The Greatness of Async/Await in Node.js

I’ve been exploring async/await in Node.js 8. This new feature is totally wicked. It could change our promise-based code becomes cleaner and more readable. Let’s see how it works.

Try with simple promise


// a promise function
const sayHello = (msg) => new Promise((resolve, reject) => resolve(`Hello ${msg}`));

// Promise version
function greeting(name) {
  sayHello(name).then(msg => console.log(msg));
}
greeting('thomas'); // output "Hello thomas"

Compare with async/await


// Async/await version
async function greetingV2(name) {
  const msg = await sayHello(name); // assign the response to msg
  console.log(msg);
}

greetingV2('thomas');

As you can see in async/await version, instead of using then to get the message, we can just use an assignment.

More About Async

Noted that async function returns a promise.


async function getData(url) {
  return url;
}
console.log(getData('google.com'))
getData('facebook.com').then(console.log);

// Promise { 'google.com' }
// facebook.com

And we use same way to handle error for async as in promise


async function getDataError(url) {
  throw new Error(`${url} is not exist`);
}

getDataError('google.com').catch(err => console.log(err.message));

// google.com is not exist

Let’s see how we construct async using function declaration


const getNumber = async () => 456;
console.log(getNumber())

// Promise { 456 }

More About Await

For async function that has await expression, it will pause the function execution until the promise from await is resolved/rejected. Remember that await can only be defined in async function. Otherwise, you will encounter an error.

Await must be defined in async function.

We can define one or multiple await in async function.


const sayHello = (msg) => new Promise((resolve, reject) => resolve(`Hello ${msg}`));
const sayGoodbye = (msg) => new Promise((resolve, reject) => resolve(`Goodbye ${msg}`));

async function greetings() {
  const hello = await sayHello('robert');
  const goodbye = await sayGoodbye('robert');

  console.log(hello, goodbye);
}

greetings();

// Hello robert Goodbye robert

Catch Error

In promise based code, we usually catch error with catch expression like following:


const rejectedPromise = new Promise((res, rej) => rej(new Error('some error')));
rejectedPromise().catch(err => console.log(err.message));

when we use await expression, we must use try catch expression, for example


try {
  const response = await rejectedPromise();
} catch (err) {
  console.log(err.message);
}

Promise All

We can combine await with promise.all like the following code:


const getFirstNumber = async () => 123;
const getSecondNumber = async () => 456;

const printNumbers = async () => {
  const numbers = await Promise.all([getFirstNumber(), getSecondNumber()]);
  console.log(numbers);
}

printNumbers();

// [ 123, 456 ]

Loop and Iteration

Await can be used inside the loop


const counter = (number) => new Promise((resolve, reject) => resolve(`count ${number}`));

async function sayHelloToAll() {
  for (let i = 0; i < 3; i++) {
    const countMsg = await counter(i);
    console.log(countMsg);
  }
}
sayHelloToAll();

// count 0
// count 1
// count 2

If we use map, we can also use await.


async function sayHelloToAllMap() {
  return [0, 1, 2].map(async (number) => {
    const countMsg = await counter(number);
    console.log(countMsg);
  });
}

sayHelloToAllMap();

// count 0
// count 1
// count 2

See that we specify async inside map

  • haryanto_wang

    Hey, very nice breakdown for Async / Await.