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⤕ Conclure JS

Brings cancellation and testability to your async flows.

It is a tiny (core is < 200 lines of code), zero dependencies generator runner.

Just grep and replace:

  • async -> function*
  • await -> yield
  • Promise.(all|race|allSettled|any) -> Conclude.(all|race|allSettled|any)
import { conclude } from 'conclure';
import * as Conclude from 'conclure/combinators';

// An example of a multi-step async flow that a user might want to cancel at any time
function* fetchItem(item) {
  const { contentsUrl } = yield item.fetchMetaData();
  const res = yield fetch(contentsUrl);
  return res.text();
};

const loadAll = items => Conclude.all(items.map(fetchItem));

const cancel = conclude(loadAll(myDocs), (err, contents) => {
  if (err) console.error(err);
  else console.log(contents);
});

/// later...
cancel();

You can yield/conclude iterators, promises, and effects interchangeably, so you can gradually introduce cancellation and testability to your async flows.

Design concepts and rationale

You should avoid Promises for two major reasons:

  • Promises are greedy: once created, cannot be cancelled
  • await promise always inserts a tick into your async flow, even if the promise is already resolved or can be resolved synchronously.

You can see a Promise as a particular type of an iterator for which the JS VM provides a built-in runner, a quite poorly designed one nonetheless.

⤕ Conclure JS is a custom generator runner that

  • allows you to cancel your async flows
  • ensures that sync flows always resolve synchronously
  • delivers better testability through the use of effects as popularized by redux-saga.

Terminology and semantics

An async flow may be represented by any of the three base concepts:

  • a promise (e.g. a result of an async function)
  • an iterator (e.g. a result of a generator function)
  • an effect: a declarative (lazy) function call, redux-saga style

You can yield or return a flow from a generator function. Conclure's runner will conclude the flow that will either

  • produce a result: promise resolves / iterator returns / CPS callback is called with (null, result), or
  • fail with an error: promise rejects / iterator throws / CPS callback is called with (error)

The runner returns the concluded value to the generator function via .next(result) or .throw(error)

The return value of the generator function yielding the flow - an iterator - becomes the flow's parent.

A flow may have multiple parents - different generators yielding the same flow. Conclure ensures that in this case the flow only runs once, but the results are delivered to all parents once concluded.

The root flow may be concluded by calling conclude explicitly, which itself is a CPS function, in the same vein as you would attach a then handler to a Promise outside of an async function. You may have multiple root flows.

conclude returns a cancel function that cancels the top-level flow. A child flow would then be cancelled if all of its parents are cancelled.

Unlike redux-saga, Conclure does not call .return with some "magic" value on the iterator. It simply attempts to cancel the currently pending operation and stops iterating the iterator.

A flow is considered finished when it is either concluded (with a result or an error) or cancelled.

You can also attach weak watchers to a flow using whenFinished(flow, callback). The callback will be called with { cancelled, error, result } when the flow has finished.

In case the flow concludes with a result or an error, the weak watchers are called before the result is delivered to the flow's parents, so the callback passed to whenFinished is roughly equivalent to the finally block of a redux-saga generator. However, it can be attached to promises and effects as well, and enables perfectly valid edge cases, when a flow is cancelled synchronously while the generator is running.

Check out some examples in the Recipes section below.

Effects

import { call, cps, cps_no_cancel, delay } from 'conclure/effects';

An effect is simply an abstracted declarative (lazy) function call: it is a simple object { [TYPE], context, fn, args } which may come in two flavors: CALL or CPS.

  • A CALL effect, when concluded, will call fn.apply(context, args) and conclude the result. Create a CALL effect using call(fn, ...args). If fn requires this, you can pass the context as call([context, fn], ...args).

  • A CPS effect, when concluded, will call fn.call(context, ...args, callback), and resolve or reject when the callback is called. fn must return a cancellation. Create a CPS effect using cps(fn, ...args). If fn requires this, you can pass the context as cps([context, fn], ...args).

To call third-party CPS functions that do not return a cancellation, use the cps_no_cancel effect instead.

delay(ms)

delay is a CPS function. However, when called without the second callback argument it returns a cps effect on itself. When concluded, it introduces a delay of ms milliseconds into the flow.

Combinators

import * as Conclude from 'conclure/combinators';

Conclude.[all|any|race|allSettled] combinators would do the same thing as their Promise counterparts, except that they operate on all types of flows supported by ConclureJS: promises, iterators, or effects. All other values are concluded as themselves. The payload argument may be an Iterable or an object.

Combinator conclude behavior summary:

Combinator Flow k produces result Flow k fails with error All flows conclude
all([]) continue Fail with error Return all results
all({}) continue Fail with {[k]: error} Return { [k in payload]: results[k] }
any([]) Return result continue Fail with all errors
any({}) Return {[k]: result} continue Fail with { [k in payload]: errors[k] }
race([]) Return result Fail with error noop
race({}) Return {[k]: result} Fail with {[k]: error} noop
allSettled([]) continue continue Return [{ result: results[k], error: errors[k] }] for all k
allSettled({}) continue continue Return { [k in payload]: { result: results[k], error: errors[k] } }

All the combinators are implemented as CPS functions. Same as delay, when called without the callback argument, each combinator returns a cps effect on itself.

IMPORTANT

  • If a combinator can conclude synchronously, it is guaranteed to do so!
  • If some of the flows are still running when a combinator concludes they will be automatically cancelled

Refer to the API reference for more details.

Typical use cases and recipes

  1. Abortable fetch
export function* abortableFetch(url, options) {
  const controller = new AbortController();

  const promise = fetch(url, { ...options, signal: controller.signal });
  whenFinished(promise, ({ cancelled }) => cancelled && controller.abort());

  const res = yield promise;
  if (!res.ok) throw new Error(res.statusText);

  const contentType = res.headers.get('Content-Type');

  return contentType && contentType.indexOf('application/json') !== -1
    ? res.json()
    : res.text();
}
  1. Caching flow results
const withCache = (fn, expiry = 0, cache = new Map()) => function(key, ...args) {
  if (cache.has(key)) {
    return cache.get(key);
  }

  const it = fn(key, ...args);
  cache.set(key, it);

  whenFinished(it, ({ cancelled, error, result }) => {
    if (cancelled || error || !expiry) cache.delete(key);
    else setTimeout(() => cache.delete(key), expiry);
  });

  return it;
}

const cachedFetch = withCache(abortableFetch, 10000);
  1. Show a spinner while a flow is running
function withSpinner(flow) {
  const it = call(() => {
    showSpinner();
    return flow;
  });
  whenFinished(it, () => hideSpinner());
  return it;
}

conclude(withSpinner(cachedFetch(FILE_URL)), (err, res) => console.log({ err, res }));

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