Broadcasting events between controllers

Sachin Warke
Posted by Sachin Warke on November 16, 2016

There can be multiple situations where you may want a controller to be able to communicate with other controllers in your AngularJs Application. For example, you want your user to be able to click a button and for another controller to be aware of the UI change; one solution is to broadcast events to the controllers. Consider the following example:

Consider a User details page in which the user is expected to fill out multiple sections. However, some of the sections are disabled until the user controller creates a user identifier. Once it is created, user controller will broadcast an event to other user details controllers which would, in turn, enable user detail sections that had been disabled earlier.

Let us see the broadcast event method of controller communication with another example. Here, we have 2 separate controllers "VoteCounterController" , in which we store the current vote count in the controller scope and “VoteRegisteredController” ,which communicates with “VoteCounterController” to update the number of votes every time a voter clicks the vote button.


<div ng-app="app">
   <div ng-controller="VoteCounterController">
       The current vote count is:
   <div ng-controller="VoteRegisteredController">
       <button ng-click="voteHereClicked()">Vote Here</button>

Here is what our controllers look like

var app = angular.module(app, []);
app.controller(VoteCounterController, ['$scope', function ($scope) {
   $scope. voteCount = 1;
app.controller(VoteRegisteredController, ['$scope', function ($scope) {
   $scope. countVote = function () {
       console.log(Vote counted successfully);

Currently, there is no link between both the two controllers as they are not referencing each other in any way. In most cases, controllers only interact with each other for a few events and referencing is not needed. However, in this case, they are completely unaware of each other's existence.

Let's modify the controllers so that they can communicate with each other:

app.controller(VoteCounterController, ['$scope', '$rootScope', function ($scope, $rootScope) {
   $scope. voteCount = 1;
   $rootScope.$on(countVote, function () {
       $scope. voteCount ++;

We first modify the VoteCounterController to listen for an event generated by the VoteRegisteredController. AngularJs provides the ability to listen to and broadcast events on any defined module.

Using the $rootScope variable and the $on method, we can listen for any events that are broadcast to the $rootScope.

Now that we have the listener setup, let’s broadcast the event we need:

Let's update the VoteRegisteredController to broadcast an event when the vote button is clicked. Again, this will need to be done on the $rootScope variable.

app.controller(VoteRegisteredController, ['$scope', '$rootScope', function ($scope, $rootScope)
   $scope. voteHereClicked = function () {

Now, you can see even though both controllers are not referencing each other, they are still communicating with each other to count the votes through the broadcast of an event.

As a final step, it's a good practice to destroy the event afterwards:

We can destroy the broadcasted event after its scope ends.

In order to do this, we need to modify our First Controller as follows –

app.controller(VoteCounterController, ['$scope', '$rootScope', function ($scope, $rootScope) {

  $scope. voteCount = 1;
  var increamentCountVote =  $rootScope.$on(countVote, function () {
      $scope. voteCount ++;

    $scope.$on('$destroy', function() {
      if(increamentCountVote ) {
        increamentCountVote ();



We have shown an example of how two different controllers can interact with each other for an event to perform tasks by broadcasting the events on root scope. We also showed how it is good practice to destroy these events once the scope ends.

Broadcasting is a good way to pass an event downwards a tree hierarchy, from parent scopes to child scopes

Event broadcasts help lessen the dependence on using the global $rootScope to communicate and make the code more modular and easy to test.


Overuse of the event broadcasting method may cause some performance issues.

Topics: Product & Test engineering, OpenStack, Broadcast, events

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