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README.md

asyncDefine

asyncDefine is a simple function that coordinates the execution of aynchronous scripts.

The issue

Sometime you want to split a script in more than one bundle. For caching for example, or for sharing a common library between two or more scripts running in the same page. What you can easily do is this:

<script src="script1.js"></script>
<script src="script2.js"></script>

This works of course but with a couple of problems:

  • script1 needs to expose something in the global namespace or script2 won't be able to see script1
  • you are forced to load script1 synchronously or script2 may be executed BEFORE and won't see its dependency

For example, you can do:

<script src="script1.js"></script>
<script src="script2.js" async></script>

But you can't do this (it will fail sometimes):

<script src="script1.js" async></script>
<script src="script2.js" async></script>

Using asyncDefine

asyncDefine wraps your scripts and insure the execution order without polluting the global namespace. This will be script1.js

defineAsync('script1', function (){ // script1 will be the name of this bundle
  // I am exposing the functionalities through the object "obj"
  return obj;
});

This will be script2.js

defineAsync(['script1'], function (script1){ // the array lists the dependencies
  // I execute the code and script1 will be defined
});

It is also protecting you for executing the same common libraries twice. For example:

defineAsync('script1', function (){
  // will I be executed ?
  return;
});
defineAsync('script1', function (){
  // will I be executed ?
  return;
});

In the previous example only one of these will be executed.

If one of your library exposes multiple items using an object, you can easily inject these properties in a module:

defineAsync('tools', function (){
  return {
    hammer: 'hammer',
    spade: 'spade',
    drill: 'drill',
  };
});

defineAsync(['tools|hammer'], function (hammer){
  console.log('Using an ', hammer);
});

Syntax

The syntax resembles a lot AMD (http://requirejs.org/docs/api.html#define). There is only one function:

defineAsync(name, [array of dependencies], func);

The name and the list of dependencies are optionals. The function will be executed and it will receive the dependencies as arguments.

What is NOT

AsyncDefine is not a module definition system, it doesn't trigger the download of the dependencies, it doesn't require, include or enforce any kind of package manager.

How to use with browserify

AsyncDefine is compatible with plain javascript, browserify and ES2015 modules. Here's an example with Browserify. The first bundle will contain jquery:

var $ = require('jquery');
var asyncDefine = require('asyncDefine');

asyncDefine('jquery', function (){
  return $;
});

The second bundle will contain react:

var React = require('react');
var asyncDefine = require('asyncDefine');

asyncDefine('react', function (){
  return React;
});

The third bundle will contain react-dom:

var ReactDOM = require('react-dom');
var asyncDefine = require('asyncDefine');

asyncDefine('react-dom', function (){
  return ReactDOM;
});

The main file will depend on the others:

var asyncDefine = require('asyncDefine');

asyncDefine(['jquery', 'react', 'react-dom'], function ($, React, ReactDOM){
  var $node = $('<div />').appendTo(document.body);
  var node = $node.get(0);

  var Hello = React.createClass({displayName: "hello", render: function (){
    return React.createElement('div', {className: 'helloworld'}, 'Hello World!');
  }});

  ReactDOM.render(
    React.createElement(Hello, null),
    node);
});

As an alternative it is also possible to bundle a group of resources together in the same file:

var asyncDefine = require('asyncDefine');
var $ = require('jquery');
var React = require('react');
var ReactDOM = require('react-dom');

asyncDefine('jquery', function (){
  return $;
});

asyncDefine('react', function (){
  return React;
});

asyncDefine('react-dom', function (){
  return ReactDOM;
});

Then you can put in the html:

<script async src="dist/main.js"></script>
<script async src="dist/react.js"></script>
<script async src="dist/react-dom.js"></script>
<script async src="dist/jquery.js"></script>

All will be downloaded asynchronously with the maximum performances! There is also a transformer available https://github.com/tes/browserify-async-define

asyncDefineBundle

This is a command line/API available to wrap scripts into asyncDefine. Can be used as additional build steps in webpack/browserify/xyz, and allows to load bundles asynchronously.

Here are the options:

  • -name (-n): name of this bundle (optional)
  • -import (-i): symbols to import (optional)
  • -export (-e): symbols to export (optional)
  • -minified (-m): use this if you want to use a minified version of async-define
  • -fragment (-f): (advanced) the fragment to use (default to asyncDefine wrapper)
  • -script (-s): the path of the script to wrap into asyncDefine
  • -sourcemaps: produce sourcemaps Example:
async-define-bundle.js -n bundle3 -s hello.js -i bundle1.x,bundle1.y,bundle2.z -e j

will produce:

// ... async define bundle
asyncDefine("bundle3", ["bundle1" ,"bundle2"], function (___bundle1 ,___bundle2) {
      var x = ___bundle1.x;
      var y = ___bundle1.y;
      var z = ___bundle2.z;

  console.log('hello world'); // this is the script

  return {
      j: j,
  };
});

There is an equivalent module:

var asyncDefineBundle = require('async-define/src/async-define-bundle');
console.log(asyncDefineBundle({
  fragmentPath: fragmentPath, // (advanced) the fragment to use (default to asyncDefine wrapper)
  bundleName: bundleName, // name of this bundle (optional)
  importVar: importVar, // an object like {bundle1: ['x', 'y'], bundle2: ['z']}
  exportVar: exportVar, // a list of exported symbols ['j']
  script: script, // the script to wrap into asyncDefine (a string)
  minified: minified, // use this if you want to use a minified version of async-define
}));
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