View on GitHub


Composable Concurrency Abstractions for JavaScript.


Synchronous channels on top of Promises.

This submodule provides an implementation of synchronous message channels / concurrent queues among many partners. Consumers of this channel race in a non-deterministic way to receive messages (every sent message maps to a single consumer), so it allows the implementation of job workers in a master-slave style. Back-pressure is not needed ‘cause the producers synchronize with consumers to ensure that the message is delivered and received.

The channels here resemble the Go channels, with the major exception that the channels for this library are dinamically-typed, so they accept any sort of message. The back-end for this channel implementation is in-memory (so any failures implying in reboot and shutdown erase all the sent messages), but future plans include persistent queues using databases, message queues and sort of that.

API usage

To import the submodule:

const sporadicChannels = require('sporadic').channels

Note that the browser bundle at UNPKG doesn’t need that, ‘cause it already imports sporadic on global scope of page. In that case, you may prefer to use the qualified/full-name sporadic.channels. So, just replace the sporadicChannels by sporadic.channels in the examples below.

To create a fresh concurrent channel:

const channel = await

Sending a message into the channel:

const wasReceived = await sporadicChannels.send(channel, 'Hi, folks!')

The variable wasReceived is true whenever the other side of the channel (the consumer) read the message with success. Fails if the channel is not open (that is, close(channel) was called before).

Sent messages can expire if they’re not received in time. For that case, the following API was designed for that:

const wasReceived = await sporadicChannels.send(
  channel, 'Hi, folks!', expiration

Where expiration is a number in milliseconds (complies with setTimeout and setInterval timer functions), and if the message expires, wasReceived will immediately be false. The expiration argument, thus, is optional (the default behavior is to disable expiration for the given message). Expiration values lower than 1 are ignored. Fractional numbers are rounded down by Math.floor.

It’s possible to schedule a message to be sent on the future. So, if the expiration argument is passed, the total amount of time for the “was received” promise to be resolved will be such “delay-to-send” + expiration (ignoring the non-deterministic aspect of close(channel), clearly). The API to schedule the send(...) operation is:

const wasReceived = await sporadicChannels.sendAfter(
  delay, channel, 'Hi, folks!', expiration

Where delay is also a unit of milliseconds. The sendAfter(...) behavior is the same of send(...) (with the major exception of time scheduling), and the expiration argument is optional too. In other words, the following equation holds (somehow, ignoring details of JavaScript internals regarding the event loop):

send(channel, msg, expiration?) == sendAfter(0, channel, msg, expiration?)

Negative delays are ignored, and float delays are truncated by Math.floor.

Reading a sent message:

const message = await sporadicChannels.receive(channel)

This operation resolves to the sent message (the oldest one available), and, otherwise, if the queue is empty and the channel is closed, falls with an Error object message saying that the channel was closed.

‘Cause this operation blocks indefinitely, and sometimes it’s not desirable, an optional argument for a timeout feature is also provided. The API for that is:

const message = await sporadicChannels.receive(channel, timeout)

Where timeout is also an unit of milliseconds (for instance, 2000 means 2 seconds). Whenever the timeout is triggered, an Error is thrown in this promise (but an error different than the case of closed channels). The default case, when timeout is not passed as argument, is to disable the timeout for the current receive call.

To disable blocking, you can just pass a timeout of 0 (it will just check if there’s any available message on channel). Negative values are ignored. Rational/float numbers are rounded by Math.floor.

A counterpart of sendAfter exists too for the receive operation. It’s called receiveAfter, and the API resembles quite well the sendAfter (with delay being in milliseconds too):

const message = await sporadicChannels.receiveAfter(
  delay, channel, timeout

For the same cases of sendAfter, the delay here is rounded down by Math.floor and negative values are ignored. The timeout is optional as well. The total amount for the result promise to be resolved is delay + timeout (if provided), otherwise, it blocks indefinitely. This equation also holds (roughly speaking):

receive(channel, timeout?) == receiveAfter(0, channel, timeout?)

To close a channel:

const wasOpen = await sporadicChannels.close(channel)

This operation resolves to true on the first call, and false on further calls. The functional variable wasOpen is a boolean value, so.

To know when the channel will be closed, use:

const isClosed = await sporadicChannels.closed(channel)

This operation resolves to true whenever a previous close(channel) call was made, otherwise, the result promise of this operation will be still pending.

If you don’t like to type too much, you can import all the available operations with this submodule:

const {
  open, send, receive, close, closed,
  sendAfter, receiveAfter
} = require('sporadic').channels