A tiny Promises/A+ complient promise implementation written in Typescript.
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README.md

Build Status Promises/A+ logo

What is it?

Typescript-Deferred is a tiny (3.3kB minified) Promises/A+ compliant promise implementation written in Typescript.

Why?

There are many excellent promise implementations out there, and there is absolutely no need for another one. Typescript-Deferred was created for the fun of it and for getting a better grip on the Typescript typing system.

However, the result fully implements the spec, is small and has zero dependencies, so it may be a good fit if you want to add A+ compliant promises to a library or API without increasing the footprint. The code should work pretty much everywhere, but I have not tested this extensively --- go ahead and tell me if it breaks.

How to use it?

Packaging and loading.

Typescript-Deferred supports a variety of packaging options:

  • npm / browserify: install from npm, require the module via typescriptDeferred = require('typescript-deferred'). The Typescript header is typescript_deferred.d.ts.
  • RequireJS / AMD: Get build/typescript_deferred.min.js either via bower or from the github repo. This file is a UMD build that can be used with RequireJS and other AMD loaders. The Typescript header is build/typescript_deferred.d.ts
  • Plain script tag: Get build/typescript_deferred.min.js either via bower or from the github repo. This UMD build can be loaded via script tag in the browser, the namespace is exported as window.typescriptDeferred. The corresponding Typescript header is build/typescript_deferred_standalone.d.ts.

As I am too lazy to type typescriptDeferred, we'll use tsd from now on.

Creating deferreds and promises

Promises can be created either via tsd.when() or by creating a deferred via tsd.create() and then accessing the promise controlled by the deferred via the promise property.

tsd.when

when wraps a value and returns a promise for that value. The argument may be either a plain value or a promise / thenable. In case of a thenable, its state is adopted in the way specified by the the Promises/A+ specs for then callback return values.

In Javascript, this looks like

// A promise that resolves to 10
var promise = tsd.when(10);

// Adopting a thenable
var promise = tsd.when(someThenable);

Typescript

In Typescript, the fully typed version of this code looks like

// A promise for a number that resolves to 10
var promise: tsd.PromiseInterface<number> =
    tsd.when<number>(10);

// A promise that adops the state of some other thenable that wraps a value
// of type sometype
var promise: tsd.PromiseInterface<sometype> =
    tsd.when<sometype>(someThenable);

Note that when carries a type parameter that will be inferred automatically by the compiler --- you won't have to specify it explicitly, even if the result type is wrapped by a promise. In other words, a less verbose but working version of the same example is

var promise: tsd.PromiseInterface<number> =
    tsd.when(10);

var promise: tsd.PromiseInterface<sometype> =
    tsd.when(someThenable);

tsd.create

create creates a new deferred object. A deferred represents a promise which can be either resolved via deferred.resolve or rejected via deferred.reject. The promise can be acessed via the promise property on the deferred.

If the deferred is resolved with another thenable / deferred, its state is adopted according the the Promises/A+ specs.

In Javascript, this looks like

// Create a new deferred for a number
var deferred = tsd.create();

// Use the promise wrapped by the deferred
deferred.promise.then(...);

// Resolve the promise with a value...
deferred.resolve(10);

// ... or adopt another thenable ...
deferred.resolve(someThenable);

// ... or reject it with some reason
deferred.reject(reason);

Typescript

In Typescript, the fully typed version of this code looks like

// Create a new deferred for a number
var deferred = tsd.create<number>();

// Use the promise wrapped by the deferred, with the resolve / reject handlers
// mapping to a type sometype
deferred.promise.then<sometype>(...);

// Resolve the promise with a value...
deferred.resolve(10);

// ... or adopt another thenable which wraps a value of type number ...
deferred.resolve(someThenable);

// ... or reject it with some reason (reasons are always type as any)
deferred.reject(reason);

Again, the type parameter of then can be inferred by the compiler and left out (see below).

Using promises

The promises implemented by this package provide a then method that complies with the Promises/A+ standard.

In Typescript, then is typed as a generic, taking the target type of the callbacks as a type parameter which the compiler can infer from the callback type. Type inference works regardless of whether the result type is wrapped by a promise or not.

In addtion to then, two convenience methods always and otherwise are supplied.

always

The code

var foo = promise.always(callback);

is equivalent to

var foo = promise.then(callback, callback);

Typescript

always can change the type wrapped by the promise and carries a type parameter just like then.

otherwise

The code

var foo = promise.otherwise(callback);

is equivalent to

var foo = promise.then(undefined, callback);

Typescript

otherwise cannot alter the type wrapped by the promise --- there is no type parameter.

More Typescript

Promises are described by the interface tsd.PromiseInterface<sometype> which builds upon the thenable interface tsd.ThenableInterface<sometype>. If you need to adopt foreign thenables that do not fully declare this interface (very likely as it contains the necessary overloads to describe the different invocations of then), you'll have to cast.

The full Typescript interface is described by the Typescript header typescript_deferred.d.ts.

Warning: then vs. type safety

Using then to attach an error handler without providing a success handle allows you to accidentially bypass Typescript's type system:

// Create a new deferred for a string
var deferred: tsd.DeferredInterface<string> = tsd.create();

// Transform into a promise for a number
var promise: tsd.PromiseInterface<number> =
    deferred.promise.then(undefined, () => 10);

// Whoops, promise now wraps a string (contrary to its type!)
deferred.resolve('foo');

The reason for this behavior is that undefined passes as a perfectly valid value for tsd.ImmediateSuccessCB<string, number> but actually causes the string value to propagate if the deferred is resolved.

Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid this trap without departing from the Promises/A+ spec. If you want fully typed code without this kind of hidden type violations, you should use the otherwise method described above if you just want to attach an error handler. otherwise cannot change the type wrapped by the promise. Note that using then to attach just a success handler or both handler is fine and cannot lead to type violations.

Building and Tests

In orde to build the code yourself, you need grunt-cli installed and grunt available in your path.

The code can then be built and tested via

> npm install
> grunt initial
> grunt build
> grunt test

The testsuite runs the full Promises/A+ suite in its full 800+ test case glory and some more tests for the additional functionality provided by this package.

Can I use this in my project under license XYZ?

You like typescript-deferred? Awesome, go ahead, the code is available under the MIT license.