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Promise javascript examples

Promises are becom­ing a fun­da­men­tal part of javascript. Hence, it is nec­es­sary to under­stand promises thor­oughly. When I was learn­ing promises, I could not find many exam­ples which I could run in the browser’s con­sole. The aim of this arti­cle is to

  • Pro­vide sim­ple exam­ples which you can run in your browser’s console
  • Demon­strate the flow of promise execution

Before we jump into the exam­ples, let’s quickly review the basics of promises.

3 states of a promise

A Promise will always be in one of three states:

  • pend­ing: This is the ini­tial state when it is just created.
  • ful­filled: This indi­cates that the oper­a­tion that the promised wrapped com­pleted successfully
  • rejected: This indi­cates that the oper­a­tion that the promise wrapped had failed

If a promise is resolved/fulfilled the suc­cess call­back will be called and if it’s rejected, the fail­ure call­back will be called. If you are curi­ous about how call­backs work read this arti­cle.

Now let’s under­stand what hap­pens when promises get resolved or rejected.

We will sim­u­late a resolved promise using the Promise.resolve() and Promise.reject() method. It can be replace with asyn­chro­nous operation.

If the promise has already been ful­filled or rejected when a cor­re­spond­ing han­dler is attached, the han­dler will be called, so there is no race con­di­tion between an asyn­chro­nous oper­a­tion com­plet­ing and its han­dlers being attached.

As the Promise.prototype.then() and Promise.prototype.catch() meth­ods return promises, they can be chained—an oper­a­tion called composition.


Exam­ples of Promise.resolve() with return statements.

Promise.resolve() returns Promise object that is resolved with the given value. Promise.reject() returns a Promise object that is rejected with the given reason.

That was pretty straight­for­ward. But promises also sup­port chain­ing. You can pass a value to the next func­tion in the promise chain using return state­ments. This is prob­a­bly how you will find your­self using promises a lot in your own projects.

Things become a lit­tle more inter­est­ing when you return promises from within promises.

In the above case, the inner promise of the first then block must get resolved before the suc­cess han­dler of the last then block can execute.


Repeat the sim­i­lar exer­cise for Promise.reject() call­back flows. I would encour­age you to try the exer­cise with Promise.reject() on your own and observe the behav­ior and come back to this arti­cle to com­pare your exercise.

When a promise is rejected and there is no error han­dler, none of the con­sec­u­tive suc­cess han­dlers in the chain are invoked until a fail­ure han­dler is encountered.

Here’s another exam­ple where you just have a catch func­tion at the end of the chain. This behaves very sim­i­lar to a finally clause.

Once a promise fail­ure is han­dled, sub­se­quence items in the chain can pro­ceed as nor­mal. For example

Spe­cial Case

In the exam­ples above, you’ve seen that when you return some­thing from within a then block, the next suc­cess han­dler receives that value. There is only one spe­cial case under which this fact does not hold true, and that is when the argu­ment to then is null. In such cases, the first then block in the promise chain that has a func­tion as a han­dler receives the value.

Nor­mally, this is what happens

But when you inter­leave then’s with null call­backs, the behav­iour changes slightly

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