bluebird / 2.3.6 last updated 6 days ago created on Sep 24th 2013

Install

npm install --save bluebird

Clone

git clone git@github.com:petkaantonov/bluebird.git

dependencies

No dependencies listed.

maintainers

esailija esailija

versions 123 total

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readme

Build Status

Promises/A+ logo

Introduction

Bluebird is a fully featured promise library with focus on innovative features and performance

Topics

bluebird logo

Features:


Quick start

Node.js

npm install bluebird

Then:

var Promise = require("bluebird");

Browsers

Download the bluebird.js file. NOTE: bluebird also has a bower package.

And then use a script tag:

<script type="text/javascript" src="/scripts/bluebird.js"></script>

The global variables Promise and P (alias for Promise) become available after the above script tag.

A minimal bluebird browser build is ̃38.92KB minified*, 11.65KB gzipped and has no external dependencies.

*Google Closure Compiler using Simple.

Browser support

Browsers that implement ECMA-262, edition 3 and later are supported.

Selenium Test Status

IE7 and IE8 had to be removed from tests due to SauceLabs bug but are supported and pass all tests

Note that in ECMA-262, edition 3 (IE7, IE8 etc.) it is not possible to use methods that have keyword names like .catch and .finally. The API documentation always lists a compatible alternative name that you can use if you need to support these browsers. For example .catch is replaced with .caught and .finally with .lastly.

Also, long stack trace support is only available in Chrome and Firefox.

Previously bluebird required es5-shim.js and es5-sham.js to support Edition 3 - these are no longer required as of 0.10.4.

After quick start, see API Reference and examples


Support


What are promises and why should I use them?

You should use promises to turn this:

fs.readFile("file.json", function(err, val) {
    if( err ) {
        console.error("unable to read file");
    }
    else {
        try {
            val = JSON.parse(val);
            console.log(val.success);
        }
        catch( e ) {
            console.error("invalid json in file");
        }
    }
});

Into this:

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fs.readFileAsync("file.json").then(JSON.parse).then(function(val) {
    console.log(val.success);
})
.catch(SyntaxError, function(e) {
    console.error("invalid json in file");
})
.catch(function(e){
    console.error("unable to read file")
});

If you are wondering "there is no readFileAsync method on fs that returns a promise", see promisification

Actually you might notice the latter has a lot in common with code that would do the same using synchronous I/O:

try {
    var val = JSON.parse(fs.readFileSync("file.json"));
    console.log(val.success);
}
//Syntax actually not supported in JS but drives the point
catch(SyntaxError e) {
    console.error("invalid json in file");
}
catch(Error e) {
    console.error("unable to read file")
}

And that is the point - being able to have something that is a lot like return and throw in synchronous code.

You can also use promises to improve code that was written with callback helpers:

//Copyright Plato http://stackoverflow.com/a/19385911/995876
//CC BY-SA 2.5
mapSeries(URLs, function (URL, done) {
    var options = {};
    needle.get(URL, options, function (error, response, body) {
        if (error) {
            return done(error)
        }
        try {
            var ret = JSON.parse(body);
            return done(null, ret);
        }
        catch (e) {
            done(e);
        }
    });
}, function (err, results) {
    if (err) {
        console.log(err)
    } else {
        console.log('All Needle requests successful');
        // results is a 1 to 1 mapping in order of URLs > needle.body
        processAndSaveAllInDB(results, function (err) {
            if (err) {
                return done(err)
            }
            console.log('All Needle requests saved');
            done(null);
        });
    }
});

Is more pleasing to the eye when done with promises:

Promise.promisifyAll(needle);
var options = {};

var current = Promise.resolve();
Promise.map(URLs, function(URL) {
    current = current.then(function () {
        return needle.getAsync(URL, options);
    });
    return current;
}).map(function(responseAndBody){
    return JSON.parse(responseAndBody[1]);
}).then(function (results) {
    return processAndSaveAllInDB(results);
}).then(function(){
    console.log('All Needle requests saved');
}).catch(function (e) {
    console.log(e);
});

Also promises don't just give you correspondences for synchronous features but can also be used as limited event emitters or callback aggregators.

More reading:

Questions and issues

If you find a bug in bluebird or have a feature request, file an issue in the github issue tracker. Anything else, such as questions for help in using the library, should be posted in StackOverflow under tags promise and bluebird.

Error handling

This is a problem every promise library needs to handle in some way. Unhandled rejections/exceptions don't really have a good agreed-on asynchronous correspondence. The problem is that it is impossible to predict the future and know if a rejected promise will eventually be handled.

There are two common pragmatic attempts at solving the problem that promise libraries do.

The more popular one is to have the user explicitly communicate that they are done and any unhandled rejections should be thrown, like so:

download().then(...).then(...).done();

For handling this problem, in my opinion, this is completely unacceptable and pointless. The user must remember to explicitly call .done and that cannot be justified when the problem is forgetting to create an error handler in the first place.

The second approach, which is what bluebird by default takes, is to call a registered handler if a rejection is unhandled by the start of a second turn. The default handler is to write the stack trace to stderr or console.error in browsers. This is close to what happens with synchronous code - your code doesn't work as expected and you open console and see a stack trace. Nice.

Of course this is not perfect, if your code for some reason needs to swoop in and attach error handler to some promise after the promise has been hanging around a while then you will see annoying messages. In that case you can use the .done() method to signal that any hanging exceptions should be thrown.

If you want to override the default handler for these possibly unhandled rejections, you can pass yours like so:

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Promise.onPossiblyUnhandledRejection(function(error){
    throw error;
});

If you want to also enable long stack traces, call:

Promise.longStackTraces();

right after the library is loaded.

In node.js use the environment flag BLUEBIRD_DEBUG:

BLUEBIRD_DEBUG=1 node server.js

to enable long stack traces in all instances of bluebird.

Long stack traces cannot be disabled after being enabled, and cannot be enabled after promises have already been created. Long stack traces imply a substantial performance penalty, even after using every trick to optimize them.

Long stack traces are enabled by default in the debug build.

Expected and unexpected errors

A practical problem with Promises/A+ is that it models Javascript try-catch too closely for its own good. Therefore by default promises inherit try-catch warts such as the inability to specify the error types that the catch block is eligible for. It is an anti-pattern in every other language to use catch-all handlers because they swallow exceptions that you might not know about.

Now, Javascript does have a perfectly fine and working way of creating error type hierarchies. It is still quite awkward to use them with the built-in try-catch however:

try {
    //code
}
catch(e) {
    if( e instanceof WhatIWantError) {
        //handle
    }
    else {
        throw e;
    }
}

Without such checking, unexpected errors would be silently swallowed. However, with promises, bluebird brings the future (hopefully) here now and extends the .catch to accept potential error type eligibility.

For instance here it is expected that some evil or incompetent entity will try to crash our server from SyntaxError by providing syntactically invalid JSON:

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getJSONFromSomewhere().then(function(jsonString) {
    return JSON.parse(jsonString);
}).then(function(object) {
    console.log("it was valid json: ", object);
}).catch(SyntaxError, function(e){
    console.log("don't be evil");
});

Here any kind of unexpected error will automatically reported on stderr along with a stack trace because we only register a handler for the expected SyntaxError.

Ok, so, that's pretty neat. But actually not many libraries define error types and it is in fact a complete ghetto out there with ad hoc strings being attached as some arbitrary property name like .name, .type, .code, not having any property at all or even throwing strings as errors and so on. So how can we still listen for expected errors?

Bluebird defines a special error type OperationalError (you can get a reference from Promise.OperationalError). This type of error is given as rejection reason by promisified methods when their underlying library gives an untyped, but expected error. Primitives such as strings, and error objects that are directly created like new Error("database didn't respond") are considered untyped.

Example of such library is the node core library fs. So if we promisify it, we can catch just the errors we want pretty easily and have programmer errors be redirected to unhandled rejection handler so that we notice them:

//Read more about promisification in the API Reference:
//API.md
var fs = Promise.promisifyAll(require("fs"));

fs.readFileAsync("myfile.json").then(JSON.parse).then(function (json) {
    console.log("Successful json")
}).catch(SyntaxError, function (e) {
    console.error("file contains invalid json");
}).catch(Promise.OperationalError, function (e) {
    console.error("unable to read file, because: ", e.message);
});

The last catch handler is only invoked when the fs module explicitly used the err argument convention of async callbacks to inform of an expected error. The OperationalError instance will contain the original error in its .cause property but it does have a direct copy of the .message and .stack too. In this code any unexpected error - be it in our code or the fs module - would not be caught by these handlers and therefore not swallowed.

Since a catch handler typed to Promise.OperationalError is expected to be used very often, it has a neat shorthand:

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.error(function (e) {
    console.error("unable to read file, because: ", e.message);
});

See API documentation for .error()

Finally, Bluebird also supports predicate-based filters. If you pass a predicate function instead of an error type, the predicate will receive the error as an argument. The return result will be used determine whether the error handler should be called.

Predicates should allow for very fine grained control over caught errors: pattern matching, error typesets with set operations and many other techniques can be implemented on top of them.

Example of using a predicate-based filter:

var Promise = require("bluebird");
var request = Promise.promisify(require("request"));

function clientError(e) {
    return e.code >= 400 && e.code < 500;
}

request("http://www.google.com").then(function(contents){
    console.log(contents);
}).catch(clientError, function(e){
   //A client error like 400 Bad Request happened
});

Danger: The JavaScript language allows throwing primitive values like strings. Throwing primitives can lead to worse or no stack traces. Primitives are not exceptions. You should consider always throwing Error objects when handling exceptions.


How do long stack traces differ from e.g. Q?

Bluebird attempts to have more elaborate traces. Consider:

Error.stackTraceLimit = 25;
Q.longStackSupport = true;
Q().then(function outer() {
    return Q().then(function inner() {
        return Q().then(function evenMoreInner() {
            a.b.c.d();
        }).catch(function catcher(e){
            console.error(e.stack);
        });
    })
});

You will see

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ReferenceError: a is not defined
    at evenMoreInner (<anonymous>:7:13)
From previous event:
    at inner (<anonymous>:6:20)

Compare to:

Error.stackTraceLimit = 25;
Promise.longStackTraces();
Promise.resolve().then(function outer() {
    return Promise.resolve().then(function inner() {
        return Promise.resolve().then(function evenMoreInner() {
            a.b.c.d()
        }).catch(function catcher(e){
            console.error(e.stack);
        });
    });
});
ReferenceError: a is not defined
    at evenMoreInner (<anonymous>:7:13)
From previous event:
    at inner (<anonymous>:6:36)
From previous event:
    at outer (<anonymous>:5:32)
From previous event:
    at <anonymous>:4:21
    at Object.InjectedScript._evaluateOn (<anonymous>:572:39)
    at Object.InjectedScript._evaluateAndWrap (<anonymous>:531:52)
    at Object.InjectedScript.evaluate (<anonymous>:450:21)

A better and more practical example of the differences can be seen in gorgikosev's debuggability competition.


Development

For development tasks such as running benchmarks or testing, you need to clone the repository and install dev-dependencies.

Install node, npm, and grunt.

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git clone git@github.com:petkaantonov/bluebird.git
cd bluebird
npm install

Testing

To run all tests, run grunt test. Note that 10 processes are created to run the tests in parallel. The stdout of tests is ignored by default and everything will stop at the first failure. If you want to run tests sequentially with all output, do:

grunt test --jobs=1

You may also give a higher --jobs value to run more tests concurrently (and finish faster).

Individual files can be run with grunt test --run=filename where filename is a test file name in /test folder or /test/mocha folder. The .js prefix is not needed. The dots for AP compliance tests are not needed, so to run /test/mocha/2.3.3.js for instance:

grunt test --run=233

When trying to get a test to pass, run only that individual test file with --verbose to see the output from that test:

grunt test --run=233 --verbose

The reason for the unusual way of testing is because the majority of tests are from different libraries using different testing frameworks and because it takes forever to test sequentially.

Testing in browsers

To test in browsers:

cd browser
setup

Then open the index.html in your browser. Requires bash (on windows the mingw32 that comes with git works fine too).

You may also visit the github hosted page.

Keep the test tab active because some tests are timing-sensitive and will fail if the browser is throttling timeouts. Chrome will do this for example when the tab is not active.

Benchmarks

To run a benchmark, run the given command for a benchmark while on the project root. Requires bash (on windows the mingw32 that comes with git works fine too).

Node 0.11.2+ is required to run the generator examples.

1. DoxBee sequential

Currently the most relevant benchmark is @gorkikosev's benchmark in the article Analysis of generators and other async patterns in node. The benchmark emulates a situation where n amount of users are making a request in parallel to execute some mixed async/sync action. The benchmark has been modified to include a warm-up phase to minimize any JITing during timed sections.

Command: bench doxbee

2. Made-up parallel

This made-up scenario runs 15 shimmed queries in parallel.

Command: bench parallel

Custom builds

Custom builds for browsers are supported through a command-line utility.

The following features can be disabled
Feature(s) Command line identifier
.any and Promise.anyany
.race and Promise.racerace
.call and .getcall_get
.filter and Promise.filterfilter
.map and Promise.mapmap
.reduce and Promise.reducereduce
.props and Promise.propsprops
.settle and Promise.settlesettle
.some and Promise.somesome
.nodeifynodeify
Promise.coroutine and Promise.spawngenerators
Progressionprogress
Promisificationpromisify
Cancellationcancel
Timerstimers
Resource managementusing

Make sure you have cloned the repo somewhere and did npm install successfully.

After that you can run:

grunt build --features="core"

The above builds the most minimal build you can get. You can add more features separated by spaces from the above list:

grunt build --features="core filter map reduce"

The custom build file will be found from /js/browser/bluebird.js. It will have a comment that lists the disabled and enabled features.

Note that the build leaves the /js/main etc folders with same features so if you use the folder for node.js at the same time, don't forget to build a full version afterwards (after having taken a copy of the bluebird.js somewhere):

grunt build

For library authors

Building a library that depends on bluebird? You should know about a few features.

If your library needs to do something obtrusive like adding or modifying methods on the Promise prototype, uses long stack traces or uses a custom unhandled rejection handler then... that's totally ok as long as you don't use require("bluebird"). Instead you should create a file that creates an isolated copy. For example, creating a file called bluebird-extended.js that contains:

                //NOTE the function call right after
module.exports = require("bluebird/js/main/promise")();

Your library can then use var Promise = require("bluebird-extended"); and do whatever it wants with it. Then if the application or other library uses their own bluebird promises they will all play well together because of Promises/A+ thenable assimilation magic.

You should also know about .nodeify() which makes it easy to provide a dual callback/promise API.


What is the sync build?

You may now use sync build by:

var Promise = require("bluebird/zalgo");

The sync build is provided to see how forced asynchronity affects benchmarks. It should not be used in real code due to the implied hazards.

The normal async build gives Promises/A+ guarantees about asynchronous resolution of promises. Some people think this affects performance or just plain love their code having a possibility of stack overflow errors and non-deterministic behavior.

The sync build skips the async call trampoline completely, e.g code like:

async.invoke( this.fn, this, val );

Appears as this in the sync build:

this.fn(val);

This should pressure the CPU slightly less and thus the sync build should perform better. Indeed it does, but only marginally. The biggest performance boosts are from writing efficient Javascript, not from compromising determinism.

Note that while some benchmarks are waiting for the next event tick, the CPU is actually not in use during that time. So the resulting benchmark result is not completely accurate because on node.js you only care about how much the CPU is taxed. Any time spent on CPU is time the whole process (or server) is paralyzed. And it is not graceful like it would be with threads.

var cache = new Map(); //ES6 Map or DataStructures/Map or whatever...
function getResult(url) {
    var resolver = Promise.pending();
    if (cache.has(url)) {
        resolver.resolve(cache.get(url));
    }
    else {
        http.get(url, function(err, content) {
            if (err) resolver.reject(err);
            else {
                cache.set(url, content);
                resolver.resolve(content);
            }
        });
    }
    return resolver.promise;
}



//The result of console.log is truly random without async guarantees
function guessWhatItPrints( url ) {
    var i = 3;
    getResult(url).then(function(){
        i = 4;
    });
    console.log(i);
}

Optimization guide

Articles about optimization will be periodically posted in the wiki section, polishing edits are welcome.

A single cohesive guide compiled from the articles will probably be done eventually.

License

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2014 Petka Antonov

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

Resolving all dependencies.. This could take a while as our cache is not yet fully warmed up.