Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

I dont find that promises really help callback hell that much, they are useful but in the case of doing a series of sequential async functions the result is pretty similiar (the promises version is usually longer)

I got to write some firefox only code recently and added a delay to a function by just adding

   ... some code 
   setTimeout(continueFun, 5000)
   ... more code
it felt like magic, I dont like generators and would much prefer to see message passing and blocking calls like erlang, but failing that it will be nice to be able to use generators more regularly

Promises are not an alternative to callbacks - they are a wrapper around them that make working with them much nicer (though still a little painful as you imply). They add composability which I think has wider implications than many realize at first.

Consider that with things like jQuery deferreds I can start a request in one function and pass it around adding handlers in others...something very hard to do with the old CB model. Maybe later on you have some optional action that you only want to occur if a previous action had completed. This sort of thing is easy with deferreds. It makes bundling together disparate actions easier as well as handling series of things as you mention.

Having an abstraction layer in there also has a lot of potential that is (somewhat) untapped. There is a lot of possibility for library authors to add excellent error handling or debugging capabilities in there - things that are currently a bit painful with POC (plain 'ol callbacks).

I agree generators have strong possibilities in this area- I would note thought that they are not an alternative to promises - the two are orthogonal, and in fact they work quite well together. Just take a look at what some other Mozilla folks are doing with http://taskjs.org/ for example.

I made a library called async.js (https://github.com/eligrey/async.js) that makes it even easier to abstract away all callbacks with yields, so all you'd have to do is yield to.sleep(5); continueFun(); for your example.

More complex things are also easy to do as well, such as implementing a node.next(event) method, so you can simply do var click = yield document.next("click"); instead of the whole event listener shebang. The feedback example (https://github.com/eligrey/async.js#asking-the-user-for-thei...) shows how much of a difference using yield can be versus callbacks or even promises.

By the way, it is absolutely possible to implement a message passing style on top of generators instead of some random ad hoc resumption policy. Check it out:


The only caveat is that you do have to write "yield receive('pattern')" instead of just "receive('pattern')".

Why don't you like generators?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact