some backends (e.g. kqueue, epoll) need to be told about closing a file
descriptor (either due to calling \f(CW\*(C`close\*(C'\fR explicitly or any other means,
such as \f(CW\*(C`dup2\*(C'\fR). The reason is that you register interest in some file
descriptor, but when it goes away, the operating system will silently drop
this interest. If another file descriptor with the same number then is
registered with libev, there is no efficient way to see that this is, in
fact, a different file descriptor.
To avoid having to explicitly tell libev about such cases, libev follows
the following policy: Each time \f(CW\*(C`ev_io_set\*(C'\fR is being called, libev
will assume that this is potentially a new file descriptor, otherwise
it is assumed that the file descriptor stays the same. That means that
you \fIhave\fR to call \f(CW\*(C`ev_io_set\*(C'\fR (or \f(CW\*(C`ev_io_init\*(C'\fR) when you change the
descriptor even if the file descriptor number itself did not change.
This is how one would do it normally anyway, the important point is that
the libev application should not optimise around libev but should leave
optimisations to libev.
\fIThe special problem of dup'ed file descriptors\fR
.IX Subsection "The special problem of dup'ed file descriptors"
Some backends (e.g. epoll), cannot register events for file descriptors,
but only events for the underlying file descriptions. That means when you
have \f(CW\*(C`dup ()\*(C'\fR'ed file descriptors or weirder constellations, and register
events for them, only one file descriptor might actually receive events.
There is no workaround possible except not registering events
for potentially \f(CW\*(C`dup ()\*(C'\fR'ed file descriptors, or to resort to
\fIThe special problem of fork\fR
.IX Subsection "The special problem of fork"
Some backends (epoll, kqueue) do not support \f(CW\*(C`fork ()\*(C'\fR at all or exhibit
useless behaviour. Libev fully supports fork, but needs to be told about
it in the child.
To support fork in your programs, you either have to call
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_default_fork ()\*(C'\fR or \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop_fork ()\*(C'\fR after a fork in the child,
enable \f(CW\*(C`EVFLAG_FORKCHECK\*(C'\fR, or resort to \f(CW\*(C`EVBACKEND_SELECT\*(C'\fR or
\fIThe special problem of \s-1SIGPIPE\s0\fR
.IX Subsection "The special problem of SIGPIPE"
While not really specific to libev, it is easy to forget about \f(CW\*(C`SIGPIPE\*(C'\fR:
when writing to a pipe whose other end has been closed, your program gets
sent a \s-1SIGPIPE\s0, which, by default, aborts your program. For most programs
this is sensible behaviour, for daemons, this is usually undesirable.
So when you encounter spurious, unexplained daemon exits, make sure you
ignore \s-1SIGPIPE\s0 (and maybe make sure you log the exit status of your daemon
somewhere, as that would have given you a big clue).
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions"
.IP "ev_io_init (ev_io *, callback, int fd, int events)" 4
.IX Item "ev_io_init (ev_io *, callback, int fd, int events)"
.PD 0
.IP "ev_io_set (ev_io *, int fd, int events)" 4
.IX Item "ev_io_set (ev_io *, int fd, int events)"
Configures an \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR watcher. The \f(CW\*(C`fd\*(C'\fR is the file descriptor to
receive events for and \f(CW\*(C`events\*(C'\fR is either \f(CW\*(C`EV_READ\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`EV_WRITE\*(C'\fR or
\&\f(CW\*(C`EV_READ | EV_WRITE\*(C'\fR, to express the desire to receive the given events.
.IP "int fd [read\-only]" 4
.IX Item "int fd [read-only]"
The file descriptor being watched.
.IP "int events [read\-only]" 4
.IX Item "int events [read-only]"
The events being watched.
.IX Subsection "Examples"
Example: Call \f(CW\*(C`stdin_readable_cb\*(C'\fR when \s-1STDIN_FILENO\s0 has become, well
readable, but only once. Since it is likely line-buffered, you could
attempt to read a whole line in the callback.
.Vb 6
\& static void
\& stdin_readable_cb (struct ev_loop *loop, struct ev_io *w, int revents)
\& {
\& ev_io_stop (loop, w);
\& .. read from stdin here (or from w\->fd) and handle any I/O errors
\& }
\& ...
\& struct ev_loop *loop = ev_default_init (0);
\& struct ev_io stdin_readable;
\& ev_io_init (&stdin_readable, stdin_readable_cb, STDIN_FILENO, EV_READ);
\& ev_io_start (loop, &stdin_readable);
\& ev_loop (loop, 0);
.ie n .Sh """ev_timer"" \- relative and optionally repeating timeouts"
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_timer\fP \- relative and optionally repeating timeouts"
.IX Subsection "ev_timer - relative and optionally repeating timeouts"
Timer watchers are simple relative timers that generate an event after a
given time, and optionally repeating in regular intervals after that.
The timers are based on real time, that is, if you register an event that
times out after an hour and you reset your system clock to January last
year, it will still time out after (roughly) one hour. \*(L"Roughly\*(R" because
detecting time jumps is hard, and some inaccuracies are unavoidable (the
monotonic clock option helps a lot here).
The callback is guaranteed to be invoked only \fIafter\fR its timeout has
passed, but if multiple timers become ready during the same loop iteration
then order of execution is undefined.
\fIThe special problem of time updates\fR
.IX Subsection "The special problem of time updates"
Establishing the current time is a costly operation (it usually takes at
least two system calls): \s-1EV\s0 therefore updates its idea of the current
time only before and after \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR collects new events, which causes a
growing difference between \f(CW\*(C`ev_now ()\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`ev_time ()\*(C'\fR when handling
lots of events in one iteration.
The relative timeouts are calculated relative to the \f(CW\*(C`ev_now ()\*(C'\fR
time. This is usually the right thing as this timestamp refers to the time
of the event triggering whatever timeout you are modifying/starting. If
you suspect event processing to be delayed and you \fIneed\fR to base the
timeout on the current time, use something like this to adjust for this:
.Vb 1
\& ev_timer_set (&timer, after + ev_now () \- ev_time (), 0.);
If the event loop is suspended for a long time, you can also force an
update of the time returned by \f(CW\*(C`ev_now ()\*(C'\fR by calling \f(CW\*(C`ev_now_update
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions and Data Members\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions and Data Members"
.IP "ev_timer_init (ev_timer *, callback, ev_tstamp after, ev_tstamp repeat)" 4
.IX Item "ev_timer_init (ev_timer *, callback, ev_tstamp after, ev_tstamp repeat)"
.PD 0
.IP "ev_timer_set (ev_timer *, ev_tstamp after, ev_tstamp repeat)" 4
.IX Item "ev_timer_set (ev_timer *, ev_tstamp after, ev_tstamp repeat)"
Configure the timer to trigger after \f(CW\*(C`after\*(C'\fR seconds. If \f(CW\*(C`repeat\*(C'\fR
is \f(CW0.\fR, then it will automatically be stopped once the timeout is
reached. If it is positive, then the timer will automatically be
configured to trigger again \f(CW\*(C`repeat\*(C'\fR seconds later, again, and again,
until stopped manually.
The timer itself will do a best-effort at avoiding drift, that is, if
you configure a timer to trigger every 10 seconds, then it will normally
trigger at exactly 10 second intervals. If, however, your program cannot
keep up with the timer (because it takes longer than those 10 seconds to
do stuff) the timer will not fire more than once per event loop iteration.
.IP "ev_timer_again (loop, ev_timer *)" 4
.IX Item "ev_timer_again (loop, ev_timer *)"
This will act as if the timer timed out and restart it again if it is
repeating. The exact semantics are:
If the timer is pending, its pending status is cleared.
If the timer is started but non-repeating, stop it (as if it timed out).
If the timer is repeating, either start it if necessary (with the
\&\f(CW\*(C`repeat\*(C'\fR value), or reset the running timer to the \f(CW\*(C`repeat\*(C'\fR value.
This sounds a bit complicated, but here is a useful and typical
example: Imagine you have a \s-1TCP\s0 connection and you want a so-called idle
timeout, that is, you want to be called when there have been, say, 60
seconds of inactivity on the socket. The easiest way to do this is to
configure an \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR with a \f(CW\*(C`repeat\*(C'\fR value of \f(CW60\fR and then call
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_timer_again\*(C'\fR each time you successfully read or write some data. If
you go into an idle state where you do not expect data to travel on the
socket, you can \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer_stop\*(C'\fR the timer, and \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer_again\*(C'\fR will
automatically restart it if need be.
That means you can ignore the \f(CW\*(C`after\*(C'\fR value and \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer_start\*(C'\fR
altogether and only ever use the \f(CW\*(C`repeat\*(C'\fR value and \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer_again\*(C'\fR:
.Vb 8
\& ev_timer_init (timer, callback, 0., 5.);
\& ev_timer_again (loop, timer);
\& ...
\& timer\->again = 17.;
\& ev_timer_again (loop, timer);
\& ...
\& timer\->again = 10.;
\& ev_timer_again (loop, timer);
This is more slightly efficient then stopping/starting the timer each time
you want to modify its timeout value.
Note, however, that it is often even more efficient to remember the
time of the last activity and let the timer time-out naturally. In the
callback, you then check whether the time-out is real, or, if there was
some activity, you reschedule the watcher to time-out in \*(L"last_activity +
timeout \- ev_now ()\*(R" seconds.
.IP "ev_tstamp repeat [read\-write]" 4
.IX Item "ev_tstamp repeat [read-write]"
The current \f(CW\*(C`repeat\*(C'\fR value. Will be used each time the watcher times out
or \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer_again\*(C'\fR is called, and determines the next timeout (if any),
which is also when any modifications are taken into account.
.IX Subsection "Examples"
Example: Create a timer that fires after 60 seconds.
.Vb 5
\& static void
\& one_minute_cb (struct ev_loop *loop, struct ev_timer *w, int revents)
\& {
\& .. one minute over, w is actually stopped right here
\& }
\& struct ev_timer mytimer;
\& ev_timer_init (&mytimer, one_minute_cb, 60., 0.);
\& ev_timer_start (loop, &mytimer);
Example: Create a timeout timer that times out after 10 seconds of
.Vb 5
\& static void
\& timeout_cb (struct ev_loop *loop, struct ev_timer *w, int revents)
\& {
\& .. ten seconds without any activity
\& }
\& struct ev_timer mytimer;
\& ev_timer_init (&mytimer, timeout_cb, 0., 10.); /* note, only repeat used */
\& ev_timer_again (&mytimer); /* start timer */
\& ev_loop (loop, 0);
\& // and in some piece of code that gets executed on any "activity":
\& // reset the timeout to start ticking again at 10 seconds
\& ev_timer_again (&mytimer);
.ie n .Sh """ev_periodic"" \- to cron or not to cron?"
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_periodic\fP \- to cron or not to cron?"
.IX Subsection "ev_periodic - to cron or not to cron?"
Periodic watchers are also timers of a kind, but they are very versatile
(and unfortunately a bit complex).
Unlike \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR's, they are not based on real time (or relative time)
but on wall clock time (absolute time). You can tell a periodic watcher
to trigger after some specific point in time. For example, if you tell a
periodic watcher to trigger in 10 seconds (by specifying e.g. \f(CW\*(C`ev_now ()
+ 10.\*(C'\fR, that is, an absolute time not a delay) and then reset your system
clock to January of the previous year, then it will take more than year
to trigger the event (unlike an \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR, which would still trigger
roughly 10 seconds later as it uses a relative timeout).
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic\*(C'\fRs can also be used to implement vastly more complex timers,
such as triggering an event on each \*(L"midnight, local time\*(R", or other
complicated rules.
As with timers, the callback is guaranteed to be invoked only when the
time (\f(CW\*(C`at\*(C'\fR) has passed, but if multiple periodic timers become ready
during the same loop iteration, then order of execution is undefined.
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions and Data Members\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions and Data Members"
.IP "ev_periodic_init (ev_periodic *, callback, ev_tstamp at, ev_tstamp interval, reschedule_cb)" 4
.IX Item "ev_periodic_init (ev_periodic *, callback, ev_tstamp at, ev_tstamp interval, reschedule_cb)"
.PD 0
.IP "ev_periodic_set (ev_periodic *, ev_tstamp after, ev_tstamp repeat, reschedule_cb)" 4
.IX Item "ev_periodic_set (ev_periodic *, ev_tstamp after, ev_tstamp repeat, reschedule_cb)"
Lots of arguments, lets sort it out... There are basically three modes of
operation, and we will explain them from simplest to most complex:
.RS 4
.IP "\(bu" 4
absolute timer (at = time, interval = reschedule_cb = 0)
In this configuration the watcher triggers an event after the wall clock
time \f(CW\*(C`at\*(C'\fR has passed. It will not repeat and will not adjust when a time
jump occurs, that is, if it is to be run at January 1st 2011 then it will
only run when the system clock reaches or surpasses this time.
.IP "\(bu" 4
repeating interval timer (at = offset, interval > 0, reschedule_cb = 0)
In this mode the watcher will always be scheduled to time out at the next
\&\f(CW\*(C`at + N * interval\*(C'\fR time (for some integer N, which can also be negative)
and then repeat, regardless of any time jumps.
This can be used to create timers that do not drift with respect to the
system clock, for example, here is a \f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic\*(C'\fR that triggers each
hour, on the hour:
.Vb 1
\& ev_periodic_set (&periodic, 0., 3600., 0);
This doesn't mean there will always be 3600 seconds in between triggers,
but only that the callback will be called when the system time shows a
full hour (\s-1UTC\s0), or more correctly, when the system time is evenly divisible
by 3600.
Another way to think about it (for the mathematically inclined) is that
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic\*(C'\fR will try to run the callback in this mode at the next possible
time where \f(CW\*(C`time = at (mod interval)\*(C'\fR, regardless of any time jumps.
For numerical stability it is preferable that the \f(CW\*(C`at\*(C'\fR value is near
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_now ()\*(C'\fR (the current time), but there is no range requirement for
this value, and in fact is often specified as zero.
Note also that there is an upper limit to how often a timer can fire (\s-1CPU\s0
speed for example), so if \f(CW\*(C`interval\*(C'\fR is very small then timing stability
will of course deteriorate. Libev itself tries to be exact to be about one
millisecond (if the \s-1OS\s0 supports it and the machine is fast enough).
.IP "\(bu" 4
manual reschedule mode (at and interval ignored, reschedule_cb = callback)
In this mode the values for \f(CW\*(C`interval\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`at\*(C'\fR are both being
ignored. Instead, each time the periodic watcher gets scheduled, the
reschedule callback will be called with the watcher as first, and the
current time as second argument.
\&\s-1NOTE:\s0 \fIThis callback \s-1MUST\s0 \s-1NOT\s0 stop or destroy any periodic watcher,
ever, or make \s-1ANY\s0 event loop modifications whatsoever\fR.
If you need to stop it, return \f(CW\*(C`now + 1e30\*(C'\fR (or so, fudge fudge) and stop
it afterwards (e.g. by starting an \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR watcher, which is the
only event loop modification you are allowed to do).
The callback prototype is \f(CW\*(C`ev_tstamp (*reschedule_cb)(struct ev_periodic
*w, ev_tstamp now)\*(C'\fR, e.g.:
.Vb 4
\& static ev_tstamp my_rescheduler (struct ev_periodic *w, ev_tstamp now)
\& {
\& return now + 60.;
\& }
It must return the next time to trigger, based on the passed time value
(that is, the lowest time value larger than to the second argument). It
will usually be called just before the callback will be triggered, but
might be called at other times, too.
\&\s-1NOTE:\s0 \fIThis callback must always return a time that is higher than or
equal to the passed \f(CI\*(C`now\*(C'\fI value\fR.
This can be used to create very complex timers, such as a timer that
triggers on \*(L"next midnight, local time\*(R". To do this, you would calculate the
next midnight after \f(CW\*(C`now\*(C'\fR and return the timestamp value for this. How
you do this is, again, up to you (but it is not trivial, which is the main
reason I omitted it as an example).
.RS 4
.IP "ev_periodic_again (loop, ev_periodic *)" 4
.IX Item "ev_periodic_again (loop, ev_periodic *)"
Simply stops and restarts the periodic watcher again. This is only useful
when you changed some parameters or the reschedule callback would return
a different time than the last time it was called (e.g. in a crond like
program when the crontabs have changed).
.IP "ev_tstamp ev_periodic_at (ev_periodic *)" 4
.IX Item "ev_tstamp ev_periodic_at (ev_periodic *)"
When active, returns the absolute time that the watcher is supposed to
trigger next.
.IP "ev_tstamp offset [read\-write]" 4
.IX Item "ev_tstamp offset [read-write]"
When repeating, this contains the offset value, otherwise this is the
absolute point in time (the \f(CW\*(C`at\*(C'\fR value passed to \f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic_set\*(C'\fR).
Can be modified any time, but changes only take effect when the periodic
timer fires or \f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic_again\*(C'\fR is being called.
.IP "ev_tstamp interval [read\-write]" 4
.IX Item "ev_tstamp interval [read-write]"
The current interval value. Can be modified any time, but changes only
take effect when the periodic timer fires or \f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic_again\*(C'\fR is being
.IP "ev_tstamp (*reschedule_cb)(struct ev_periodic *w, ev_tstamp now) [read\-write]" 4
.IX Item "ev_tstamp (*reschedule_cb)(struct ev_periodic *w, ev_tstamp now) [read-write]"
The current reschedule callback, or \f(CW0\fR, if this functionality is
switched off. Can be changed any time, but changes only take effect when
the periodic timer fires or \f(CW\*(C`ev_periodic_again\*(C'\fR is being called.
.IX Subsection "Examples"
Example: Call a callback every hour, or, more precisely, whenever the
system time is divisible by 3600. The callback invocation times have
potentially a lot of jitter, but good long-term stability.
.Vb 5
\& static void
\& clock_cb (struct ev_loop *loop, struct ev_io *w, int revents)
\& {
\& ... its now a full hour (UTC, or TAI or whatever your clock follows)
\& }
\& struct ev_periodic hourly_tick;
\& ev_periodic_init (&hourly_tick, clock_cb, 0., 3600., 0);
\& ev_periodic_start (loop, &hourly_tick);
Example: The same as above, but use a reschedule callback to do it:
.Vb 1
\& #include <math.h>
\& static ev_tstamp
\& my_scheduler_cb (struct ev_periodic *w, ev_tstamp now)
\& {
\& return now + (3600. \- fmod (now, 3600.));
\& }
\& ev_periodic_init (&hourly_tick, clock_cb, 0., 0., my_scheduler_cb);
Example: Call a callback every hour, starting now:
.Vb 4
\& struct ev_periodic hourly_tick;
\& ev_periodic_init (&hourly_tick, clock_cb,
\& fmod (ev_now (loop), 3600.), 3600., 0);
\& ev_periodic_start (loop, &hourly_tick);
.ie n .Sh """ev_signal"" \- signal me when a signal gets signalled!"
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_signal\fP \- signal me when a signal gets signalled!"
.IX Subsection "ev_signal - signal me when a signal gets signalled!"
Signal watchers will trigger an event when the process receives a specific
signal one or more times. Even though signals are very asynchronous, libev
will try it's best to deliver signals synchronously, i.e. as part of the
normal event processing, like any other event.
If you want signals asynchronously, just use \f(CW\*(C`sigaction\*(C'\fR as you would
do without libev and forget about sharing the signal. You can even use
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_async\*(C'\fR from a signal handler to synchronously wake up an event loop.
You can configure as many watchers as you like per signal. Only when the
first watcher gets started will libev actually register a signal handler
with the kernel (thus it coexists with your own signal handlers as long as
you don't register any with libev for the same signal). Similarly, when
the last signal watcher for a signal is stopped, libev will reset the
signal handler to \s-1SIG_DFL\s0 (regardless of what it was set to before).
If possible and supported, libev will install its handlers with
\&\f(CW\*(C`SA_RESTART\*(C'\fR behaviour enabled, so system calls should not be unduly
interrupted. If you have a problem with system calls getting interrupted by
signals you can block all signals in an \f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR watcher and unblock
them in an \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR watcher.
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions and Data Members\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions and Data Members"
.IP "ev_signal_init (ev_signal *, callback, int signum)" 4
.IX Item "ev_signal_init (ev_signal *, callback, int signum)"
.PD 0
.IP "ev_signal_set (ev_signal *, int signum)" 4
.IX Item "ev_signal_set (ev_signal *, int signum)"
Configures the watcher to trigger on the given signal number (usually one
of the \f(CW\*(C`SIGxxx\*(C'\fR constants).
.IP "int signum [read\-only]" 4
.IX Item "int signum [read-only]"
The signal the watcher watches out for.
.IX Subsection "Examples"
Example: Try to exit cleanly on \s-1SIGINT\s0.
.Vb 5
\& static void
\& sigint_cb (struct ev_loop *loop, struct ev_signal *w, int revents)
\& {
\& ev_unloop (loop, EVUNLOOP_ALL);
\& }
\& struct ev_signal signal_watcher;
\& ev_signal_init (&signal_watcher, sigint_cb, SIGINT);
\& ev_signal_start (loop, &signal_watcher);
.ie n .Sh """ev_child"" \- watch out for process status changes"
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_child\fP \- watch out for process status changes"
.IX Subsection "ev_child - watch out for process status changes"
Child watchers trigger when your process receives a \s-1SIGCHLD\s0 in response to
some child status changes (most typically when a child of yours dies or
exits). It is permissible to install a child watcher \fIafter\fR the child
has been forked (which implies it might have already exited), as long
as the event loop isn't entered (or is continued from a watcher), i.e.,
forking and then immediately registering a watcher for the child is fine,
but forking and registering a watcher a few event loop iterations later is
Only the default event loop is capable of handling signals, and therefore
you can only register child watchers in the default event loop.
\fIProcess Interaction\fR
.IX Subsection "Process Interaction"
Libev grabs \f(CW\*(C`SIGCHLD\*(C'\fR as soon as the default event loop is
initialised. This is necessary to guarantee proper behaviour even if
the first child watcher is started after the child exits. The occurrence
of \f(CW\*(C`SIGCHLD\*(C'\fR is recorded asynchronously, but child reaping is done
synchronously as part of the event loop processing. Libev always reaps all
children, even ones not watched.
\fIOverriding the Built-In Processing\fR
.IX Subsection "Overriding the Built-In Processing"
Libev offers no special support for overriding the built-in child
processing, but if your application collides with libev's default child
handler, you can override it easily by installing your own handler for
\&\f(CW\*(C`SIGCHLD\*(C'\fR after initialising the default loop, and making sure the
default loop never gets destroyed. You are encouraged, however, to use an
event-based approach to child reaping and thus use libev's support for
that, so other libev users can use \f(CW\*(C`ev_child\*(C'\fR watchers freely.
\fIStopping the Child Watcher\fR
.IX Subsection "Stopping the Child Watcher"
Currently, the child watcher never gets stopped, even when the
child terminates, so normally one needs to stop the watcher in the
callback. Future versions of libev might stop the watcher automatically
when a child exit is detected.
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions and Data Members\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions and Data Members"
.IP "ev_child_init (ev_child *, callback, int pid, int trace)" 4
.IX Item "ev_child_init (ev_child *, callback, int pid, int trace)"
.PD 0
.IP "ev_child_set (ev_child *, int pid, int trace)" 4
.IX Item "ev_child_set (ev_child *, int pid, int trace)"
Configures the watcher to wait for status changes of process \f(CW\*(C`pid\*(C'\fR (or
\&\fIany\fR process if \f(CW\*(C`pid\*(C'\fR is specified as \f(CW0\fR). The callback can look
at the \f(CW\*(C`rstatus\*(C'\fR member of the \f(CW\*(C`ev_child\*(C'\fR watcher structure to see
the status word (use the macros from \f(CW\*(C`sys/wait.h\*(C'\fR and see your systems
\&\f(CW\*(C`waitpid\*(C'\fR documentation). The \f(CW\*(C`rpid\*(C'\fR member contains the pid of the
process causing the status change. \f(CW\*(C`trace\*(C'\fR must be either \f(CW0\fR (only
activate the watcher when the process terminates) or \f(CW1\fR (additionally
activate the watcher when the process is stopped or continued).
.IP "int pid [read\-only]" 4
.IX Item "int pid [read-only]"
The process id this watcher watches out for, or \f(CW0\fR, meaning any process id.
.IP "int rpid [read\-write]" 4
.IX Item "int rpid [read-write]"
The process id that detected a status change.
.IP "int rstatus [read\-write]" 4
.IX Item "int rstatus [read-write]"
The process exit/trace status caused by \f(CW\*(C`rpid\*(C'\fR (see your systems
\&\f(CW\*(C`waitpid\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`sys/wait.h\*(C'\fR documentation for details).
.IX Subsection "Examples"
Example: \f(CW\*(C`fork()\*(C'\fR a new process and install a child handler to wait for
its completion.
.Vb 1
\& ev_child cw;
\& static void
\& child_cb (EV_P_ struct ev_child *w, int revents)
\& {
\& ev_child_stop (EV_A_ w);
\& printf ("process %d exited with status %x\en", w\->rpid, w\->rstatus);
\& }
\& pid_t pid = fork ();
\& if (pid < 0)
\& // error
\& else if (pid == 0)
\& {
\& // the forked child executes here
\& exit (1);
\& }
\& else
\& {
\& ev_child_init (&cw, child_cb, pid, 0);
\& ev_child_start (EV_DEFAULT_ &cw);
\& }
.ie n .Sh """ev_stat"" \- did the file attributes just change?"
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_stat\fP \- did the file attributes just change?"
.IX Subsection "ev_stat - did the file attributes just change?"
This watches a file system path for attribute changes. That is, it calls
\&\f(CW\*(C`stat\*(C'\fR regularly (or when the \s-1OS\s0 says it changed) and sees if it changed
compared to the last time, invoking the callback if it did.
The path does not need to exist: changing from \*(L"path exists\*(R" to \*(L"path does
not exist\*(R" is a status change like any other. The condition \*(L"path does
not exist\*(R" is signified by the \f(CW\*(C`st_nlink\*(C'\fR field being zero (which is
otherwise always forced to be at least one) and all the other fields of
the stat buffer having unspecified contents.
The path \fIshould\fR be absolute and \fImust not\fR end in a slash. If it is
relative and your working directory changes, the behaviour is undefined.
Since there is no standard kernel interface to do this, the portable
implementation simply calls \f(CW\*(C`stat (2)\*(C'\fR regularly on the path to see if
it changed somehow. You can specify a recommended polling interval for
this case. If you specify a polling interval of \f(CW0\fR (highly recommended!)
then a \fIsuitable, unspecified default\fR value will be used (which
you can expect to be around five seconds, although this might change
dynamically). Libev will also impose a minimum interval which is currently
around \f(CW0.1\fR, but thats usually overkill.
This watcher type is not meant for massive numbers of stat watchers,
as even with OS-supported change notifications, this can be
At the time of this writing, the only OS-specific interface implemented
is the Linux inotify interface (implementing kqueue support is left as
an exercise for the reader. Note, however, that the author sees no way
of implementing \f(CW\*(C`ev_stat\*(C'\fR semantics with kqueue).
\fI\s-1ABI\s0 Issues (Largefile Support)\fR
.IX Subsection "ABI Issues (Largefile Support)"
Libev by default (unless the user overrides this) uses the default
compilation environment, which means that on systems with large file
support disabled by default, you get the 32 bit version of the stat
structure. When using the library from programs that change the \s-1ABI\s0 to
use 64 bit file offsets the programs will fail. In that case you have to
compile libev with the same flags to get binary compatibility. This is
obviously the case with any flags that change the \s-1ABI\s0, but the problem is
most noticeably disabled with ev_stat and large file support.
The solution for this is to lobby your distribution maker to make large
file interfaces available by default (as e.g. FreeBSD does) and not
optional. Libev cannot simply switch on large file support because it has
to exchange stat structures with application programs compiled using the
default compilation environment.
\fIInotify and Kqueue\fR
.IX Subsection "Inotify and Kqueue"
When \f(CW\*(C`inotify (7)\*(C'\fR support has been compiled into libev (generally
only available with Linux 2.6.25 or above due to bugs in earlier
implementations) and present at runtime, it will be used to speed up
change detection where possible. The inotify descriptor will be created
lazily when the first \f(CW\*(C`ev_stat\*(C'\fR watcher is being started.
Inotify presence does not change the semantics of \f(CW\*(C`ev_stat\*(C'\fR watchers
except that changes might be detected earlier, and in some cases, to avoid
making regular \f(CW\*(C`stat\*(C'\fR calls. Even in the presence of inotify support
there are many cases where libev has to resort to regular \f(CW\*(C`stat\*(C'\fR polling,
but as long as the path exists, libev usually gets away without polling.
There is no support for kqueue, as apparently it cannot be used to
implement this functionality, due to the requirement of having a file
descriptor open on the object at all times, and detecting renames, unlinks
etc. is difficult.
\fIThe special problem of stat time resolution\fR
.IX Subsection "The special problem of stat time resolution"
The \f(CW\*(C`stat ()\*(C'\fR system call only supports full-second resolution portably, and
even on systems where the resolution is higher, most file systems still
only support whole seconds.
That means that, if the time is the only thing that changes, you can
easily miss updates: on the first update, \f(CW\*(C`ev_stat\*(C'\fR detects a change and
calls your callback, which does something. When there is another update
within the same second, \f(CW\*(C`ev_stat\*(C'\fR will be unable to detect unless the
stat data does change in other ways (e.g. file size).
The solution to this is to delay acting on a change for slightly more
than a second (or till slightly after the next full second boundary), using
a roughly one-second-delay \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR (e.g. \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer_set (w, 0., 1.02);
ev_timer_again (loop, w)\*(C'\fR).
The \f(CW.02\fR offset is added to work around small timing inconsistencies
of some operating systems (where the second counter of the current time
might be be delayed. One such system is the Linux kernel, where a call to
\&\f(CW\*(C`gettimeofday\*(C'\fR might return a timestamp with a full second later than
a subsequent \f(CW\*(C`time\*(C'\fR call \- if the equivalent of \f(CW\*(C`time ()\*(C'\fR is used to
update file times then there will be a small window where the kernel uses
the previous second to update file times but libev might already execute
the timer callback).
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions and Data Members\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions and Data Members"
.IP "ev_stat_init (ev_stat *, callback, const char *path, ev_tstamp interval)" 4
.IX Item "ev_stat_init (ev_stat *, callback, const char *path, ev_tstamp interval)"
.PD 0
.IP "ev_stat_set (ev_stat *, const char *path, ev_tstamp interval)" 4
.IX Item "ev_stat_set (ev_stat *, const char *path, ev_tstamp interval)"
Configures the watcher to wait for status changes of the given
\&\f(CW\*(C`path\*(C'\fR. The \f(CW\*(C`interval\*(C'\fR is a hint on how quickly a change is expected to
be detected and should normally be specified as \f(CW0\fR to let libev choose
a suitable value. The memory pointed to by \f(CW\*(C`path\*(C'\fR must point to the same
path for as long as the watcher is active.
The callback will receive an \f(CW\*(C`EV_STAT\*(C'\fR event when a change was detected,
relative to the attributes at the time the watcher was started (or the
last change was detected).
.IP "ev_stat_stat (loop, ev_stat *)" 4
.IX Item "ev_stat_stat (loop, ev_stat *)"
Updates the stat buffer immediately with new values. If you change the
watched path in your callback, you could call this function to avoid
detecting this change (while introducing a race condition if you are not
the only one changing the path). Can also be useful simply to find out the
new values.
.IP "ev_statdata attr [read\-only]" 4
.IX Item "ev_statdata attr [read-only]"
The most-recently detected attributes of the file. Although the type is
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_statdata\*(C'\fR, this is usually the (or one of the) \f(CW\*(C`struct stat\*(C'\fR types
suitable for your system, but you can only rely on the POSIX-standardised
members to be present. If the \f(CW\*(C`st_nlink\*(C'\fR member is \f(CW0\fR, then there was
some error while \f(CW\*(C`stat\*(C'\fRing the file.
.IP "ev_statdata prev [read\-only]" 4
.IX Item "ev_statdata prev [read-only]"
The previous attributes of the file. The callback gets invoked whenever
\&\f(CW\*(C`prev\*(C'\fR != \f(CW\*(C`attr\*(C'\fR, or, more precisely, one or more of these members
differ: \f(CW\*(C`st_dev\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`st_ino\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`st_mode\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`st_nlink\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`st_uid\*(C'\fR,
\&\f(CW\*(C`st_gid\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`st_rdev\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`st_size\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`st_atime\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`st_mtime\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`st_ctime\*(C'\fR.
.IP "ev_tstamp interval [read\-only]" 4
.IX Item "ev_tstamp interval [read-only]"
The specified interval.
.IP "const char *path [read\-only]" 4
.IX Item "const char *path [read-only]"
The file system path that is being watched.
.IX Subsection "Examples"
Example: Watch \f(CW\*(C`/etc/passwd\*(C'\fR for attribute changes.
.Vb 10
\& static void
\& passwd_cb (struct ev_loop *loop, ev_stat *w, int revents)
\& {
\& /* /etc/passwd changed in some way */
\& if (w\->attr.st_nlink)
\& {
\& printf ("passwd current size %ld\en", (long)w\->attr.st_size);
\& printf ("passwd current atime %ld\en", (long)w\->attr.st_mtime);
\& printf ("passwd current mtime %ld\en", (long)w\->attr.st_mtime);
\& }
\& else
\& /* you shalt not abuse printf for puts */
\& puts ("wow, /etc/passwd is not there, expect problems. "
\& "if this is windows, they already arrived\en");
\& }
\& ...
\& ev_stat passwd;
\& ev_stat_init (&passwd, passwd_cb, "/etc/passwd", 0.);
\& ev_stat_start (loop, &passwd);
Example: Like above, but additionally use a one-second delay so we do not
miss updates (however, frequent updates will delay processing, too, so
one might do the work both on \f(CW\*(C`ev_stat\*(C'\fR callback invocation \fIand\fR on
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR callback invocation).
.Vb 2
\& static ev_stat passwd;
\& static ev_timer timer;
\& static void
\& timer_cb (EV_P_ ev_timer *w, int revents)
\& {
\& ev_timer_stop (EV_A_ w);
\& /* now it\*(Aqs one second after the most recent passwd change */
\& }
\& static void
\& stat_cb (EV_P_ ev_stat *w, int revents)
\& {
\& /* reset the one\-second timer */
\& ev_timer_again (EV_A_ &timer);
\& }
\& ...
\& ev_stat_init (&passwd, stat_cb, "/etc/passwd", 0.);
\& ev_stat_start (loop, &passwd);
\& ev_timer_init (&timer, timer_cb, 0., 1.02);
.ie n .Sh """ev_idle"" \- when you've got nothing better to do..."
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_idle\fP \- when you've got nothing better to do..."
.IX Subsection "ev_idle - when you've got nothing better to do..."
Idle watchers trigger events when no other events of the same or higher
priority are pending (prepare, check and other idle watchers do not count
as receiving \*(L"events\*(R").
That is, as long as your process is busy handling sockets or timeouts
(or even signals, imagine) of the same or higher priority it will not be
triggered. But when your process is idle (or only lower-priority watchers
are pending), the idle watchers are being called once per event loop
iteration \- until stopped, that is, or your process receives more events
and becomes busy again with higher priority stuff.
The most noteworthy effect is that as long as any idle watchers are
active, the process will not block when waiting for new events.
Apart from keeping your process non-blocking (which is a useful
effect on its own sometimes), idle watchers are a good place to do
\&\*(L"pseudo-background processing\*(R", or delay processing stuff to after the
event loop has handled all outstanding events.
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions and Data Members\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions and Data Members"
.IP "ev_idle_init (ev_signal *, callback)" 4
.IX Item "ev_idle_init (ev_signal *, callback)"
Initialises and configures the idle watcher \- it has no parameters of any
kind. There is a \f(CW\*(C`ev_idle_set\*(C'\fR macro, but using it is utterly pointless,
believe me.
.IX Subsection "Examples"
Example: Dynamically allocate an \f(CW\*(C`ev_idle\*(C'\fR watcher, start it, and in the
callback, free it. Also, use no error checking, as usual.
.Vb 7
\& static void
\& idle_cb (struct ev_loop *loop, struct ev_idle *w, int revents)
\& {
\& free (w);
\& // now do something you wanted to do when the program has
\& // no longer anything immediate to do.
\& }
\& struct ev_idle *idle_watcher = malloc (sizeof (struct ev_idle));
\& ev_idle_init (idle_watcher, idle_cb);
\& ev_idle_start (loop, idle_cb);
.ie n .Sh """ev_prepare""\fP and \f(CW""ev_check"" \- customise your event loop!"
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_prepare\fP and \f(CWev_check\fP \- customise your event loop!"
.IX Subsection "ev_prepare and ev_check - customise your event loop!"
Prepare and check watchers are usually (but not always) used in pairs:
prepare watchers get invoked before the process blocks and check watchers
You \fImust not\fR call \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR or similar functions that enter
the current event loop from either \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR or \f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR
watchers. Other loops than the current one are fine, however. The
rationale behind this is that you do not need to check for recursion in
those watchers, i.e. the sequence will always be \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR, blocking,
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR so if you have one watcher of each kind they will always be
called in pairs bracketing the blocking call.
Their main purpose is to integrate other event mechanisms into libev and
their use is somewhat advanced. They could be used, for example, to track
variable changes, implement your own watchers, integrate net-snmp or a
coroutine library and lots more. They are also occasionally useful if
you cache some data and want to flush it before blocking (for example,
in X programs you might want to do an \f(CW\*(C`XFlush ()\*(C'\fR in an \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR
This is done by examining in each prepare call which file descriptors
need to be watched by the other library, registering \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR watchers
for them and starting an \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR watcher for any timeouts (many
libraries provide exactly this functionality). Then, in the check watcher,
you check for any events that occurred (by checking the pending status
of all watchers and stopping them) and call back into the library. The
I/O and timer callbacks will never actually be called (but must be valid
nevertheless, because you never know, you know?).
As another example, the Perl Coro module uses these hooks to integrate
coroutines into libev programs, by yielding to other active coroutines
during each prepare and only letting the process block if no coroutines
are ready to run (it's actually more complicated: it only runs coroutines
with priority higher than or equal to the event loop and one coroutine
of lower priority, but only once, using idle watchers to keep the event
loop from blocking if lower-priority coroutines are active, thus mapping
low-priority coroutines to idle/background tasks).
It is recommended to give \f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR watchers highest (\f(CW\*(C`EV_MAXPRI\*(C'\fR)
priority, to ensure that they are being run before any other watchers
after the poll (this doesn't matter for \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR watchers).
Also, \f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR watchers (and \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare\*(C'\fR watchers, too) should not
activate (\*(L"feed\*(R") events into libev. While libev fully supports this, they
might get executed before other \f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR watchers did their job. As
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR watchers are often used to embed other (non-libev) event
loops those other event loops might be in an unusable state until their
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR watcher ran (always remind yourself to coexist peacefully with
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions and Data Members\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions and Data Members"
.IP "ev_prepare_init (ev_prepare *, callback)" 4
.IX Item "ev_prepare_init (ev_prepare *, callback)"
.PD 0
.IP "ev_check_init (ev_check *, callback)" 4
.IX Item "ev_check_init (ev_check *, callback)"
Initialises and configures the prepare or check watcher \- they have no
parameters of any kind. There are \f(CW\*(C`ev_prepare_set\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`ev_check_set\*(C'\fR
macros, but using them is utterly, utterly, utterly and completely
.IX Subsection "Examples"
There are a number of principal ways to embed other event loops or modules
into libev. Here are some ideas on how to include libadns into libev
(there is a Perl module named \f(CW\*(C`EV::ADNS\*(C'\fR that does this, which you could
use as a working example. Another Perl module named \f(CW\*(C`EV::Glib\*(C'\fR embeds a
Glib main context into libev, and finally, \f(CW\*(C`Glib::EV\*(C'\fR embeds \s-1EV\s0 into the
Glib event loop).
Method 1: Add \s-1IO\s0 watchers and a timeout watcher in a prepare handler,
and in a check watcher, destroy them and call into libadns. What follows
is pseudo-code only of course. This requires you to either use a low
priority for the check watcher or use \f(CW\*(C`ev_clear_pending\*(C'\fR explicitly, as
the callbacks for the IO/timeout watchers might not have been called yet.
.Vb 2
\& static ev_io iow [nfd];
\& static ev_timer tw;
\& static void
\& io_cb (ev_loop *loop, ev_io *w, int revents)
\& {
\& }
\& // create io watchers for each fd and a timer before blocking
\& static void
\& adns_prepare_cb (ev_loop *loop, ev_prepare *w, int revents)
\& {
\& int timeout = 3600000;
\& struct pollfd fds [nfd];
\& // actual code will need to loop here and realloc etc.
\& adns_beforepoll (ads, fds, &nfd, &timeout, timeval_from (ev_time ()));
\& /* the callback is illegal, but won\*(Aqt be called as we stop during check */
\& ev_timer_init (&tw, 0, timeout * 1e\-3);
\& ev_timer_start (loop, &tw);
\& // create one ev_io per pollfd
\& for (int i = 0; i < nfd; ++i)
\& {
\& ev_io_init (iow + i, io_cb, fds [i].fd,
\& ((fds [i].events & POLLIN ? EV_READ : 0)
\& | (fds [i].events & POLLOUT ? EV_WRITE : 0)));
\& fds [i].revents = 0;
\& ev_io_start (loop, iow + i);
\& }
\& }
\& // stop all watchers after blocking
\& static void
\& adns_check_cb (ev_loop *loop, ev_check *w, int revents)
\& {
\& ev_timer_stop (loop, &tw);
\& for (int i = 0; i < nfd; ++i)
\& {
\& // set the relevant poll flags
\& // could also call adns_processreadable etc. here
\& struct pollfd *fd = fds + i;
\& int revents = ev_clear_pending (iow + i);
\& if (revents & EV_READ ) fd\->revents |= fd\->events & POLLIN;
\& if (revents & EV_WRITE) fd\->revents |= fd\->events & POLLOUT;
\& // now stop the watcher
\& ev_io_stop (loop, iow + i);
\& }
\& adns_afterpoll (adns, fds, nfd, timeval_from (ev_now (loop));
\& }
Method 2: This would be just like method 1, but you run \f(CW\*(C`adns_afterpoll\*(C'\fR
in the prepare watcher and would dispose of the check watcher.
Method 3: If the module to be embedded supports explicit event
notification (libadns does), you can also make use of the actual watcher
callbacks, and only destroy/create the watchers in the prepare watcher.
.Vb 5
\& static void
\& timer_cb (EV_P_ ev_timer *w, int revents)
\& {
\& adns_state ads = (adns_state)w\->data;
\& update_now (EV_A);
\& adns_processtimeouts (ads, &tv_now);
\& }
\& static void
\& io_cb (EV_P_ ev_io *w, int revents)
\& {
\& adns_state ads = (adns_state)w\->data;
\& update_now (EV_A);
\& if (revents & EV_READ ) adns_processreadable (ads, w\->fd, &tv_now);
\& if (revents & EV_WRITE) adns_processwriteable (ads, w\->fd, &tv_now);
\& }
\& // do not ever call adns_afterpoll
Method 4: Do not use a prepare or check watcher because the module you
want to embed is not flexible enough to support it. Instead, you can
override their poll function. The drawback with this solution is that the
main loop is now no longer controllable by \s-1EV\s0. The \f(CW\*(C`Glib::EV\*(C'\fR module uses
this approach, effectively embedding \s-1EV\s0 as a client into the horrible
libglib event loop.
.Vb 4
\& static gint
\& event_poll_func (GPollFD *fds, guint nfds, gint timeout)
\& {
\& int got_events = 0;
\& for (n = 0; n < nfds; ++n)
\& // create/start io watcher that sets the relevant bits in fds[n] and increment got_events
\& if (timeout >= 0)
\& // create/start timer
\& // poll
\& ev_loop (EV_A_ 0);
\& // stop timer again
\& if (timeout >= 0)
\& ev_timer_stop (EV_A_ &to);
\& // stop io watchers again \- their callbacks should have set
\& for (n = 0; n < nfds; ++n)
\& ev_io_stop (EV_A_ iow [n]);
\& return got_events;
\& }
.ie n .Sh """ev_embed"" \- when one backend isn't enough..."
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_embed\fP \- when one backend isn't enough..."
.IX Subsection "ev_embed - when one backend isn't enough..."
This is a rather advanced watcher type that lets you embed one event loop
into another (currently only \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR events are supported in the embedded
loop, other types of watchers might be handled in a delayed or incorrect
fashion and must not be used).
There are primarily two reasons you would want that: work around bugs and
prioritise I/O.
As an example for a bug workaround, the kqueue backend might only support
sockets on some platform, so it is unusable as generic backend, but you
still want to make use of it because you have many sockets and it scales
so nicely. In this case, you would create a kqueue-based loop and embed
it into your default loop (which might use e.g. poll). Overall operation
will be a bit slower because first libev has to call \f(CW\*(C`poll\*(C'\fR and then
\&\f(CW\*(C`kevent\*(C'\fR, but at least you can use both mechanisms for what they are
best: \f(CW\*(C`kqueue\*(C'\fR for scalable sockets and \f(CW\*(C`poll\*(C'\fR if you want it to work :)
As for prioritising I/O: under rare circumstances you have the case where
some fds have to be watched and handled very quickly (with low latency),
and even priorities and idle watchers might have too much overhead. In
this case you would put all the high priority stuff in one loop and all
the rest in a second one, and embed the second one in the first.
As long as the watcher is active, the callback will be invoked every time
there might be events pending in the embedded loop. The callback must then
call \f(CW\*(C`ev_embed_sweep (mainloop, watcher)\*(C'\fR to make a single sweep and invoke
their callbacks (you could also start an idle watcher to give the embedded
loop strictly lower priority for example). You can also set the callback
to \f(CW0\fR, in which case the embed watcher will automatically execute the
embedded loop sweep.
As long as the watcher is started it will automatically handle events. The
callback will be invoked whenever some events have been handled. You can
set the callback to \f(CW0\fR to avoid having to specify one if you are not
interested in that.
Also, there have not currently been made special provisions for forking:
when you fork, you not only have to call \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop_fork\*(C'\fR on both loops,
but you will also have to stop and restart any \f(CW\*(C`ev_embed\*(C'\fR watchers
yourself \- but you can use a fork watcher to handle this automatically,
and future versions of libev might do just that.
Unfortunately, not all backends are embeddable: only the ones returned by
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_embeddable_backends\*(C'\fR are, which, unfortunately, does not include any
portable one.
So when you want to use this feature you will always have to be prepared
that you cannot get an embeddable loop. The recommended way to get around
this is to have a separate variables for your embeddable loop, try to
create it, and if that fails, use the normal loop for everything.
\fI\f(CI\*(C`ev_embed\*(C'\fI and fork\fR
.IX Subsection "ev_embed and fork"
While the \f(CW\*(C`ev_embed\*(C'\fR watcher is running, forks in the embedding loop will
automatically be applied to the embedded loop as well, so no special
fork handling is required in that case. When the watcher is not running,
however, it is still the task of the libev user to call \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop_fork ()\*(C'\fR
as applicable.
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions and Data Members\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions and Data Members"
.IP "ev_embed_init (ev_embed *, callback, struct ev_loop *embedded_loop)" 4
.IX Item "ev_embed_init (ev_embed *, callback, struct ev_loop *embedded_loop)"
.PD 0
.IP "ev_embed_set (ev_embed *, callback, struct ev_loop *embedded_loop)" 4
.IX Item "ev_embed_set (ev_embed *, callback, struct ev_loop *embedded_loop)"
Configures the watcher to embed the given loop, which must be
embeddable. If the callback is \f(CW0\fR, then \f(CW\*(C`ev_embed_sweep\*(C'\fR will be
invoked automatically, otherwise it is the responsibility of the callback
to invoke it (it will continue to be called until the sweep has been done,
if you do not want that, you need to temporarily stop the embed watcher).
.IP "ev_embed_sweep (loop, ev_embed *)" 4
.IX Item "ev_embed_sweep (loop, ev_embed *)"
Make a single, non-blocking sweep over the embedded loop. This works
similarly to \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop (embedded_loop, EVLOOP_NONBLOCK)\*(C'\fR, but in the most
appropriate way for embedded loops.
.IP "struct ev_loop *other [read\-only]" 4
.IX Item "struct ev_loop *other [read-only]"
The embedded event loop.
.IX Subsection "Examples"
Example: Try to get an embeddable event loop and embed it into the default
event loop. If that is not possible, use the default loop. The default
loop is stored in \f(CW\*(C`loop_hi\*(C'\fR, while the embeddable loop is stored in
\&\f(CW\*(C`loop_lo\*(C'\fR (which is \f(CW\*(C`loop_hi\*(C'\fR in the case no embeddable loop can be
.Vb 3
\& struct ev_loop *loop_hi = ev_default_init (0);
\& struct ev_loop *loop_lo = 0;
\& struct ev_embed embed;
\& // see if there is a chance of getting one that works
\& // (remember that a flags value of 0 means autodetection)
\& loop_lo = ev_embeddable_backends () & ev_recommended_backends ()
\& ? ev_loop_new (ev_embeddable_backends () & ev_recommended_backends ())
\& : 0;
\& // if we got one, then embed it, otherwise default to loop_hi
\& if (loop_lo)
\& {
\& ev_embed_init (&embed, 0, loop_lo);
\& ev_embed_start (loop_hi, &embed);
\& }
\& else
\& loop_lo = loop_hi;
Example: Check if kqueue is available but not recommended and create
a kqueue backend for use with sockets (which usually work with any
kqueue implementation). Store the kqueue/socket\-only event loop in
\&\f(CW\*(C`loop_socket\*(C'\fR. (One might optionally use \f(CW\*(C`EVFLAG_NOENV\*(C'\fR, too).
.Vb 3
\& struct ev_loop *loop = ev_default_init (0);
\& struct ev_loop *loop_socket = 0;
\& struct ev_embed embed;
\& if (ev_supported_backends () & ~ev_recommended_backends () & EVBACKEND_KQUEUE)
\& if ((loop_socket = ev_loop_new (EVBACKEND_KQUEUE))
\& {
\& ev_embed_init (&embed, 0, loop_socket);
\& ev_embed_start (loop, &embed);
\& }
\& if (!loop_socket)
\& loop_socket = loop;
\& // now use loop_socket for all sockets, and loop for everything else
.ie n .Sh """ev_fork"" \- the audacity to resume the event loop after a fork"
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_fork\fP \- the audacity to resume the event loop after a fork"
.IX Subsection "ev_fork - the audacity to resume the event loop after a fork"
Fork watchers are called when a \f(CW\*(C`fork ()\*(C'\fR was detected (usually because
whoever is a good citizen cared to tell libev about it by calling
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_default_fork\*(C'\fR or \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop_fork\*(C'\fR). The invocation is done before the
event loop blocks next and before \f(CW\*(C`ev_check\*(C'\fR watchers are being called,
and only in the child after the fork. If whoever good citizen calling
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_default_fork\*(C'\fR cheats and calls it in the wrong process, the fork
handlers will be invoked, too, of course.
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions and Data Members\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions and Data Members"
.IP "ev_fork_init (ev_signal *, callback)" 4
.IX Item "ev_fork_init (ev_signal *, callback)"
Initialises and configures the fork watcher \- it has no parameters of any
kind. There is a \f(CW\*(C`ev_fork_set\*(C'\fR macro, but using it is utterly pointless,
believe me.
.ie n .Sh """ev_async"" \- how to wake up another event loop"
.el .Sh "\f(CWev_async\fP \- how to wake up another event loop"
.IX Subsection "ev_async - how to wake up another event loop"
In general, you cannot use an \f(CW\*(C`ev_loop\*(C'\fR from multiple threads or other
asynchronous sources such as signal handlers (as opposed to multiple event
loops \- those are of course safe to use in different threads).
Sometimes, however, you need to wake up another event loop you do not
control, for example because it belongs to another thread. This is what
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_async\*(C'\fR watchers do: as long as the \f(CW\*(C`ev_async\*(C'\fR watcher is active, you
can signal it by calling \f(CW\*(C`ev_async_send\*(C'\fR, which is thread\- and signal
This functionality is very similar to \f(CW\*(C`ev_signal\*(C'\fR watchers, as signals,
too, are asynchronous in nature, and signals, too, will be compressed
(i.e. the number of callback invocations may be less than the number of
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_async_sent\*(C'\fR calls).
Unlike \f(CW\*(C`ev_signal\*(C'\fR watchers, \f(CW\*(C`ev_async\*(C'\fR works with any event loop, not
just the default loop.
.IX Subsection "Queueing"
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_async\*(C'\fR does not support queueing of data in any way. The reason
is that the author does not know of a simple (or any) algorithm for a
multiple-writer-single-reader queue that works in all cases and doesn't
need elaborate support such as pthreads.
That means that if you want to queue data, you have to provide your own
queue. But at least I can tell you how to implement locking around your
.IP "queueing from a signal handler context" 4
.IX Item "queueing from a signal handler context"
To implement race-free queueing, you simply add to the queue in the signal
handler but you block the signal handler in the watcher callback. Here is
an example that does that for some fictitious \s-1SIGUSR1\s0 handler:
.Vb 1
\& static ev_async mysig;
\& static void
\& sigusr1_handler (void)
\& {
\& sometype data;
\& // no locking etc.
\& queue_put (data);
\& ev_async_send (EV_DEFAULT_ &mysig);
\& }
\& static void
\& mysig_cb (EV_P_ ev_async *w, int revents)
\& {
\& sometype data;
\& sigset_t block, prev;
\& sigemptyset (&block);
\& sigaddset (&block, SIGUSR1);
\& sigprocmask (SIG_BLOCK, &block, &prev);
\& while (queue_get (&data))
\& process (data);
\& if (sigismember (&prev, SIGUSR1)
\& sigprocmask (SIG_UNBLOCK, &block, 0);
\& }
(Note: pthreads in theory requires you to use \f(CW\*(C`pthread_setmask\*(C'\fR
instead of \f(CW\*(C`sigprocmask\*(C'\fR when you use threads, but libev doesn't do it
.IP "queueing from a thread context" 4
.IX Item "queueing from a thread context"
The strategy for threads is different, as you cannot (easily) block
threads but you can easily preempt them, so to queue safely you need to
employ a traditional mutex lock, such as in this pthread example:
.Vb 2
\& static ev_async mysig;
\& static pthread_mutex_t mymutex = PTHREAD_MUTEX_INITIALIZER;
\& static void
\& otherthread (void)
\& {
\& // only need to lock the actual queueing operation
\& pthread_mutex_lock (&mymutex);
\& queue_put (data);
\& pthread_mutex_unlock (&mymutex);
\& ev_async_send (EV_DEFAULT_ &mysig);
\& }
\& static void
\& mysig_cb (EV_P_ ev_async *w, int revents)
\& {
\& pthread_mutex_lock (&mymutex);
\& while (queue_get (&data))
\& process (data);
\& pthread_mutex_unlock (&mymutex);
\& }
\fIWatcher-Specific Functions and Data Members\fR
.IX Subsection "Watcher-Specific Functions and Data Members"
.IP "ev_async_init (ev_async *, callback)" 4
.IX Item "ev_async_init (ev_async *, callback)"
Initialises and configures the async watcher \- it has no parameters of any
kind. There is a \f(CW\*(C`ev_asynd_set\*(C'\fR macro, but using it is utterly pointless,
trust me.
.IP "ev_async_send (loop, ev_async *)" 4
.IX Item "ev_async_send (loop, ev_async *)"
Sends/signals/activates the given \f(CW\*(C`ev_async\*(C'\fR watcher, that is, feeds
an \f(CW\*(C`EV_ASYNC\*(C'\fR event on the watcher into the event loop. Unlike
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_feed_event\*(C'\fR, this call is safe to do from other threads, signal or
similar contexts (see the discussion of \f(CW\*(C`EV_ATOMIC_T\*(C'\fR in the embedding
section below on what exactly this means).
This call incurs the overhead of a system call only once per loop iteration,
so while the overhead might be noticeable, it doesn't apply to repeated
calls to \f(CW\*(C`ev_async_send\*(C'\fR.
.IP "bool = ev_async_pending (ev_async *)" 4
.IX Item "bool = ev_async_pending (ev_async *)"
Returns a non-zero value when \f(CW\*(C`ev_async_send\*(C'\fR has been called on the
watcher but the event has not yet been processed (or even noted) by the
event loop.
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_async_send\*(C'\fR sets a flag in the watcher and wakes up the loop. When
the loop iterates next and checks for the watcher to have become active,
it will reset the flag again. \f(CW\*(C`ev_async_pending\*(C'\fR can be used to very
quickly check whether invoking the loop might be a good idea.
Not that this does \fInot\fR check whether the watcher itself is pending, only
whether it has been requested to make this watcher pending.
There are some other functions of possible interest. Described. Here. Now.
.IP "ev_once (loop, int fd, int events, ev_tstamp timeout, callback)" 4
.IX Item "ev_once (loop, int fd, int events, ev_tstamp timeout, callback)"
This function combines a simple timer and an I/O watcher, calls your
callback on whichever event happens first and automatically stops both
watchers. This is useful if you want to wait for a single event on an fd
or timeout without having to allocate/configure/start/stop/free one or
more watchers yourself.
If \f(CW\*(C`fd\*(C'\fR is less than 0, then no I/O watcher will be started and the
\&\f(CW\*(C`events\*(C'\fR argument is being ignored. Otherwise, an \f(CW\*(C`ev_io\*(C'\fR watcher for
the given \f(CW\*(C`fd\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`events\*(C'\fR set will be created and started.
If \f(CW\*(C`timeout\*(C'\fR is less than 0, then no timeout watcher will be
started. Otherwise an \f(CW\*(C`ev_timer\*(C'\fR watcher with after = \f(CW\*(C`timeout\*(C'\fR (and
repeat = 0) will be started. \f(CW0\fR is a valid timeout.
The callback has the type \f(CW\*(C`void (*cb)(int revents, void *arg)\*(C'\fR and gets
passed an \f(CW\*(C`revents\*(C'\fR set like normal event callbacks (a combination of
\&\f(CW\*(C`EV_ERROR\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`EV_READ\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`EV_WRITE\*(C'\fR or \f(CW\*(C`EV_TIMEOUT\*(C'\fR) and the \f(CW\*(C`arg\*(C'\fR
value passed to \f(CW\*(C`ev_once\*(C'\fR. Note that it is possible to receive \fIboth\fR
a timeout and an io event at the same time \- you probably should give io
events precedence.
Example: wait up to ten seconds for data to appear on \s-1STDIN_FILENO\s0.
.Vb 7
\& static void stdin_ready (int revents, void *arg)
\& {
\& if (revents & EV_READ)
\& /* stdin might have data for us, joy! */;
\& else if (revents & EV_TIMEOUT)
\& /* doh, nothing entered */;
\& }
\& ev_once (STDIN_FILENO, EV_READ, 10., stdin_ready, 0);
.IP "ev_feed_event (ev_loop *, watcher *, int revents)" 4
.IX Item "ev_feed_event (ev_loop *, watcher *, int revents)"
Feeds the given event set into the event loop, as if the specified event
had happened for the specified watcher (which must be a pointer to an
initialised but not necessarily started event watcher).
.IP "ev_feed_fd_event (ev_loop *, int fd, int revents)" 4
.IX Item "ev_feed_fd_event (ev_loop *, int fd, int revents)"
Feed an event on the given fd, as if a file descriptor backend detected
the given events it.
.IP "ev_feed_signal_event (ev_loop *loop, int signum)" 4
.IX Item "ev_feed_signal_event (ev_loop *loop, int signum)"
Feed an event as if the given signal occurred (\f(CW\*(C`loop\*(C'\fR must be the default
Libev offers a compatibility emulation layer for libevent. It cannot
emulate the internals of libevent, so here are some usage hints:
.IP "\(bu" 4
Use it by including <event.h>, as usual.
.IP "\(bu" 4
The following members are fully supported: ev_base, ev_callback,
ev_arg, ev_fd, ev_res, ev_events.
.IP "\(bu" 4
Avoid using ev_flags and the EVLIST_*\-macros, while it is
maintained by libev, it does not work exactly the same way as in libevent (consider
it a private \s-1API\s0).
.IP "\(bu" 4
Priorities are not currently supported. Initialising priorities
will fail and all watchers will have the same priority, even though there
is an ev_pri field.
.IP "\(bu" 4
In libevent, the last base created gets the signals, in libev, the
first base created (== the default loop) gets the signals.
.IP "\(bu" 4
Other members are not supported.
.IP "\(bu" 4
The libev emulation is \fInot\fR \s-1ABI\s0 compatible to libevent, you need
to use the libev header file and library.
.IX Header " SUPPORT"
Libev comes with some simplistic wrapper classes for \*(C+ that mainly allow
you to use some convenience methods to start/stop watchers and also change
the callback model to a model using method callbacks on objects.
To use it,
.Vb 1
\& #include <ev++.h>
This automatically includes \fIev.h\fR and puts all of its definitions (many
of them macros) into the global namespace. All \*(C+ specific things are
put into the \f(CW\*(C`ev\*(C'\fR namespace. It should support all the same embedding
options as \fIev.h\fR, most notably \f(CW\*(C`EV_MULTIPLICITY\*(C'\fR.
Care has been taken to keep the overhead low. The only data member the \*(C+
classes add (compared to plain C\-style watchers) is the event loop pointer
that the watcher is associated with (or no additional members at all if
you disable \f(CW\*(C`EV_MULTIPLICITY\*(C'\fR when embedding libev).
Currently, functions, and static and non-static member functions can be
used as callbacks. Other types should be easy to add as long as they only
need one additional pointer for context. If you need support for other
types of functors please contact the author (preferably after implementing
Here is a list of things available in the \f(CW\*(C`ev\*(C'\fR namespace:
.ie n .IP """ev::READ""\fR, \f(CW""ev::WRITE"" etc." 4
.el .IP "\f(CWev::READ\fR, \f(CWev::WRITE\fR etc." 4
.IX Item "ev::READ, ev::WRITE etc."
These are just enum values with the same values as the \f(CW\*(C`EV_READ\*(C'\fR etc.
macros from \fIev.h\fR.
.ie n .IP """ev::tstamp""\fR, \f(CW""ev::now""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWev::tstamp\fR, \f(CWev::now\fR" 4
.IX Item "ev::tstamp, ev::now"
Aliases to the same types/functions as with the \f(CW\*(C`ev_\*(C'\fR prefix.
.ie n .IP """ev::io""\fR, \f(CW""ev::timer""\fR, \f(CW""ev::periodic""\fR, \f(CW""ev::idle""\fR, \f(CW""ev::sig"" etc." 4
.el .IP "\f(CWev::io\fR, \f(CWev::timer\fR, \f(CWev::periodic\fR, \f(CWev::idle\fR, \f(CWev::sig\fR etc." 4
.IX Item "ev::io, ev::timer, ev::periodic, ev::idle, ev::sig etc."
For each \f(CW\*(C`ev_TYPE\*(C'\fR watcher in \fIev.h\fR there is a corresponding class of
the same name in the \f(CW\*(C`ev\*(C'\fR namespace, with the exception of \f(CW\*(C`ev_signal\*(C'\fR
which is called \f(CW\*(C`ev::sig\*(C'\fR to avoid clashes with the \f(CW\*(C`signal\*(C'\fR macro
defines by many implementations.
All of those classes have these methods:
.RS 4
.IP "ev::TYPE::TYPE ()" 4
.IX Item "ev::TYPE::TYPE ()"
.PD 0
.IP "ev::TYPE::TYPE (struct ev_loop *)" 4
.IX Item "ev::TYPE::TYPE (struct ev_loop *)"
.IP "ev::TYPE::~TYPE" 4
.IX Item "ev::TYPE::~TYPE"
The constructor (optionally) takes an event loop to associate the watcher
with. If it is omitted, it will use \f(CW\*(C`EV_DEFAULT\*(C'\fR.
The constructor calls \f(CW\*(C`ev_init\*(C'\fR for you, which means you have to call the
\&\f(CW\*(C`set\*(C'\fR method before starting it.
It will not set a callback, however: You have to call the templated \f(CW\*(C`set\*(C'\fR
method to set a callback before you can start the watcher.
(The reason why you have to use a method is a limitation in \*(C+ which does
not allow explicit template arguments for constructors).
The destructor automatically stops the watcher if it is active.
.IP "w\->set<class, &class::method> (object *)" 4
.IX Item "w->set<class, &class::method> (object *)"
This method sets the callback method to call. The method has to have a
signature of \f(CW\*(C`void (*)(ev_TYPE &, int)\*(C'\fR, it receives the watcher as
first argument and the \f(CW\*(C`revents\*(C'\fR as second. The object must be given as
parameter and is stored in the \f(CW\*(C`data\*(C'\fR member of the watcher.
This method synthesizes efficient thunking code to call your method from
the C callback that libev requires. If your compiler can inline your
callback (i.e. it is visible to it at the place of the \f(CW\*(C`set\*(C'\fR call and
your compiler is good :), then the method will be fully inlined into the
thunking function, making it as fast as a direct C callback.
Example: simple class declaration and watcher initialisation
.Vb 4
\& struct myclass
\& {
\& void io_cb (ev::io &w, int revents) { }
\& }
\& myclass obj;
\& ev::io iow;
\& iow.set <myclass, &myclass::io_cb> (&obj);
.IP "w\->set<function> (void *data = 0)" 4
.IX Item "w->set<function> (void *data = 0)"
Also sets a callback, but uses a static method or plain function as
callback. The optional \f(CW\*(C`data\*(C'\fR argument will be stored in the watcher's
\&\f(CW\*(C`data\*(C'\fR member and is free for you to use.
The prototype of the \f(CW\*(C`function\*(C'\fR must be \f(CW\*(C`void (*)(ev::TYPE &w, int)\*(C'\fR.
See the method\-\f(CW\*(C`set\*(C'\fR above for more details.
Example: Use a plain function as callback.
.Vb 2
\& static void io_cb (ev::io &w, int revents) { }
\& iow.set <io_cb> ();
.IP "w\->set (struct ev_loop *)" 4
.IX Item "w->set (struct ev_loop *)"
Associates a different \f(CW\*(C`struct ev_loop\*(C'\fR with this watcher. You can only
do this when the watcher is inactive (and not pending either).
.IP "w\->set ([arguments])" 4
.IX Item "w->set ([arguments])"
Basically the same as \f(CW\*(C`ev_TYPE_set\*(C'\fR, with the same arguments. Must be
called at least once. Unlike the C counterpart, an active watcher gets
automatically stopped and restarted when reconfiguring it with this
.IP "w\->start ()" 4
.IX Item "w->start ()"
Starts the watcher. Note that there is no \f(CW\*(C`loop\*(C'\fR argument, as the
constructor already stores the event loop.
.IP "w\->stop ()" 4
.IX Item "w->stop ()"
Stops the watcher if it is active. Again, no \f(CW\*(C`loop\*(C'\fR argument.
.ie n .IP "w\->again () (""ev::timer""\fR, \f(CW""ev::periodic"" only)" 4
.el .IP "w\->again () (\f(CWev::timer\fR, \f(CWev::periodic\fR only)" 4
.IX Item "w->again () (ev::timer, ev::periodic only)"
For \f(CW\*(C`ev::timer\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`ev::periodic\*(C'\fR, this invokes the corresponding
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_TYPE_again\*(C'\fR function.
.ie n .IP "w\->sweep () (""ev::embed"" only)" 4
.el .IP "w\->sweep () (\f(CWev::embed\fR only)" 4
.IX Item "w->sweep () (ev::embed only)"
Invokes \f(CW\*(C`ev_embed_sweep\*(C'\fR.
.ie n .IP "w\->update () (""ev::stat"" only)" 4
.el .IP "w\->update () (\f(CWev::stat\fR only)" 4
.IX Item "w->update () (ev::stat only)"
Invokes \f(CW\*(C`ev_stat_stat\*(C'\fR.
.RS 4
Example: Define a class with an \s-1IO\s0 and idle watcher, start one of them in
the constructor.
.Vb 4
\& class myclass
\& {
\& ev::io io ; void io_cb (ev::io &w, int revents);
\& ev::idle idle; void idle_cb (ev::idle &w, int revents);
\& myclass (int fd)
\& {
\& io .set <myclass, &myclass::io_cb > (this);
\& idle.set <myclass, &myclass::idle_cb> (this);
\& io.start (fd, ev::READ);
\& }
\& };
Libev does not offer other language bindings itself, but bindings for a
number of languages exist in the form of third-party packages. If you know
any interesting language binding in addition to the ones listed here, drop
me a note.
.IP "Perl" 4
.IX Item "Perl"
The \s-1EV\s0 module implements the full libev \s-1API\s0 and is actually used to test
libev. \s-1EV\s0 is developed together with libev. Apart from the \s-1EV\s0 core module,
there are additional modules that implement libev-compatible interfaces
to \f(CW\*(C`libadns\*(C'\fR (\f(CW\*(C`EV::ADNS\*(C'\fR, but \f(CW\*(C`AnyEvent::DNS\*(C'\fR is preferred nowadays),
\&\f(CW\*(C`Net::SNMP\*(C'\fR (\f(CW\*(C`Net::SNMP::EV\*(C'\fR) and the \f(CW\*(C`libglib\*(C'\fR event core (\f(CW\*(C`Glib::EV\*(C'\fR
and \f(CW\*(C`EV::Glib\*(C'\fR).
It can be found and installed via \s-1CPAN\s0, its homepage is at
.IP "Python" 4
.IX Item "Python"
Python bindings can be found at <>. It
seems to be quite complete and well-documented. Note, however, that the
patch they require for libev is outright dangerous as it breaks the \s-1ABI\s0
for everybody else, and therefore, should never be applied in an installed
libev (if python requires an incompatible \s-1ABI\s0 then it needs to embed
.IP "Ruby" 4
.IX Item "Ruby"
Tony Arcieri has written a ruby extension that offers access to a subset
of the libev \s-1API\s0 and adds file handle abstractions, asynchronous \s-1DNS\s0 and
more on top of it. It can be found via gem servers. Its homepage is at
.IP "D" 4
.IX Item "D"
Leandro Lucarella has written a D language binding (\fIev.d\fR) for libev, to
be found at <>.
Libev can be compiled with a variety of options, the most fundamental
of which is \f(CW\*(C`EV_MULTIPLICITY\*(C'\fR. This option determines whether (most)
functions and callbacks have an initial \f(CW\*(C`struct ev_loop *\*(C'\fR argument.
To make it easier to write programs that cope with either variant, the
following macros are defined:
.ie n .IP """EV_A""\fR, \f(CW""EV_A_""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_A\fR, \f(CWEV_A_\fR" 4
.IX Item "EV_A, EV_A_"
This provides the loop \fIargument\fR for functions, if one is required (\*(L"ev
loop argument\*(R"). The \f(CW\*(C`EV_A\*(C'\fR form is used when this is the sole argument,
\&\f(CW\*(C`EV_A_\*(C'\fR is used when other arguments are following. Example:
.Vb 3
\& ev_unref (EV_A);
\& ev_timer_add (EV_A_ watcher);
\& ev_loop (EV_A_ 0);
It assumes the variable \f(CW\*(C`loop\*(C'\fR of type \f(CW\*(C`struct ev_loop *\*(C'\fR is in scope,
which is often provided by the following macro.
.ie n .IP """EV_P""\fR, \f(CW""EV_P_""" 4
.el .IP "\f(CWEV_P\fR, \f(CWEV_P_\fR" 4
.IX Item "EV_P, EV_P_"
This provides the loop \fIparameter\fR for functions, if one is required (\*(L"ev
loop parameter\*(R"). The \f(CW\*(C`EV_P\*(C'\fR form is used when this is the sole parameter,
\&\f(CW\*(C`EV_P_\*(C'\fR is used when other parameters are following. Example:
.Vb 2
\& // this is how ev_unref is being declared
\& static void ev_unref (EV_P);
\& // this is how you can declare your typical callback
\& static void cb (EV_P_ ev_timer *w, int revents)
It declares a parameter \f(CW\*(C`loop\*(C'\fR of type \f(CW\*(C`struct ev_loop *\*(C'\fR, quite
suitable for use with \f(CW\*(C`EV_A\*(C'\fR.
.ie n .IP """EV_DEFAULT""\fR, \f(CW""EV_DEFAULT_""" 4
Similar to the other two macros, this gives you the value of the default
loop, if multiple loops are supported (\*(L"ev loop default\*(R").
.ie n .IP """EV_DEFAULT_UC""\fR, \f(CW""EV_DEFAULT_UC_""" 4
Usage identical to \f(CW\*(C`EV_DEFAULT\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`EV_DEFAULT_\*(C'\fR, but requires that the
default loop has been initialised (\f(CW\*(C`UC\*(C'\fR == unchecked). Their behaviour
is undefined when the default loop has not been initialised by a previous
execution of \f(CW\*(C`EV_DEFAULT\*(C'\fR, \f(CW\*(C`EV_DEFAULT_\*(C'\fR or \f(CW\*(C`ev_default_init (...)\*(C'\fR.
It is often prudent to use \f(CW\*(C`EV_DEFAULT\*(C'\fR when initialising the first
watcher in a function but use \f(CW\*(C`EV_DEFAULT_UC\*(C'\fR afterwards.
Example: Declare and initialise a check watcher, utilising the above
macros so it will work regardless of whether multiple loops are supported
or not.
.Vb 5
\& static void
\& check_cb (EV_P_ ev_timer *w, int revents)
\& {
\& ev_check_stop (EV_A_ w);
\& }
\& ev_check check;
\& ev_check_init (&check, check_cb);
\& ev_check_start (EV_DEFAULT_ &check);
\& ev_loop (EV_DEFAULT_ 0);
Libev can (and often is) directly embedded into host
applications. Examples of applications that embed it include the Deliantra
Game Server, the \s-1EV\s0 perl module, the \s-1GNU\s0 Virtual Private Ethernet (gvpe)
and rxvt-unicode.
The goal is to enable you to just copy the necessary files into your
source directory without having to change even a single line in them, so
you can easily upgrade by simply copying (or having a checked-out copy of
libev somewhere in your source tree).
.Sh "\s-1FILESETS\s0"
.IX Subsection "FILESETS"
Depending on what features you need you need to include one or more sets of files
in your application.
\fI\s-1CORE\s0 \s-1EVENT\s0 \s-1LOOP\s0\fR
.IX Subsection "CORE EVENT LOOP"
To include only the libev core (all the \f(CW\*(C`ev_*\*(C'\fR functions), with manual
configuration (no autoconf):
.Vb 2
\& #define EV_STANDALONE 1
\& #include "ev.c"
This will automatically include \fIev.h\fR, too, and should be done in a
single C source file only to provide the function implementations. To use
it, do the same for \fIev.h\fR in all files wishing to use this \s-1API\s0 (best
done by writing a wrapper around \fIev.h\fR that you can include instead and
where you can put other configuration options):
.Vb 2
\& #define EV_STANDALONE 1
\& #include "ev.h"
Both header files and implementation files can be compiled with a \*(C+
compiler (at least, thats a stated goal, and breakage will be treated
as a bug).
You need the following files in your source tree, or in a directory
in your include path (e.g. in libev/ when using \-Ilibev):
.Vb 4
\& ev.h
\& ev.c
\& ev_vars.h
\& ev_wrap.h
\& ev_win32.c required on win32 platforms only
\& ev_select.c only when select backend is enabled (which is enabled by default)
\& ev_poll.c only when poll backend is enabled (disabled by default)
\& ev_epoll.c only when the epoll backend is enabled (disabled by default)
\& ev_kqueue.c only when the kqueue backend is enabled (disabled by default)
\& ev_port.c only when the solaris port backend is enabled (disabled by default)
\&\fIev.c\fR includes the backend files directly when enabled, so you only need
to compile this single file.
\fI\s-1LIBEVENT\s0 \s-1COMPATIBILITY\s0 \s-1API\s0\fR
To include the libevent compatibility \s-1API\s0, also include:
.Vb 1
\& #include "event.c"
in the file including \fIev.c\fR, and:
.Vb 1
\& #include "event.h"
in the files that want to use the libevent \s-1API\s0. This also includes \fIev.h\fR.
You need the following additional files for this:
.Vb 2
\& event.h
\& event.c
\fI\s-1AUTOCONF\s0 \s-1SUPPORT\s0\fR
Instead of using \f(CW\*(C`EV_STANDALONE=1\*(C'\fR and providing your configuration in
whatever way you want, you can also \f(CW\*(C`m4_include([libev.m4])\*(C'\fR in your
\&\\fR and leave \f(CW\*(C`EV_STANDALONE\*(C'\fR undefined. \fIev.c\fR will then
include \fIconfig.h\fR and configure itself accordingly.
For this of course you need the m4 file:
.Vb 1
\& libev.m4
Libev can be configured via a variety of preprocessor symbols you have to
define before including any of its files. The default in the absence of
autoconf is documented for every option.
.IP "\s-1EV_STANDALONE\s0" 4
Must always be \f(CW1\fR if you do not use autoconf configuration, which
keeps libev from including \fIconfig.h\fR, and it also defines dummy
implementations for some libevent functions (such as logging, which is not
supported). It will also not define any of the structs usually found in
\&\fIevent.h\fR that are not directly supported by the libev core alone.
If defined to be \f(CW1\fR, libev will try to detect the availability of the
monotonic clock option at both compile time and runtime. Otherwise no use
of the monotonic clock option will be attempted. If you enable this, you
usually have to link against librt or something similar. Enabling it when
the functionality isn't available is safe, though, although you have
to make sure you link against any libraries where the \f(CW\*(C`clock_gettime\*(C'\fR
function is hiding in (often \fI\-lrt\fR).
.IP "\s-1EV_USE_REALTIME\s0" 4
If defined to be \f(CW1\fR, libev will try to detect the availability of the
real-time clock option at compile time (and assume its availability at
runtime if successful). Otherwise no use of the real-time clock option will
be attempted. This effectively replaces \f(CW\*(C`gettimeofday\*(C'\fR by \f(CW\*(C`clock_get
(CLOCK_REALTIME, ...)\*(C'\fR and will not normally affect correctness. See the
note about libraries in the description of \f(CW\*(C`EV_USE_MONOTONIC\*(C'\fR, though.
If defined to be \f(CW1\fR, libev will assume that \f(CW\*(C`nanosleep ()\*(C'\fR is available
and will use it for delays. Otherwise it will use \f(CW\*(C`select ()\*(C'\fR.
.IP "\s-1EV_USE_EVENTFD\s0" 4
If defined to be \f(CW1\fR, then libev will assume that \f(CW\*(C`eventfd ()\*(C'\fR is
available and will probe for kernel support at runtime. This will improve
\&\f(CW\*(C`ev_signal\*(C'\fR and \f(CW\*(C`ev_async\*(C'\fR performance and reduce resource consumption.
If undefined, it will be enabled if the headers indicate GNU/Linux + Glibc
2.7 or newer, otherwise disabled.
.IP "\s-1EV_USE_SELECT\s0" 4
If undefined or defined to be \f(CW1\fR, libev will compile in support for the
\&\f(CW\*(C`select\*(C'\fR(2) backend. No attempt at auto-detection will be done: if no
other method takes over, select will be it. Otherwise the select backend
will not be compiled in.
If defined to \f(CW1\fR, then the select backend will use the system \f(CW\*(C`fd_set\*(C'\fR
structure. This is useful if libev doesn't compile due to a missing
\&\f(CW\*(C`NFDBITS\*(C'\fR or \f(CW\*(C`fd_mask\*(C'\fR definition or it mis-guesses the bitset layout on
exotic systems. This usually limits the range of file descriptors to some
low limit such as 1024 or might have other limitations (winsocket only
allows 64 sockets). The \f(CW\*(C`FD_SETSIZE\*(C'\fR macro, set before compilation, might
influence the size of the \f(CW\*(C`fd_set\*(C'\fR used.
When defined to \f(CW1\fR, the select backend will assume that
select/socket/connect etc. don't understand file descriptors but
wants osf handles on win32 (this is the case when the select to
be used is the winsock select). This means that it will call
\&\f(CW\*(C`_get_osfhandle\*(C'\fR on the fd to convert it to an \s-1OS\s0 handle. Otherwise,
it is assumed that all these functions actually work on fds, even
on win32. Should not be defined on non\-win32 platforms.
.IP "\s-1EV_FD_TO_WIN32_HANDLE\s0" 4
If \f(CW\*(C`EV_SELECT_IS_WINSOCKET\*(C'\fR is enabled, then libev needs a way to map
file descriptors to socket handles. When not defining this symbol (the
default), then libev will call \f(CW\*(C`_get_osfhandle\*(C'\fR, which is usually
correct. In some cases, programs use their own file descriptor management,
in which case they can provide this function to map fds to socket handles.
.IP "\s-1EV_USE_POLL\s0" 4
If defined to be \f(CW1\fR, libev will compile in support for the \f(CW\*(C`poll\*(C'\fR(2)
backend. Otherwise it will be enabled on non\-win32 platforms. It
takes precedence over select.
.IP "\s-1EV_USE_EPOLL\s0" 4
If defined to be \f(CW1\fR, libev will compile in support for the Linux
\&\f(CW\*(C`epoll\*(C'\fR(7) backend. Its availability will be detected at runtime,
otherwise another method will be used as fallback. This is the preferred
backend for GNU/Linux systems. If undefined, it will be enabled if the
headers indicate GNU/Linux + Glibc 2.4 or newer, otherwise disabled.
.IP "\s-1EV_USE_KQUEUE\s0" 4
If defined to be \f(CW1\fR, libev will compile in support for the \s-1BSD\s0 style
\&\f(CW\*(C`kqueue\*(C'\fR(2) backend. Its actual availability will be detected at runtime,
otherwise another method will be used as fallback. This is the preferred
backend for \s-1BSD\s0 and BSD-like systems, although on most BSDs kqueue only
supports some types of fds correctly (the only platform we found that
supports ptys for example was NetBSD), so kqueue might be compiled in, but
not be used unless explicitly requested. The best way to use it is to find
out whether kqueue supports your type of fd properly and use an embedded
kqueue loop.
.IP "\s-1EV_USE_PORT\s0" 4
If defined to be \f(CW1\fR, libev will compile in support for the Solaris
10 port style backend. Its availability will be detected at runtime,
otherwise another method will be used as fallback. This is the preferred
backend for Solaris 10 systems.
.IP "\s-1EV_USE_DEVPOLL\s0" 4
Reserved for future expansion, works like the \s-1USE\s0 symbols above.
.IP "\s-1EV_USE_INOTIFY\s0" 4
If defined to be \f(CW1\fR, libev will compile in support for the Linux inotify
interface to speed up \f(CW\*(C`ev_stat\*(C'\fR watchers. Its actual availability will
be detected at runtime. If undefined, it will be enabled if the headers
indicate GNU/Linux + Glibc 2.4 or newer, otherwise disabled.
.IP "\s-1EV_ATOMIC_T\s0" 4
Libev requires an integer type (suitable for storing \f(CW0\fR or \f(CW1\fR) whose
access is atomic with respect to other threads or signal contexts. No such
type is easily found in the C language, so you can provide your own type
that you know is safe for your purposes. It is used both for signal handler \*(L"locking\*(R"
as well as for signal and thread safety in \f(CW\*(C`ev_async\*(C'\fR watchers.
In the absence of this define, libev will use \f(CW\*(C`sig_atomic_t volatile\*(C'\fR
(from \fIsignal.h\fR), which is usually good enough on most platforms.
.IP "\s-1EV_H\s0" 4
.IX Item "EV_H"
The name of the \fIev.h\fR header file used to include it. The default if
undefined is \f(CW"ev.h"\fR in \fIevent.h\fR, \fIev.c\fR and \fIev++.h\fR. This can be
used to virtually rename the \fIev.h\fR header file in case of conflicts.
.IP "\s-1EV_CONFIG_H\s0" 4
If \f(CW\*(C`EV_STANDALONE\*(C'\fR isn't \f(CW1\fR, this variable can be used to override
\&\fIev.c\fR's idea of where to find the \fIconfig.h\fR file, similarly to
\&\f(CW\*(C`EV_H\*(C'\fR, above.
.IP "\s-1EV_EVENT_H\s0" 4
Similarly to \f(CW\*(C`EV_H\*(C'\fR, this macro can be used to override \fIevent.c\fR's idea
of how the \fIevent.h\fR header can be found, the default is \f(CW"event.h"\fR.
.IP "\s-1EV_PROTOTYPES\s0" 4
If defined to be \f(CW0\fR, then \fIev.h\fR will not define any function
prototypes, but still define all the structs and other symbols. This is
occasionally useful if you want to provide your own wrapper functions
around libev functions.
If undefined or defined to \f(CW1\fR, then all event-loop-specific functions
will have the \f(CW\*(C`struct ev_loop *\*(C'\fR as first argument, and you can create
additional independent event loops. Otherwise there will be no support
for multiple event loops and there is no first event loop pointer
argument. Instead, all functions act on the single default loop.
.IP "\s-1EV_MINPRI\s0" 4
.PD 0