Naming Events in .NET

.NET Comments

Update 2016/12/29: I've complained about the On prefix in the comment section of the documentation (and Jonas Gauffin too). In fact the prefix was a mistake and is fixed by now.

Things are changing in the .NET world. A couple of days ago Microsoft released .NET Core 1.0, the new cross-platform, open source, and modular .NET platform.

Unfortunately, not only the managed framework's changing, but naming guidelines too.

Lets start with the old .NET framework. Microsoft says in the Naming Guideline for Events:

✓ DO name events with a verb or a verb phrase.

Examples include Clicked, Painting, DroppedDown, and so on.

✓ DO give events names with a concept of before and after, using the present and past tenses.

For example, a close event that is raised before a window is closed would be called Closing, and one that is raised after the window is closed would be called Closed.

The (slightly outdated) Event Naming Guidelines for .NET Framework 1.1 even says more explicitly:

  • Do not use a prefix or suffix on the event declaration on the type. For example, use Close instead of OnClose.

That's what we've been taught for the last 15 years: Events are named without a prefix.

Let's repeat: Events are named without a prefix.

Entry .NET Core!

Robin Müller, maintainer of the library, changed the names of all event from an unprefixed name to prefixed with On in a recent commit. I complained that this renaming would contradict the guidelines recommendations by Microsoft and what we've learnt the last 15 years.

However, Robin pointed me to the new guidelines (emphasis mine):

There are a number of conventions that you should follow when declaring an event. Typically, the event delegate type has a void return. Prefix event declarations with 'On'. The remainder of the name is a verb.

WTF? Do we have to forget the old habits and rename all events when moving from good ol' .NET Framework to .NET Core?

The new guidelines include a comment section at the bottom where I asked for the rational behind the changed guideline a few days ago, but I still got no answer. I'd really like to now...

Sidenote: Most of us are used to name the handler for an event On<name of the event>, e.g.

foo.SomethingHappened += OnSomethingHappened;

What should we call those event handlers now? OnOnSomethingHappened?