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Promise combinators explained

Promises added to ECMAScript 2015 specification gave us a new way of dealing with deferred computations. In “From callback hell through promises to async functions” I explained the differences between the common methods of dealing with asynchronous code. Today I would like to go through Promise combinators — static methods that take compound promises as an argument.

Promise

Prerequisite — basic promise states and methods

The then, catch, finally, resolve and reject methods should already feel comfortable by now but just in case you need a refresher, let’s have a quick glance at this simple example.

fetch("https://api.github.com/users/pawelgrzybek")
  .then(data => data.json())
  .then(dataJSON => console.log(dataJSON))
  .catch(error => console.error(error))
  .finally(() => console.log("Finally resolved / rejected! Uff!"));

Promise object like this can live in four distinguished states:

To orchestrate its lifecycle, promises are using a few methods from it’s prototype:

Of course all of these are much more complicated, but to comfortably grasp the concepts explained in the rest of this article this should be more than enough.

Four combinators

The Promise.all and Promise.race are part of a JavaScript since 2015. In 2020 Promise.allSettled joins the gang. Promise.any is nearly there (TBC).

Promise.all()

Use Promise.all when you want to check whether all promises fulfilled or if one of them rejected.

Promise.all([
  fetch("https://api.github.com/users/pawelgrzybek").then(data => data.json()),
  fetch("https://api.github.com/users/gabriel403").then(data => data.json())
])
  .then(data =>
    console.log(`Cool dudes are: ${data.map(dude => dude.name).join(" and ")}`)
  )
  .catch(error => console.error(error));

Promise.race()

Use Promise.race when you want to handle the first fulfilled promise or if one of them rejected.

Promise.race([
  fetch("https://api.github.com/users/pawelgrzybek").then(data => data.json()),
  fetch("https://api.github.com/users/danjordan").then(data => data.json())
])
  .then(data => console.log(`The winner is: ${data.name}`))
  .catch(error => console.error(error));

Promise.allSettled()

Use Promise.allSettled when you want to handle when all promises are settled regardless of the result (fulfilled or rejected). Look ma, no catch!

Promise.allSettled([
  fetch("https://api.github.com/users/pawelgrzybek").then(data => data.json()),
  fetch("https://api.github.com/users/danjordan").then(data => data.json())
])
  .then(result => console.log(`All settled`));

Promise.any()

Use Promise.any when you want to handle the first promise that fulfills. In contrast to Promise.race it doesn’t reject when one of the promises fail.

Promise.any([
  fetch("https://api.github.com/users/pawelgrzybek").then(data => data.json()),
  fetch("https://api.github.com/users/gabriel403").then(data => data.json())
])
  .then(result => console.log(`Cool dude is: ${result.name}`))
  .catch(error => console.error(error));

To recapitulate

Hopefully this article helped you out. This should help pull it all together for you.

Comparison table: Promise.all, Promise.race, Promise.allSettled and Promise.any

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