How do I convert an existing callback API to promises?

I want to work with promises but I have a callback API in a format like:

1. DOM load or other one time event:

window.onload; // set to callback
...
window.onload = function() {

};

2. Plain callback:

function request(onChangeHandler) {
    ...
}
request(function() {
    // change happened
    ...
});

3. Node style callback ("nodeback"):

function getStuff(dat, callback) {
    ...
}
getStuff("dataParam", function(err, data) {
    ...
})

4. A whole library with node style callbacks:

API;
API.one(function(err, data) {
    API.two(function(err, data2) {
        API.three(function(err, data3) {
            ...
        });
    });
});

How do I work with the API in promises, how do I "promisify" it?

Answers:

Answer

Promises have state, they start as pending and can settle to:

  • fulfilled meaning that the computation completed successfully.
  • rejected meaning that the computation failed.

Promise returning functions should never throw, they should return rejections instead. Throwing from a promise returning function will force you to use both a } catch { and a .catch. People using promisified APIs do not expect promises to throw. If you're not sure how async APIs work in JS - please see this answer first.

1. DOM load or other one time event:

So, creating promises generally means specifying when they settle - that means when they move to the fulfilled or rejected phase to indicate the data is available (and can be accessed with .then).

With modern promise implementations that support the Promise constructor like native ES6 promises:

function load() {
    return new Promise(function(resolve, reject) {
        window.onload = resolve;
    });
}

You would then use the resulting promise like so:

load().then(function() {
    // Do things after onload
});

With libraries that support deferred (Let's use $q for this example here, but we'll also use jQuery later):

function load() {
    var d = $q.defer();
    window.onload = function() { d.resolve(); };
    return d.promise;
}

Or with a jQuery like API, hooking on an event happening once:

function done() {
    var d = $.Deferred();
    $("#myObject").once("click",function() {
        d.resolve();
    });
    return d.promise();
}

2. Plain callback:

These APIs are rather common since well… callbacks are common in JS. Let's look at the common case of having onSuccess and onFail:

function getUserData(userId, onLoad, onFail) { …

With modern promise implementations that support the Promise constructor like native ES6 promises:

function getUserDataAsync(userId) {
    return new Promise(function(resolve, reject) {
        getUserData(userId, resolve, reject);
    });
}

With libraries that support deferred (Let's use jQuery for this example here, but we've also used $q above):

function getUserDataAsync(userId) {
    var d = $.Deferred();
    getUserData(userId, function(res){ d.resolve(res); }, function(err){ d.reject(err); });
    return d.promise();
}

jQuery also offers a $.Deferred(fn) form, which has the advantage of allowing us to write an expression that emulates very closely the new Promise(fn) form, as follows:

function getUserDataAsync(userId) {
    return $.Deferred(function(dfrd) {
        getUserData(userId, dfrd.resolve, dfrd.reject);
    }).promise();
}

Note: Here we exploit the fact that a jQuery deferred's resolve and reject methods are "detachable"; ie. they are bound to the instance of a jQuery.Deferred(). Not all libs offer this feature.

3. Node style callback ("nodeback"):

Node style callbacks (nodebacks) have a particular format where the callbacks is always the last argument and its first parameter is an error. Let's first promisify one manually:

getStuff("dataParam", function(err, data) { …

To:

function getStuffAsync(param) {
    return new Promise(function(resolve, reject) {
        getStuff(param, function(err, data) {
            if (err !== null) reject(err);
            else resolve(data);
        });
    });
}

With deferreds you can do the following (let's use Q for this example, although Q now supports the new syntax which you should prefer):

function getStuffAsync(param) {
    var d = Q.defer();
    getStuff(param, function(err, data) {
        if (err !== null) d.reject(err);
        else d.resolve(data);
    });
    return d.promise;   
}

In general, you should not promisify things manually too much, most promise libraries that were designed with Node in mind as well as native promises in Node 8+ have a built in method for promisifying nodebacks. For example

var getStuffAsync = Promise.promisify(getStuff); // Bluebird
var getStuffAsync = Q.denodeify(getStuff); // Q
var getStuffAsync = util.promisify(getStuff); // Native promises, node only

4. A whole library with node style callbacks:

There is no golden rule here, you promisify them one by one. However, some promise implementations allow you to do this in bulk, for example in Bluebird, converting a nodeback API to a promise API is as simple as:

Promise.promisifyAll(API);

Or with native promises in Node:

const { promisify } = require('util');
const promiseAPI = Object.entries(API).map(([key, v]) => ({key, fn: promisify(v)}))
                         .reduce((o, p) => Object.assign(o, {[p.key]: p.fn}), {});

Notes:

  • Of course, when you are in a .then handler you do not need to promisify things. Returning a promise from a .then handler will resolve or reject with that promise's value. Throwing from a .then handler is also good practice and will reject the promise - this is the famous promise throw safety.
  • In an actual onload case, you should use addEventListener rather than onX.
Answer

Today, I can use Promise in Node.js as a plain Javascript method.

A simple and basic example to Promise (with KISS way):

Plain Javascript Async API code:

function divisionAPI (number, divider, successCallback, errorCallback) {

    if (divider == 0) {
        return errorCallback( new Error("Division by zero") )
    }

    successCallback( number / divider )

}

Promise Javascript Async API code:

function divisionAPI (number, divider) {

    return new Promise(function (fulfilled, rejected) {

        if (divider == 0) {
            return rejected( new Error("Division by zero") )
        }

        fulfilled( number / divider )

     })

}

(I recommend visiting this beautiful source)

Also Promise can be used with together async\await in ES7 to make the program flow wait for a fullfiled result like the following:

function getName () {

    return new Promise(function (fulfilled, rejected) {

        var name = "John Doe";

        // wait 3000 milliseconds before calling fulfilled() method
        setTimeout ( 
            function() {
                fulfilled( name )
            }, 
            3000
        )

    })

}


async function foo () {

    var name = await getName(); // awaits for a fulfilled result!

    console.log(name); // the console writes "John Doe" after 3000 milliseconds

}


foo() // calling the foo() method to run the code

Another usage with the same code by using .then() method

function getName () {

    return new Promise(function (fulfilled, rejected) {

        var name = "John Doe";

        // wait 3000 milliseconds before calling fulfilled() method
        setTimeout ( 
            function() {
                fulfilled( name )
            }, 
            3000
        )

    })

}


// the console writes "John Doe" after 3000 milliseconds
getName().then(function(name){ console.log(name) })

Promise can also be used on any platform that is based on Node.js like react-native.

Bonus: An hybrid method
(The callback method is assumed to have two parameters as error and result)

function divisionAPI (number, divider, callback) {

    return new Promise(function (fulfilled, rejected) {

        if (divider == 0) {
            let error = new Error("Division by zero")
            callback && callback( error )
            return rejected( error )
        }

        let result = number / divider
        callback && callback( null, result )
        fulfilled( result )

     })

}

The above method can respond result for old fashion callback and Promise usages.

Hope this helps.

Answer

Before converting a function as promise In Node.JS

var request = require('request'); //http wrapped module

function requestWrapper(url, callback) {
    request.get(url, function (err, response) {
      if (err) {
        callback(err);
      }else{
        callback(null, response);             
      }      
    })
}


requestWrapper(url, function (err, response) {
    console.log(err, response)
})

After Converting It

var request = require('request');

function requestWrapper(url) {
  return new Promise(function (resolve, reject) { //returning promise
    request.get(url, function (err, response) {
      if (err) {
        reject(err); //promise reject
      }else{
        resolve(response); //promise resolve
      }
    })
  })
}


requestWrapper('http://localhost:8080/promise_request/1').then(function(response){
    console.log(response) //resolve callback(success)
}).catch(function(error){
    console.log(error) //reject callback(failure)
})

Incase you need to handle multiple request

var allRequests = [];
allRequests.push(requestWrapper('http://localhost:8080/promise_request/1')) 
allRequests.push(requestWrapper('http://localhost:8080/promise_request/2'))
allRequests.push(requestWrapper('http://localhost:8080/promise_request/5'))    

Promise.all(allRequests).then(function (results) {
  console.log(results);//result will be array which contains each promise response
}).catch(function (err) {
  console.log(err)
});
Answer

I don't think the window.onload suggestion by @Benjamin will work all the time, as it doesn't detect whether it is called after the load. I have been bitten by that many times. Here is a version which should always work:

function promiseDOMready() {
    return new Promise(function(resolve) {
        if (document.readyState === "complete") return resolve();
        document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded", resolve);
    });
}
promiseDOMready().then(initOnLoad);
Answer

Node.js 8.0.0 includes a new util.promisify() API that allows standard Node.js callback style APIs to be wrapped in a function that returns a Promise. An example use of util.promisify() is shown below.

const fs = require('fs');
const util = require('util');

const readFile = util.promisify(fs.readFile);

readFile('/some/file')
  .then((data) => { /** ... **/ })
  .catch((err) => { /** ... **/ });

See Improved support for Promises

Answer

In release candidate for Node.js 8.0.0, there's a new utility, util.promisify (I've written about util.promisify), that encapsulates the capacity of promisifying whatever function.

It is not much different from the approaches suggested in the other answers, but has the advantage of being a core method, and not requiring additional dependencies.

const fs = require('fs');
const util = require('util');

const readFile = util.promisify(fs.readFile);

Then you've a readFile method that returns a native Promise.

readFile('./notes.txt')
  .then(txt => console.log(txt))
  .catch(...);
Answer

You can use JavaScript native promises with Node JS.

My Cloud 9 code link: https://ide.c9.io/adx2803/native-promises-in-node

/**
* Created by dixit-lab on 20/6/16.
*/

var express = require('express');
var request = require('request');   //Simplified HTTP request client.


var app = express();

function promisify(url) {
    return new Promise(function (resolve, reject) {
        request.get(url, function (error, response, body) {
            if (!error && response.statusCode == 200) {
                resolve(body);
            }
            else {
                reject(error);
            }
        })
    });
}

//get all the albums of a user who have posted post 100
app.get('/listAlbums', function (req, res) {
    //get the post with post id 100
    promisify('http://jsonplaceholder.typicode.com/posts/100').then(function (result) {
        var obj = JSON.parse(result);
        return promisify('http://jsonplaceholder.typicode.com/users/' + obj.userId + '/albums')
    })
    .catch(function (e) {
        console.log(e);
    })
    .then(function (result) {
        res.end(result);
    })
})

var server = app.listen(8081, function () {
    var host = server.address().address
    var port = server.address().port

    console.log("Example app listening at http://%s:%s", host, port)
})

//run webservice on browser : http://localhost:8081/listAlbums
Answer

The Q library by kriskowal includes callback-to-promise functions. A method like this:

obj.prototype.dosomething(params, cb) {
  ...blah blah...
  cb(error, results);
}

can be converted with Q.ninvoke

Q.ninvoke(obj,"dosomething",params).
then(function(results) {
});
Answer

With plain old vanilla javaScript, here's a solution to promisify an api callback.

function get(url, callback) {
        var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
        xhr.open('get', url);
        xhr.addEventListener('readystatechange', function () {
            if (xhr.readyState === 4) {
                if (xhr.status === 200) {
                    console.log('successful ... should call callback ... ');
                    callback(null, JSON.parse(xhr.responseText));
                } else {
                    console.log('error ... callback with error data ... ');
                    callback(xhr, null);
                }
            }
        });
        xhr.send();
    }

/**
     * @function promisify: convert api based callbacks to promises
     * @description takes in a factory function and promisifies it
     * @params {function} input function to promisify
     * @params {array} an array of inputs to the function to be promisified
     * @return {function} promisified function
     * */
    function promisify(fn) {
        return function () {
            var args = Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments);
            return new Promise(function(resolve, reject) {
                fn.apply(null, args.concat(function (err, result) {
                    if (err) reject(err);
                    else resolve(result);
                }));
            });
        }
    }

var get_promisified = promisify(get);
var promise = get_promisified('some_url');
promise.then(function (data) {
        // corresponds to the resolve function
        console.log('successful operation: ', data);
}, function (error) {
        console.log(error);
});
Answer

Under node v7.6+ which has built in promises and async:

// promisify.js
let promisify = fn => (...args) =>
    new Promise((resolve, reject) =>
        fn(...args, (err, result) => {
            if (err) return reject(err);
            return resolve(result);
        })
    );

module.exports = promisify;

How to use:

let readdir = require('fs').readdir;
let promisify = require('./promisify');
let readdirP = promisify(readdir);

async function myAsyncFn(path) {
    let entries = await readdirP(path);
    return entries;
}
Answer

When you have a few functions that take a callback and you want them to return a promise instead you can use this function to do the conversion.

function callbackToPromise(func){

    return function(){

        // change this to use what ever promise lib you are using
        // In this case i'm using angular $q that I exposed on a util module

        var defered = util.$q.defer();

        var cb = (val) => {
            defered.resolve(val);
        }

        var args = Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments);
        args.push(cb);    
        func.apply(this, args);

        return defered.promise;
    }
}
Answer

In Node.js 8 you can promisify object methods on the fly using this npm module:

https://www.npmjs.com/package/doasync

It uses util.promisify and Proxies so that your objects stay unchanged. Memoization is also done with the use of WeakMaps). Here are some examples:

With objects:

const fs = require('fs');
const doAsync = require('doasync');

doAsync(fs).readFile('package.json', 'utf8')
  .then(result => {
    console.dir(JSON.parse(result), {colors: true});
  });

With functions:

doAsync(request)('http://www.google.com')
  .then(({body}) => {
    console.log(body);
    // ...
  });

You can even use native call and apply to bind some context:

doAsync(myFunc).apply(context, params)
  .then(result => { /*...*/ });
Answer

You can use native Promise in ES6, for exemple dealing with setTimeout:

enqueue(data) {

    const queue = this;
    // returns the Promise
    return new Promise(function (resolve, reject) {
        setTimeout(()=> {
                queue.source.push(data);
                resolve(queue); //call native resolve when finish
            }
            , 10); // resolve() will be called in 10 ms
    });

}

In this exemple, the Promise has no reason to fail, so reject() is never called.

Answer

The callback style function always like this(almost all function in node.js is this style):

//fs.readdir(path[, options], callback)
fs.readdir('mypath',(err,files)=>console.log(files))

This style has same feature:

  1. the callback function is passed by last argument.

  2. the callback function always accept the error object as it's first argument.

So, you could write a function for convert a function with this style like this:

const R =require('ramda')

/**
 * A convenient function for handle error in callback function.
 * Accept two function res(resolve) and rej(reject) ,
 * return a wrap function that accept a list arguments,
 * the first argument as error, if error is null,
 * the res function will call,else the rej function.
 * @param {function} res the function which will call when no error throw
 * @param {function} rej the function which will call when  error occur
 * @return {function} return a function that accept a list arguments,
 * the first argument as error, if error is null, the res function
 * will call,else the rej function
 **/
const checkErr = (res, rej) => (err, ...data) => R.ifElse(
    R.propEq('err', null),
    R.compose(
        res,
        R.prop('data')
    ),
    R.compose(
        rej,
        R.prop('err')
    )
)({err, data})

/**
 * wrap the callback style function to Promise style function,
 * the callback style function must restrict by convention:
 * 1. the function must put the callback function where the last of arguments,
 * such as (arg1,arg2,arg3,arg...,callback)
 * 2. the callback function must call as callback(err,arg1?arg2,arg...)
 * @param {function} fun the callback style function to transform
 * @return {function} return the new function that will return a Promise,
 * while the origin function throw a error, the Promise will be Promise.reject(error),
 * while the origin function work fine, the Promise will be Promise.resolve(args: array),
 * the args is which callback function accept
 * */
 const toPromise = (fun) => (...args) => new Promise(
    (res, rej) => R.apply(
        fun,
        R.append(
            checkErr(res, rej),
            args
        )
    )
)

For more concise, above example used ramda.js. Ramda.js is a excellent library for functional programming. In above code, we used it's apply(like javascript function.prototype.apply) and append(like javascript function.prototype.push ). So, we could convert the a callback style function to promise style function now:

const {readdir} = require('fs')
const readdirP = toPromise(readdir)
readdir(Path)
    .then(
        (files) => console.log(files),
        (err) => console.log(err)
    )

toPromise and checkErr function is own by berserk library, it's a functional programming library fork by ramda.js(create by me).

Hope this answer is useful for you.

Answer

You can do something like this

// @flow

const toPromise = (f: (any) => void) => {
  return new Promise<any>((resolve, reject) => {
    try {
      f((result) => {
        resolve(result)
      })
    } catch (e) {
      reject(e)
    }
  })
}

export default toPromise

Then use it

async loadData() {
  const friends = await toPromise(FriendsManager.loadFriends)

  console.log(friends)
}
Answer

es6-promisify converts callback-based functions to Promise-based functions.

const promisify = require('es6-promisify');

const promisedFn = promisify(callbackedFn, args);

Ref: https://www.npmjs.com/package/es6-promisify

Answer

My promisify version of a callback function is the P function:

var P = function() {
  var self = this;
  var method = arguments[0];
  var params = Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments, 1);
  return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
    if (method && typeof(method) == 'function') {
      params.push(function(err, state) {
        if (!err) return resolve(state)
        else return reject(err);
      });
      method.apply(self, params);
    } else return reject(new Error('not a function'));
  });
}
var callback = function(par, callback) {
  var rnd = Math.floor(Math.random() * 2) + 1;
  return rnd > 1 ? callback(null, par) : callback(new Error("trap"));
}

callback("callback", (err, state) => err ? console.error(err) : console.log(state))
callback("callback", (err, state) => err ? console.error(err) : console.log(state))
callback("callback", (err, state) => err ? console.error(err) : console.log(state))
callback("callback", (err, state) => err ? console.error(err) : console.log(state))

P(callback, "promise").then(v => console.log(v)).catch(e => console.error(e))
P(callback, "promise").then(v => console.log(v)).catch(e => console.error(e))
P(callback, "promise").then(v => console.log(v)).catch(e => console.error(e))
P(callback, "promise").then(v => console.log(v)).catch(e => console.error(e))

The P function requires that the callback signature must be callback(error,result).

Answer

Below is the implementation of how a function (callback API) can be converted to a promise.

function promisify(functionToExec) {
  return function() {
    var array = Object.values(arguments);
    return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
      array.push(resolve)
      try {
         functionToExec.apply(null, array);
      } catch (error) {
         reject(error)
      }
    })
  }
}

// USE SCENARIO

function apiFunction (path, callback) { // Not a promise
  // Logic
}

var promisedFunction = promisify(apiFunction);

promisedFunction('path').then(()=>{
  // Receive the result here (callback)
})

// Or use it with await like this
let result = await promisedFunction('path');

Answer

It is like 5 years late, but I wanted to post here my promesify version which takes functions from callbacks API and turns them into promises

const promesify = fn => {
  return (...params) => ({
    then: cbThen => ({
      catch: cbCatch => {
        fn(...params, cbThen, cbCatch);
      }
    })
  });
};

Take a look to this very simple version here: https://gist.github.com/jdtorregrosas/aeee96dd07558a5d18db1ff02f31e21a

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