Events and delegates

In C#, events and delegates are related concepts used for implementing the observer pattern and facilitating event-driven programming. While they are closely related, there are some key differences between events and delegates:


  1. Delegates: Delegates are a type-safe function pointer that holds references to methods. They are used to provide a mechanism for defining and invoking callbacks or event handlers.
  2. Events: Events provide a higher level of abstraction over delegates. They are used to define and manage the publishing and subscribing of notifications or messages between objects. Events encapsulate delegates and provide a way for objects to subscribe to and unsubscribe from those delegates.


  1. Delegates: Delegates are declared using the delegate keyword. They specify the signature of the method(s) they can reference, including the return type and parameters.
  2. Events: Events are declared using the event keyword along with a delegate type. The delegate type defines the signature of the event handlers that can be subscribed to the event.


  1. Delegates: Delegates are primarily used for invoking methods or functions asynchronously or for defining callback mechanisms. They allow one or multiple methods to be referenced and invoked by delegate instances.
  2. Events: Events are used to signal or notify subscribers when a specific action or state change occurs in the publishing object. Events provide an abstraction layer that allows objects to interact without needing to know the specific event handlers that will be invoked.


  1. Delegates: Delegates can be accessed directly by invoking their methods or assigning new method references to them.
  2. Events: Events can only be invoked or subscribed to within the defining class or through specific accessors (add and remove) that allow external objects to subscribe or unsubscribe from the event.


  1. Delegates: Delegates provide a level of encapsulation by encapsulating a single or multiple methods within the delegate instance itself.
  2. Events: Events provide a higher level of encapsulation by encapsulating the delegate and its invocation behind a publisher class. Subscribers can only interact with the event through predefined accessors.


Delegates are type-safe function pointers used for callback mechanisms and asynchronous method invocations. Events provide a higher level of abstraction over delegates and enable objects to publish notifications or messages that can be subscribed to by other objects. Delegates are more flexible and can be directly invoked or assigned, while events provide encapsulation and restrict access to their invocation and subscription.