Authors:Kris Zyp
Project owner:Kris Zyp

dojo/topic provides a centralized hub for publishing and subscribing to global messages by topic. Topics can be subscribed to by using topic.subscribe(), and messages can publish by using topic.publish().

Because topics are not bound to a particular object, they are useful for communication between multiple instances or various different types of objects. dojo/on is more designed to deal with handling events specifically related to a particular object instance or reflecting a DOM event of a particular instance.


Requiring in the module is all that is needed to leverage the functionality:

require(["dojo/topic"], function(topic){
    topic.subscribe("some/topic", function(){
        console.log("received:", arguments);
    // ...
    topic.publish("some/topic", "one", "two");


Subscribes to a particular topic.

subscribe() returns a handle that has a remove() method that can be used to remove the listener.


Publishes a topic, which the arguments are then sent to every listener.


Topics do not support globbing, or mixing of channel names based on wildcards. This example is invalid:

require(["dojo/topic"], function(topic){
  topic.subscribe("/foo/*", function(data){ /*handle*/ });

It is not practical to support this on the client side.


dojo/topic replaces the old dojo.publish() and dojo.subscribe() API. There are some things to note about the migration from old API.

Passing Arguments

Where as dojo.publish() required arguments to be specified within an array, dojo/topic::publish() does not have this requirement. Any number of arguments can be specified flatly after the initial argument which specifies the topic. For example:

require(["dojo/topic"], function(topic){
  topic.publish("some/topic", "argument1", "argument2");

Conversely, if you do specify an array as the second parameter, that is precisely what handlers subscribing to the topic will receive: a single argument which is an array.

Unsubscribe Handlers

Whereas dojo.subscribe() returns a handle which can be later passed to dojo.unsubscribe() but is otherwise somewhat opaque, dojo/topic::subscribe() returns a simple object containing a remove() method, which can be called to unsubscribe the listener. This is akin to the remove() method available on objects returned by dojo/on functions:

require(["dojo/topic"], function(topic){
  var handle = topic.subscribe("some/topic", function(){
    // do something
  // ...


Demonstrates how to publish and subscribe to topics. Once the topic has been fired one, the listener will remove itself.

require(["dojo/topic", "dojo/dom", "dojo/on", "dojo/domReady!"],
function(topic, dom, on){

  var handle = topic.subscribe("some/topic", function(e){
    dom.byId("output").innerHTML = "I received: " + e.msg;

  on(dom.byId("publish"), "click", function(){
    topic.publish("some/topic", { msg: "hello world" });

<button type="button" id="publish">Publish "some/topic"</button>
<div id="output">Nothing Yet...</div>

See Also

  • dojo/on - The DOM and synthetic event handling module.
  • dojo/Evented - A class that supports emitting synthetic events.
  • dojo/Stateful - A class that supports the ability to “watch” property changes.
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