Promise/Future utility functions
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Clojars Project


A bunch of experimental utility functions for working with collections of futures.

API Documentation (Temporary Location)

Getting it

Primrose is available via Clojars


[primrose "0.1.0"]




Primrose has a very minimal API for working with collections of futures. The core of the entire library revolves around 2 functions select-one and select-many. They both behave in the same way

  1. They take a sequence of futures
  2. They return a promise that will be delivered when the method logic dictates.

You can import the module diretly

(:require [primrose.core :as primrose])

The namespace contains a method called first which will produce a warning if you import the module via :refer :all

(:require [primrose.core :refer :all])

; WARNING: first already refers to: #'clojure.core/first in namespace: user, being replaced by: #'primrose.core/first

I suggest using only the methods you need or namespacing the imported module (as above) but if this is the way you want to import primrose then you can silence the warning via :refer-clojure :exclude

(ns myapp.core
  (:require [primrose.core :refer :all])
  (:refer-clojure :exclude [first]))


select-one takes a predicate and a set of futures and returns a promise that will eventually hold the value of the first future to return whos result is true for the given predicate.

To demonstrate this lets imagine we had a method called get-async that made a request to a website (off-thread via a future) and eventually returned a response object. Its fictional but you could use clj-http or http.async.client to achieve this behavior.

(def first-good-result
    (fn [response] (= 200 (:status response))
    (get-async "")
    (get-async "")
    (get-async "")))
(println (:host @first-good-result))

In this example select-one will return the first get-async response whose status is 200. If for some reason all 3 fail then select-one will return nil.


A typical use case for select-one is to simply return the first future to be realized which is simple to implement using the (fn [_] true) predicate however this is more boilerplate than you really want.

first is a simple wrapper for select-one that takes care of sending in this predicate. The following two forms do the same thing,

  (fn [_] true)
  (future (Thread/sleep 200) 1)
  (future (Thread/sleep 100) 2))
  (future (Thread/sleep 200) 1)
  (future (Thread/sleep 100) 2))


Where select-one delivers the promise when the first resulting where the predicate is true, select-many will wait for all the futures to be realized and return a seq of all results that match the predicate.

For example if we wanted to check a bunch of pages to ensure they exist we could implement this using select-many

(def not-found-pages
    (fn [response] (= 404 (:status response)))
    (get-async "")  
    (get-async "")
    (get-async "")
    (get-async "")))
(println (map :project-name @not-found-pages))
=> [happiness fulfilment]


A common use case for select-many is to fire off all the futures and wait until all the results have been collected and do something with those results. As with first this is easy to implement using the (fn [_] true) predicate.

all is a simple wrapper for select-many that takes care of sending in this predicate. The following two forms do the same thing,

  (fn [_] true)
  (future (Thread/sleep 200) 1)
  (future (Thread/sleep 100) 2))
  (future (Thread/sleep 200) 1)
  (future (Thread/sleep 100) 2))


  • There is currently no internal support for timeouts. If a future never returns then derefing the promise returned from these methods will block forever. Timeout can be handled outside of these methods.
  • Calling these methods will cause futures to be derefed immediatley even if they were originally part of a lazy-seq.
  • There is currently no support for error handling which is likely needed for proper handling of timeouts (even if implemented externally).


Copyright © 2014 James Hughes

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License either version 1.0 or (at your option) any later version.