uv_poll_t — Poll handle#

Poll handles are used to watch file descriptors for readability, writability and disconnection similar to the purpose of poll(2).

The purpose of poll handles is to enable integrating external libraries that rely on the event loop to signal it about the socket status changes, like c-ares or libssh2. Using uv_poll_t for any other purpose is not recommended; uv_tcp_t, uv_udp_t, etc. provide an implementation that is faster and more scalable than what can be achieved with uv_poll_t, especially on Windows.

It is possible that poll handles occasionally signal that a file descriptor is readable or writable even when it isn’t. The user should therefore always be prepared to handle EAGAIN or equivalent when it attempts to read from or write to the fd.

It is not okay to have multiple active poll handles for the same socket, this can cause libuv to busyloop or otherwise malfunction.

The user should not close a file descriptor while it is being polled by an active poll handle. This can cause the handle to report an error, but it might also start polling another socket. However the fd can be safely closed immediately after a call to uv_poll_stop() or uv_close().


On windows only sockets can be polled with poll handles. On Unix any file descriptor that would be accepted by poll(2) can be used.


On AIX, watching for disconnection is not supported.

Data types#

type uv_poll_t#

Poll handle type.

typedef void (*uv_poll_cb)(uv_poll_t *handle, int status, int events)#

Type definition for callback passed to uv_poll_start().

type uv_poll_event#

Poll event types

enum uv_poll_event {
    UV_READABLE = 1,
    UV_WRITABLE = 2,

Public members#


See also

The uv_handle_t members also apply.


int uv_poll_init(uv_loop_t *loop, uv_poll_t *handle, int fd)#

Initialize the handle using a file descriptor.

Changed in version 1.2.2: the file descriptor is set to non-blocking mode.

int uv_poll_init_socket(uv_loop_t *loop, uv_poll_t *handle, uv_os_sock_t socket)#

Initialize the handle using a socket descriptor. On Unix this is identical to uv_poll_init(). On windows it takes a SOCKET handle.

Changed in version 1.2.2: the socket is set to non-blocking mode.

int uv_poll_start(uv_poll_t *handle, int events, uv_poll_cb cb)#

Starts polling the file descriptor. events is a bitmask made up of UV_READABLE, UV_WRITABLE, UV_PRIORITIZED and UV_DISCONNECT. As soon as an event is detected the callback will be called with status set to 0, and the detected events set on the events field.

The UV_PRIORITIZED event is used to watch for sysfs interrupts or TCP out-of-band messages.

The UV_DISCONNECT event is optional in the sense that it may not be reported and the user is free to ignore it, but it can help optimize the shutdown path because an extra read or write call might be avoided.

If an error happens while polling, status will be < 0 and corresponds with one of the UV_E* error codes (see Error handling). The user should not close the socket while the handle is active. If the user does that anyway, the callback may be called reporting an error status, but this is not guaranteed. If status == UV_EBADF polling is discontinued for the file handle and no further events will be reported. The user should then call uv_close() on the handle.


Calling uv_poll_start() on a handle that is already active is fine. Doing so will update the events mask that is being watched for.


Though UV_DISCONNECT can be set, it is unsupported on AIX and as such will not be set on the events field in the callback.


If one of the events UV_READABLE or UV_WRITABLE are set, the callback will be called again, as long as the given fd/socket remains readable or writable accordingly. Particularly in each of the following scenarios:

  • The callback has been called because the socket became readable/writable and the callback did not conduct a read/write on this socket at all.

  • The callback committed a read on the socket, and has not read all the available data (when UV_READABLE is set).

  • The callback committed a write on the socket, but it remained writable afterwards (when UV_WRITABLE is set).

  • The socket has already became readable/writable before calling uv_poll_start() on a poll handle associated with this socket, and since then the state of the socket did not changed.

In all of the above listed scenarios, the socket remains readable or writable and hence the callback will be called again (depending on the events set in the bitmask). This behaviour is known as level triggering.

Changed in version 1.9.0: Added the UV_DISCONNECT event.

Changed in version 1.14.0: Added the UV_PRIORITIZED event.

int uv_poll_stop(uv_poll_t *poll)#

Stop polling the file descriptor, the callback will no longer be called.


Calling uv_poll_stop() is effective immediately: any pending callback is also canceled, even if the socket state change notification was already pending.

See also

The uv_handle_t API functions also apply.