Elements use events to communicate state changes up the DOM tree to parent elements. Polymer elements can use the standard DOM APIs for creating, dispatching, and listening for events.

Polymer also provides annotated event listeners, which allow you to specify event listeners declaratively as part of the element's DOM template.

To add event listeners to local DOM children, use on-event annotations in your template. This often eliminates the need to give an element an id solely for the purpose of binding an event listener.

Example:

<dom-module id="x-custom">
  <template>
    <button on-click="handleClick">Kick Me</button>
  </template>
  <script>
    class XCustom extends Polymer.Element {

      static get is() {return 'x-custom'}

      handleClick() {
        console.log('Ow!');
      }
    }
    customElements.define(XCustom.is, XCustom);
  </script>
</dom-module>

Because the event name is specified using an HTML attribute, the event name is always converted to lowercase. This is because HTML attribute names are case insensitive. So specifying on-myEvent adds a listener for myevent. The event handler name (for example, handleClick) is case sensitive. To avoid confusion, always use lowercase event names.

You can use the standard addEventListener and removeEventListener methods to add and remove event listeners imperatively.

Listeners on a custom element can be set up in ready() using this.addEventListener(). The listener will be set up the first time the custom element is attached to the DOM.

ready() {
  super.ready();
  this.addEventListener('click', this._onClick);
}

_onClick(event) {
  this._makeCoffee();
}

_makeCoffee () {}

The this inside the event handler By default, an event handler is called with the this value set to the event's current target. The current target is always equal to the element that the event listener is attached to, in this case, the custom element itself.

The recommended way for setting up a listener on a child element of the custom element is to use an annotated event listener inside the template.

If you need to imperatively set up the listener, it is important to bind the this value using .bind() or using an arrow function.

ready() {
  super.ready();
  const childElement = ...
  childElement.addEventListener('click', this._onClick.bind(this));
  childElement.addEventListener('hover', event => this._onHover(event));
}

If you want to listen for events on something other than the custom element or its descendants (e.g. window), you need to use connectedCallback() and disconnectedCallback() to add and remove the event listener appropriately:

constructor() {
  super();
  this._boundListener = this._myLocationListener.bind(this);
}

connectedCallback() {
  super.connectedCallback();
  window.addEventListener('hashchange', this._boundListener);
}

disconnectedCallback() {
  super.disconnectedCallback();
  window.removeEventListener('hashchange', this._boundListener);
}

The danger of memory leaks It is important to remove the event listener in disconnectedCallback() to prevent memory leaks. In the case where an element only adds an event listener to itself or to its shadow DOM children, the garbage collector is still able to collect the memory. However, an event listener attached to an outside element, like a window or document level event listener, may prevent the element from being garbage collected.

To fire a custom event from the host element use the standard CustomEvent constructor and the dispatchEvent method.

Example:

<dom-module id="x-custom">
  <template>
    <button on-click="handleClick">Kick Me</button>
  </template>

  <script>
    class XCustom extends Polymer.Element {

      static get is() {return 'x-custom'}

      handleClick(e) {
        this.dispatchEvent(new CustomEvent('kick', {detail: {kicked: true}}));
      }
    }
    customElements.define(XCustom.is, XCustom);
  </script>

</dom-module>
<x-custom></x-custom>

<script>
    document.querySelector('x-custom').addEventListener('kick', function (e) {
        console.log(e.detail.kicked); // true
    })
</script>

The CustomEvent constructor is not supported on IE, but the webcomponents polyfills include a small polyfill for it so you can use the same syntax everywhere.

By default, custom events stop at shadow DOM boundaries. To make a custom event pass through shadow DOM boundaries, set the composed flag to true when you create the event:

var event = new CustomEvent('my-event', {bubbles: true, composed: true});

Backwards compatibility. The fire instance method in the legacy API sets both bubbles and composed to true by default. To get the same behavior, you need to specify both options when you create a custom event, as shown above.

Shadow DOM has a feature called "event retargeting" which changes an event's target as it bubbles up, such that target is always in the same scope as the receiving element. (For example, for a listener in the main document, the target is an element in the main document, not in a shadow tree.)

The event's composedPath() method returns an array of nodes through which the event will pass. So event.composedPath()[0] represents the original target for the event (unless that target is hidden in a closed shadow root).

Example:

<!-- event-retargeting.html -->
 ...
<dom-module id="event-retargeting">
  <template>
    <button id="myButton">Click Me</button>
  </template>

  <script>
    class EventRetargeting extends Polymer.Element {
      static get is() {return 'event-retargeting'}

      ready() {
        super.ready();
        this.$.myButton.addEventListener('click', e => {this._handleClick(e)});
      }

      _handleClick(e) {
        console.info(e.target.id + ' was clicked.');
      }

    }

    customElements.define(EventRetargeting.is, EventRetargeting);
  </script>
</dom-module>


<!-- index.html  -->
  ...
<event-retargeting></event-retargeting>

<script>
  var el = document.querySelector('event-retargeting');
  el.addEventListener('click', function(e){
    // logs the instance of event-targeting that hosts #myButton
    console.info('target is:', e.target);
    // logs [#myButton, ShadowRoot, event-retargeting,
    //       body, html, document, Window]
    console.info('composedPath is:', e.composedPath());
  });
</script>

In this example, the original event is triggered on a <button> inside the <event-retargeting> element's local DOM tree. The listener is added on the <event-retargeting> element itself, which is in the main document. To hide the implementation of the element, the event should be retargeted so it appears to come from <event-retargeting> rather than from the <button> element.

The shadow root may show up in the console as document-fragment. In shady DOM this is an instance of DocumentFragment. In native shadow DOM, this would show up as an instance of ShadowRoot (a DOM interface that extends DocumentFragment).

For more information, see Event retargeting in Shadow DOM concepts.

You can configure an element to fire a non-bubbling DOM event when a specified property changes. For more information, see Change notification events.