A NobleJS production
setImmediate.js is a highly cross-browser implementation of the
clearImmediate APIs, currently
a W3C draft spec from the Web Performance Working Group.
setImmediate allows scripts to yield to the browser,
executing a given operation asynchronously, in a manner that is typically more efficient and consumes less power than
setTimeout(..., 0) pattern.
setImmediate.js runs at “full speed” in the following browsers and environments, using various clever tricks:
- Internet Explorer 6+
- Firefox 3+
- Opera 9.5+
- Web workers in browsers that support
MessageChannel, which I can't find solid info on.
In all other browsers we fall back to using
setTimeout, so it's always safe to use.
In Node.js versions below 0.9,
setImmediate is not available, but
process.nextTick is, so we use it to
shim support for a global
setImmediate. In Node.js 0.9 and above,
setImmediate is available.
Note that we check for actual Node.js environments, not emulated ones like those produced by browserify or similar.
Such emulated environments often already include a
process.nextTick shim that's not as browser-compatible as
In Firefox 3+, Internet Explorer 9+, all modern WebKit browsers, and Opera 9.5+,
available and provides a good way to queue tasks on the event loop. It's quite the abuse, using a cross-document
messaging protocol within the same document simply to get access to the event loop task queue, but until there are
native implementations, this is the best option.
Note that Internet Explorer 8 includes a synchronous version of
postMessage. We detect this, or any other such
synchronous implementation, and fall back to another trick.
postMessage has completely different semantics inside web workers, and so cannot be used there. So we
MessageChannel, which has worse browser support, but does work inside a web worker.
For our last trick, we pull something out to make things fast in Internet Explorer versions 6 through 8: namely,
<script> element and firing our calls in its
onreadystatechange event. This does execute in a future
turn of the event loop, and is also faster than
setTimeout(…, 0), so hey, why not?
In the browser, include it with a
<script> tag; pretty simple.
In Node.js, do
npm install setimmediate
somewhere early in your app; it attaches to the global.