Adding event receivers to SharePoint lists on the fly

19 Nov 2011

In versioning attachments in a SharePoint list using snapshotting, an event receiver was responsible for the heavy lifting. To enable versioning of a list, I could therefore have associated the receiver with a list by adding the usual registration XML to a feature. But versioning is a truly reusable building block that shouldn’t be restricted to lists that are known when the feature is created. A better solution would be to extend the SharePoint list settings page for all lists on a site on which the versioning feature is enabled. The user may then activate or deactivate attachment versioning on the fly.

This would involve adding or removing event receivers from a list as the user enables or disables versioning. The following extension method is one way to accomplish the addition-part in a type-safe manner:

// definition 
public static class SPListExtensions {
    public static void RegisterEventReceiver<TReceiver>(this SPList list, 
            SPEventReceiverType receiverType, 
            int sequenceNumber) where TReceiver : SPItemEventReceiver {
        var assemblyName = typeof(TReceiver).Assembly.FullName;
        var className = typeof(TReceiver).FullName;

        (from SPEventReceiverDefinition definition in list.EventReceivers
         where definition.Assembly == assemblyName &&
               definition.Class == className &&
               definition.Type == receiverType
         select list.EventReceivers[definition.Id])
        .ToList()
        .ForEach(receiverToDelete => receiverToDelete.Delete());

        var receiver = list.EventReceivers.Add();
        receiver.Type = receiverType;
        receiver.Assembly = assemblyName;
        receiver.Class = className;
        receiver.SequenceNumber = sequenceNumber;
        receiver.Update();
        list.Update();
    }
}

// use
list.RegisterEventReceiver<ListAttachmentVersioningEventReceiver>(
    SPEventReceiverType.ItemAdded, 10000);
list.RegisterEventReceiver<ListAttachmentVersioningEventReceiver>(
    SPEventReceiverType.ItemUpdated, 10001);

Under rare circumstances the (assembly, class, type) tuple may not be unique, i.e., the same receiver may be registered multiple times, albeit with different sequence numbers. In practice I never found any use for this functionality, though, which is why I didn’t include the sequence number in the where clause above, causing all registrations matching the tuple to be removed.

Have a comment or question? Please drop me an email or tweet to @ronnieholm.