The Notification Handler

PyGreSQL comes with a client-side asynchronous notification handler that was based on the pgnotify module written by Ng Pheng Siong.

New in version 4.1.1.

Instantiating the notification handler

class pg.NotificationHandler(db, event, callback[, arg_dict][, timeout][, stop_event])

Create an instance of the notification handler

  • db (Connection) – the database connection

  • event (str) – the name of an event to listen for

  • callback – a callback function

  • arg_dict (dict) – an optional dictionary for passing arguments

  • timeout (int, float or None) – the time-out when waiting for notifications

  • stop_event (str) – an optional different name to be used as stop event

You can also create an instance of the NotificationHandler using the DB.connection_handler() method. In this case you don’t need to pass a database connection because the DB connection itself will be used as the datebase connection for the notification handler.

You must always pass the name of an event (notification channel) to listen for and a callback function.

You can also specify a dictionary arg_dict that will be passed as the single argument to the callback function, and a timeout value in seconds (a floating point number denotes fractions of seconds). If it is absent or None, the callers will never time out. If the time-out is reached, the callback function will be called with a single argument that is None. If you set the timeout to 0, the handler will poll notifications synchronously and return.

You can specify the name of the event that will be used to signal the handler to stop listening as stop_event. By default, it will be the event name prefixed with 'stop_'.

All of the parameters will be also available as attributes of the created notification handler object.

Invoking the notification handler

To invoke the notification handler, just call the instance without passing any parameters.

The handler is a loop that listens for notifications on the event and stop event channels. When either of these notifications are received, its associated pid, event and extra (the payload passed with the notification) are inserted into its arg_dict dictionary and the callback is invoked with this dictionary as a single argument. When the handler receives a stop event, it stops listening to both events and return.

In the special case that the timeout of the handler has been set to 0, the handler will poll all events synchronously and return. If will keep listening until it receives a stop event.


If you run this loop in another thread, don’t use the same database connection for database operations in the main thread.

Sending notifications

You can send notifications by either running NOTIFY commands on the database directly, or using the following method:

NotificationHandler.notify([db][, stop][, payload])

Generate a notification

  • db (Connection) – the database connection for sending the notification

  • stop (bool) – whether to produce a normal event or a stop event

  • payload (str) – an optional payload to be sent with the notification

This method sends a notification event together with an optional payload. If you set the stop flag, a stop notification will be sent instead of a normal notification. This will cause the handler to stop listening.


If the notification handler is running in another thread, you must pass a different database connection since PyGreSQL database connections are not thread-safe.

Auxiliary methods


Start listening for the event and the stop event

This method is called implicitly when the handler is invoked.


Stop listening for the event and the stop event

This method is called implicitly when the handler receives a stop event or when it is closed or deleted.


Stop listening and close the database connection

You can call this method instead of NotificationHandler.unlisten() if you want to close not only the handler, but also the database connection it was created with.