A more flexible jQuery.when command for working with jQuery Deferred objects
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.



This package adds a jQuery.when2 function to jQuery. The aim is to provide is a more flexible (than jQuery.when) command for working with jQuery Deferred objects.

Given a set of deferreds to monitor, when2 returns a deferred that is either:

  1. resolved on the first success,
  2. rejected on the first error (the jQuery.when behavior), or
  3. resolved when all results (successes or errors) have been collected.

You specify the behavior you want by passing an option to when2.

API differences from jQuery.when

  • when2 must be called with a list as its first argument.
  • An options Javascript object may be passed as a second argument.
  • If options.resolveOnFirstSuccess is true, the deferred returned by when2 will resolve as soon as any of the passed deferreds resolves. In this case, .done callbacks will be passed index and value arguments, where index is the index of the deferred that fired. If non-deferreds are in the arguments to when2, the first one seen will trigger the resolve (not very useful, but consistent).
  • If options.rejectOnFirstError is false, the deferred returned by when2 will never be rejected. It will collect the results from all the deferreds and pass them all back. The caller gets to figure out which values (if any) are errors.
  • If no options are given (or options.rejectOnFirstError is true), reject will be called on the deferred returned by when2 on the first error (this is the behavior of jQuery.when). The args passed to fail callbacks will be index and value, indicating which deferred was rejected.
  • Any .progress callbacks added to the returned deferred are also called with index and value arguments so you can tell which deferred made progress.


Download your choice of the code dist/jquery-when2-*.js and include it in your HTML after including jQuery. Then you have the following possiblitites:

// Behave like $.when: wait for all deferreds to finish and then resolve.
// Reject immediately if any passed deferred rejects.
$.when2([defer1, defer2, ...])
    // Results from all deferreds are in 'arguments'.
.fail(function(index, error){
    // The deferred given by 'index' was rejected with the given error.
// Same as above, but a little more explicit.
$.when2([defer1, defer2, ...], {rejectOnFirstError: true})
    // Results from all deferreds are in 'arguments'.
.fail(function(index, error){
    // The deferred given by 'index' was rejected with the given error.
// Don't reject if an underlying deferred rejects, keep collecting
// results and pass them all back to '.done' callbacks. You get
// to figure out which results are errors (if any).
$.when2([defer1, defer2, ...], {rejectOnFirstError: false})
    // Results from all deferreds, including errors, are in 'arguments'
    // This can never happen when 'rejectOnFirstError` is `true`.
// Resolve the returned deferred as soon as any of the
// passed deferreds is resolved.
$.when2([defer1, defer2, ...], {resolveOnFirstSuccess: true})
.done(function(index, result){
    // The deferred given by index fired with the given result.
// Get progress information from all the passed deferreds. Once the
// returned deferred has resolved, no further progress events are fired.
$.when2([defer1, defer2, ...])
.progress(function(index, value){
    // The deferred given by 'index' reported a progress value.

Development notes

You should install grunt and jshint:

$ npm install -g grunt jshint

To run the tests, either open test/index.html in your browser, or run

$ grunt qunit
Running "qunit:files" (qunit) task
Testing test/index.html ...............OK
>> 93 assertions passed (54ms)

Done, without errors.

The code borrows heavily from jQuery.when.

I copied some of the jQuery.when tests, but some were too complicated to get right for when2 so I ended up adding a bunch of small tests as well.

Note that when2 always makes a new deferred. This differs from the when approach, which re-uses the deferred it is given when called with only one argument. This was necessary in order to be able to return index, result arguments in this case.

It should be possible to implement jQuery.when in terms of jQuery.when2. I tried that originally, but ran into difficulty getting the tests to work, so decided to leave it for later (or never).

It would be easy to add convenience functions like jQuery.whenAnySuccess or jQuery.whenAllFinished that call when2 with the correct option.

The approach mirrors what you can do with Twisted's DeferredList, which gives you the same three behaviors: fire on first callback, fire on first errback, fire when everything is done (errors or not).

A slightly radical possible "enhancement" would be to have the option to co-opt the .progress callback to use it to relay resolve info (each call would pass an index & a value to show which of the passed deferreds had resolved). A flag in options could request that behavior. In a way it's a perversion of .progress but OTOH, the resolving of passed individual deferreds is arguably a better sign of overall progress.