JavaScript · Technical


Should I read this?

If you’re a JavaScript developer who still uses callbacks (on either the client side or server side) then this post is for you. If you don’t know what Promises are, then you probably will find it useful.

Back in time, JavaScript was initially built to add interactivity to web pages and to be used on the client side. It has been designed to handle user interactions using events and event handlers. Also to make communications with the server. All of these stuff are Asynchronous operations. we can say:

JavaScript is an event-driven programming language.

which means, the flow of the program is determined by events such as user actions (mouse clicks, key presses) or messages from other programs/threads.


So, JavaScript is designed over and encourages the usage of callbacks.

Here’s a simple illustration of how a callback way works. #Main script wants to execute #Function_B after #Function_A finish execution. It’s important to keep in mind that #Function_A has nothing to do with the logic of #Function_B.


#Function_A is now the parent of #Function_B and responsible for calling it at the correct time.

But …

But things become really complicated when we need to implement multiple asynchronous operations which depend on each other. example:


Now, let’s implement this logic using classical callbacks way:


Isn’t it annoying to have nested code blocks like these? Is it readable?

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.32.49 AM

Promises are the way of implementing asynchronous logic without the need of passing callbacks as arguments.

Following is a simple illustration of how things work using Promises.


  • #Main script calls #Function_A
  • #Function_A executes and returns a promise
  • #Main script holds that promise and wait for #Function_A to trigger a success/failure signal
  • #Main script calls #Function_B explicitly

Here’s how the skeleton of an async operation using promises should look like:


This is beautiful because now each ASYNC operation is encapsulated and has nothing to do with any other operation.

Let’s have a look of how our very first example should look like:

Now code looks much cleaner, readable, self descriptive, modularized (for unit testing and documentation).

It’s important to note that the .then() result is implicitly a promise. so, you can chain your operations with multiple .then()s

That’s all?

No, there’s a bunch of other handy features that promises do for you as well

  1. If -for example- we want to execute some logic after multiple promises get resolved. then we can use .all()
  2. If we need to execute some logic after either the promise get resolved or rejected, then we can use .finally()
  3. If we need to send notifications from inside the ASYNC operation to whoever has the promise, then we can use .notify()


I hope I’ve convinced you to start thinking about promises seriously. And if you already use promises I hope that you learned something new about it.

Please feel free to give your feedback and start discussions … I don’t bite!




3 thoughts on “Promises

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