Adding startup events & event registration

    In order to bind to certain events in the Umbraco application you need to make these registrations during application startup.

    Use ApplicationEventHandler to register events

    Applies to: Umbraco 6.1.0+

    The ApplicationEventHandler is a plugin type that allows developers to execute code during the Umbraco bootup process.

    This is the preferred way to hook in to the Umbraco application startup process. It is a base class so all you need to do is override the methods that you wish to handle. It is important to know the difference between each of the methods (information is below). Almost always, you want to use the ApplicationStarted method.

    This example will populate some default data for newly created content items:

    using Umbraco.Core;
    using Umbraco.Core.Events;
    using Umbraco.Core.Logging;
    using Umbraco.Core.Models;
    using Umbraco.Core.Services;
    namespace MyProject.EventHandlers
        public class RegisterEvents : ApplicationEventHandler
            protected override void ApplicationStarted(UmbracoApplicationBase umbracoApplication, ApplicationContext applicationContext)
                //Listen for when content is being saved
                ContentService.Saving += ContentService_Saving;
            /// <summary>
            /// Listen for when content is being saved, check if it is a new item and fill in some
            /// default data.
            /// </summary>
            private void ContentService_Saving(IContentService sender, SaveEventArgs<IContent> e)
                foreach (var content in e.SavedEntities
                    // Check if the content item type has a specific alias
                    .Where(c => c.Alias.InvariantEquals("MyContentType"))
                    // Check if it is a new item
                    .Where(c => c.IsNewEntity()))
                    // Check if the item has a property called 'richText'
                    if (content.HasProperty("richText"))
                        // get the rich text value
                        var val = c.GetValue<string>("richText");
                        // if there is a rich text value, set a default value in a
                        // field called 'excerpt' that is the first
                        // 200 characters of the rich text value
                        c.SetValue("excerpt", val == null
                            ? string.Empty
                            : string.Join("", val.StripHtml().StripNewLines().Take(200)));

    Startup methods

    These methods only execute if the application is installed and the database is ready. This will prevent many errors from occurring especially if Umbraco is not installed yet.

    It's important to understand the difference between the methods that you can use! The methods that can be used/overridden are:

    • ApplicationInitialized (EXPERT)
      • Executes after the ApplicationContext and plugin resolvers are created
      • This could be used to create your own plugin resolvers, otherwise it should not be used
      • Never execute any logic or access any Umbraco services in this method
      • Executes 1st
    • ApplicationStarting (EXPERT)
      • Executes before resolution is frozen so that you are able to modify any plugin resolvers
      • This could be used to modify any plugin resolvers (to add/remove/filter them) - this is the generally the only reason to use this method
      • Never execute any logic or access any Umbraco services in this method
      • Executes 2nd
    • ApplicationStarted
      • This will be the most common method to put logic in
      • Executes when the Umbraco boot sequence is complete, after resolution is frozen so you can retrieve objects from the plugin resolvers.
      • You could access the Umbraco services in this method if you needed to
      • This executes before ASP.NET has booted, before the global.asax Init method has executed and before any HttpModules have been initialized
      • Executes 3rd

    If you want more control over execution you can override these properties:

    • ExecuteWhenApplicationNotConfigured
      • By default this is false but if you want these methods to fire even when the application is not configured you can override this property and return true
    • ExecuteWhenDatabaseNotConfigured
      • By default this is false but if you want these methods to fire even if the database is not installed/ready then you can override this property and return true

    Ordering (EXPERT)

    Handlers are ordered by (ascending) weight. By default, handlers from the Umbraco.* assemblies have a -100 weight whereas any other handler has a weight of +100.

    A custom weight can be assigned to a handler by marking the class with the WeightAttribute. Positive weights are considered "user-space" while negative weights are "core".

    For example, the CacheRefresherEventHandler is marked with Weight(int.MinValue) because its events need to run before anything else.

    Finally (very EXPERT), users can register a filter to process the list (after it has been ordered) and re-order it, or remove handlers.

    Handlers order is an important thing, and removing handlers or reordering handlers can have unexpected consequences.