txain
A simple module for async control flow
Last updated 4 years ago by gimenete .
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$ cnpm install txain 
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txain

A simple module for asynchronous control flow.

  • Use callback-based async functions in a promise-like way
  • Combine callback-based and promise-based functions in a natural way
  • Iterate and manipulate arrays asynchronously with: each, map, filter, reject, detect and concat
  • Debug the result and execution of async functions easily with .debug()

txain let's you organize your code like this:

  txain(function(callback) {
    someAsyncFunction('hello world', callback)
  })
  .then(function(a, b, c, callback) {
    // `a`, `b` and `c` are parameters returned by `someAsyncFunction`
    anotherAsyncFunction(a, b, callback)
  })
  .then(function(value, callback) {
    // you can ignore the `callback` and return a promise
    return promiseBasedFunction(value)
  })
  // if a function returns an array you can manipulate it
  .map(function(file, callback) {
    fs.readFile(file, callback)
  })
  .end(function(err, fileContents) {
    if (err) return console.log('err', err)
    // `fileContents` is an array with the content of all the files
    // returned by `promiseBasedFunction`
    console.dir(fileContents)
  })

How it works

  • When an error is passed to a callback or a promise fails then the end() function is called with that error and no more then() functions are called.
  • When all the then() functions are called then end() is called with a null error and the rest of arguments passed by the latest then() function.
  • txain automatically adjusts the number of arguments passed to the next function.
  • If you don't pass a function to the end() method it returns a promise.

A near-real-world example

var txain = require('txain')
var fs = require('fs')
var dns = require('dns')
var path = require('path')

txain(function(callback) {
  dns.lookup('google.com', callback)
})
.then(function(address, family, callback) {
  fs.writeFile(path.join(__dirname, 'address.txt'), address, callback)
})
.then(function(callback) {
  // more async functions
})
.end(function(err) {
  if (err) return console.log('Error: '+err)
  console.log('Done :)')
})

As you can see you can have many then() functions but you can handle all errors in the same place, and additionally your code doesn't start nesting.

The get/set functions

Sometimes you want to call a function directly in the chain but then you can lose parameters from previous functions. No problem, you can solve this with the set and get functions. For instance in the previous example we are missing the family variable in the following functions. This is how you can solve this:

var txain = require('txain')
var fs = require('fs')
var dns = require('dns')
var path = require('path')

txain(function(callback) {
  dns.lookup('google.com', callback)
})
.then(function(address, family, callback) {
  this.set('family', family)
  fs.writeFile(path.join(__dirname, 'address.txt'), address, callback)
})
.then(function(callback) {
  var family = this.get('family')
  console.log('family', 'IPv'+family)
  callback()
})
.end(function(err) {
  if (err) return console.log('Error: '+err)
  console.log('Done :)')
})

Iterating over collections

Like the well-known async module, txain also supports iterating over collections. You can use the each, map, reject, filter, detect and concat functions. All these functions expect that the previous function returns an array as first parameter. Then the array is iterated and the callback function passed to these functions is called for each item in the array.

The following is a real world example using reject and map. The following code gets a list of files in the current directory, then removes those files that are directories and then reads the content of all

var fs = require('fs')

function isDirectory(file, callback) {
  fs.stat(file, function(err, stat) {
    if (err) return callback(err)
    callback(null, stat.isDirectory())
  })
}

txain(function(callback) {
  fs.readdir(__dirname, callback)
})
.reject(isDirectory)
.map(fs.readFile)
.end(function(err, files) {
  if (err) return console.log('Error: '+err)
  console.log('Done', files)
})

Available functions:

  • each. Iterates all the items one by one. The next function won't receive additional arguments.
  • map. Iterates all the items one after the other and collects the first non-err argument in an array that is passed to the next function.
  • filter. Iterates all the items one after the other and collects those items that return a truly value in the callback function.
  • reject. Iterates all the items one after the other and collects those items that return a falsy value in the callback function.
  • detect. Iterates all the items one after the other stopping when an item returns a truly value in the callback function. That item is passed to the next function.
  • concat. The callback function is expected to return an array. This function then iterates all the items one after the other concatenating all the returned arrays and passing the result to the next function.

These functions also allow you to pass additional fixed arguments like for example:

txain(function(callback) {
  fs.readdir(__dirname, callback)
})
.reject(isDirectory)
.map(fs.readFile, 'utf8') // read as UTF-8
.end(function(err, files) {
  if (err) return console.log('Error: '+err)
  console.log('Done', files)
})

Those functions that require a boolean argument such as filter or reject, unlike the similar functions in the async module, require to pass two arguments to the callback function: err (if any) and the boolean value. So in txain you cannot use fs.exists directly like this .map(fs.exists).

Other ways of creating a txain

In all the examples you can see that you crate a txain with an initial function.

You can also create a txain passing a function with arguments like this:

txain(fs.readdir, __dirname)
.filter(isDirectory)
.end(function(err, directories) {
  if (err) return console.log('Error: '+err)
  console.log('Done', directories)
})

And you can also create a txain with any inital arguments like this:

txain(['foo.txt', 'bar.txt'])
.map(fs.readFile)
.end(function(err, files) {
  if (err) return console.log('Error: '+err)
  console.log('Done', files)
})

Combining this way of creating a taxin and the ability to return a promise on .end() if you don't pass any arguments you can create promises easily based on callback-based async functions like this.

var promise = txain(fs.readFile, __filename, 'utf8').end()

Utility functions

You can stop propagating arguments with the clean() function like this:

txain(['foo.txt', 'bar.txt'])
.map(fs.readFile)
.clean()
.end(function(err, files) {
  // here files is always undefined
})

You can print easily the arguments passed from one function to the next one adding a debug([message, [trace]]) call like this:

txain(['foo.txt', 'bar.txt'])
.map(fs.readFile)
.debug('An optional message', true)
.end(function(err, files) {
  // here files is always undefined
})

If trace is true then the message will be printed using console.trace() and with console.log() otherwise. The arguments are printed using console.dir()

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