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You Don't Know JS: Async & Performance by Kyle Simpson

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Chapter 3. Promises

In Chapter 2, we identified two major categories of deficiencies with using callbacks to express program asynchrony and manage concurrency: lack of sequentiality and lack of trustability. Now that we understand the problems more intimately, it’s time we turn our attention to patterns that can address them.

The issue we want to address first is the inversion of control, the trust that is so fragilely held and so easily lost.

Recall that we wrap up the continuation of our program in a callback function, and hand that callback over to another party (potentially even external code) and just cross our fingers that it will do the right thing with the invocation of the callback.

We do this because we want to say, “here’s what happens later, after the current step finishes.”

But what if we could uninvert that inversion of control? What if, instead of handing the continuation of our program to another party, we could expect it to return us a capability to know when its task finishes, and then our code could decide what to do next?

This paradigm is called Promises.

Promises are starting to take the JS world by storm, as developers and specification writers alike desperately seek to untangle the insanity of callback hell in their code/design. In fact, most new async APIs being added to the JS/DOM platform are being built on Promises. So it’s probably a good idea to dig in and learn them, don’t you think!?

Note

The word “immediately” is used frequently in this chapter, ...

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