Intro to Promises cover image

Intro to Promises

JavaScript Promises Are Fun!

updated over 5 years ago

credit: joe-yates-480485-unsplash.jpg

Promises… What’s their deal?

Whenever you execute any computer code, there are 2 possible outcomes: success or failure.

If that code is async in nature, it can be harder to reliably depend on that result.

Promises provide a handy way to deal with this.

                        |            |
                        | <-either-> |
                        |            |
                <-------+            +-------->
                |Failure?             Success?|
                |                             |
                v                             v
                (Rejected)           (Resolved)

Side note: While Promises ought to resolve or reject, they might fail to do either. This causes apps to hang, and can be very hard to debug.

Where do Promises come from?

Many times you will not need to create a promise yourself. Native APIs like fetch and popular libraries like axios already return Promises.

However if you must create a promise, there are 2 ways to do so:

Creating Promises #1/2:

The simplest way to create a Promise is with the helper method: Promise.resolve().

You can wrap (or “convert”) any value into a Promise using Promise.resolve(value).

// Without Promises:
function add10(num) {
  return num + 10

// With Promises:
function add10Promised(num) {
  return Promise.resolve(num + 10)

console.log(add10(10)) //=> 20

  .then(x => console.log(x)) //=> 20

Creating Promises #2/2:

Another more flexible method: use the Promise constructor.

new Promise(callback) accepts a callback function with the following interface:

new Promise(function(resolve, reject) {
  // The arguments `resolve` and `reject` are both functions.
  // typeof resolve === 'function'
  // typeof reject === 'function'

  // `resolve(result)` must get executed when the promise is fulfilled
  // `reject(Error)` must get executed if the promise is rejected

Promises API

The Promises API is actually a small number of methods.

2 instance functions, and 4 static/utility functions.

Promise instance methods

Accessing values from a promise will not work using usual tricks (i.e. console.log(promise)).

All Promises return either success (via .then(fn)) or failure (via .catch(fn)).

Promise utility methods

  • Promise.resolve(value) - Convert any value into a Promise
  • Promise.reject(Error) - Creates a failure Promise value, triggers subsequent .catch()
  • Promise.all([...promises]) - Wait for an array of Promises to ALL complete
  • Promise.race([...promises]) - Resolves as soon as the first promise resolves