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πŸ“¬ RxJS-based polling library with exponential backoff
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npm travis

rx-polling is a tiny (1KB gzipped) RxJSv6-based library to run polling requests on intervals, with support for:

  • pause and resume if the browser tab is inactive/active
  • N retry attempts if the request errors
  • Different backoff strategies if the request errors:
    1. exponential: it will wait 2, 4, ... 64, 256 seconds between attempts. (Default)
    2. random: it will wait a random time amount between attempts.
    3. consecutive: it will wait a constant time amount between attempts.
  • Observables: it accepts any Observable as input and it returns an Observable, which means it can be combined with other Observables as any other RxJS stream.
  • If you need to support rxjs of version <= 5.4 you must install v0.2.3 of rx-polling.


A demo of the library is available at


npm install rx-polling --save


Fetch data from the endpoint every 5 seconds.

import { map } from 'rxjs/operators';
import { ajax } from 'rxjs/ajax';

import polling from 'rx-polling';

// Example of an Observable which requests some JSON data and completes
const request$ = ajax({
  url: '',
  crossDomain: true
  map(response => response.response || []),
  map(response => response.slice(0, 10))

polling(request$, { interval: 5000 })
  .subscribe((comments) => {
  }, (error) => {
    // The Observable will throw if it's not able to recover after N attempts
    // By default it will attempts 9 times with exponential delay between each other.

Stop polling

Since rx-polling returns an Observable, you can just .unsubscribe from it to close the polling.

// As previous example but without imports
const request$ = ajax({
  url: '',
  crossDomain: true
  map(response => response.response || []),
  map(response => response.slice(0, 10))

let subscription = polling(request$, { interval: 5000 })
  .subscribe((comments) => {

window.setTimeout(() => {
  // Close the polling
}, 5000);

Combining the polling

You can use the returned Observable as with any other stream. The sky is the only limit.

// `this.http.get` returns an Observable, like Angular HttpClient class
const request$ = this.http.get('');

let subscription = polling(request$, { interval: 5000 })
    // Accept only cool comments from the polling
    filter(comments => comments.filter(comment => comment.isCool))
  .subscribe((comments) => {


polling(request$, options): Observable

import polling from 'rx-polling';


 * Actually any Observable is okay, even if it does not make network requests,
 * but it must complete at some point otherwise it will never be repeated.
const request$ = this.http.get('someResource').pipe(take(1));
const options = { interval: 5000 };

polling(request$, options)
  .subscribe((data) => {
  }, (error) => {
    // All recover attempts failed

Returns an Observable which:

  • emits each value emitted by request$ Observable, resubscribed every interval milli-seconds
  • errors if request$ throws AND if after N attempts it still fails. If any of the attempts succeeds then the polling is recovered and no error is thrown
  • completes Never. Be sure to .unsubscribe() the Observable when you're not anymore interested in the polling.

Options and backoff strategies

rx-polling supports 3 different strategies for delayed attempts on source$ error.

export interface IOptions {
   * Period of the interval to run the source$
  interval: number;

   * How many attempts on error, before throwing definitely to polling subscriber
  attempts?: number;

   * Strategy taken on source$ errors, with attempts to recover.
   * 'exponential' will retry waiting an increasing exponential time between attempts.
   * You can pass the unit amount, which will be multiplied to the exponential factor.
   * 'random' will retry waiting a random time between attempts. You can pass the range of randomness.
   * 'consecutive' will retry waiting a constant time between attempts. You can
   * pass the constant, otherwise the polling interval will be used.
  backoffStrategy?: 'exponential' | 'random' | 'consecutive';

   * Exponential delay factors (2, 4, 16, 32...) will be multiplied to the unit
   * to get final amount if 'exponential' strategy is used.
  exponentialUnit?: number;

   * Range of milli-seconds to pick a random delay between error retries if 'random'
   * strategy is used.
  randomRange?: [number, number];

   * Constant time to delay error retries if 'consecutive' strategy is used
  constantTime?: number;

const defaultOptions: IOptions = {
  attempts: 9,
  backoffStrategy: 'exponential',
  exponentialUnit: 1000, // 1 second
  randomRange: [1000, 10000],

Browser support

rx-polling supports IE10+, it internally uses document.hidden and visibilitychange Event. You might need to polyfill them on older browsers.


Contributions are welcome. New commits/Pull Requests must:

  1. Have no linter issues. Run lint script before committing/pushing.

  2. Have tests passing. Run test script before committing/pushing.

@NOTE: testing RxJS is currently really hard. This repo uses Jest contains some custom utilities to improve testing and error reports. The following console output is not standard and totally custom, so be aware of possible issues.

Nevertheless marbles are awesome! You can read more about it in Testing Observables in RxJS6


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