@cdellacqua/signals
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5.0.4 • Public • Published

@cdellacqua/signals

A simple signal pattern implementation that enables reactive programming.

Signals are event emitters with specific purposes. For example:

button.addEventListener('click', () => console.log('click'));
input.addEventListener('change', (e) => console.log(e));

...could be rewritten with signals as:

button.clicked.subscribe(() => console.log('click'));
input.changed.subscribe((e) => console.log(e));

NPM Package

npm install @cdellacqua/signals

Documentation

Migrating to V5

TL;DR: replace nOfSubscriptions to nOfSubscriptions().

The only major change is the refactoring of nOfSubscriptions. Up until V4 it was a getter property, in V5 it's a function.

This change is meant to prevent common pitfalls that occur when composing signals in custom objects. As an example, when using {...signal$, myCustomExtension() { /* my code */ } }, the object spread syntax would previously capture the current value returned by the getter, making the field a regular object property that couldn't update on its own. It's now possible to use the spread syntax, because it will capture the function instead of the current value.

A positive side effect of this change is the reduced number of function calls necessary to reach the value hidden behind the getter (i.e. nOfSubscriptions doesn't need to be redefined as a getter in every composite object, it just needs to be a reference to the original function).

Highlights

Signal<T> provides methods such as:

  • emit(value), to emit a value to all subscribers;
  • subscribe(subscriber), to attach subscribers;
  • subscribeOnce(subscriber), to attach subscribers for a single emit call.

When you subscribe to a signal, you get a unsubscribe function, e.g.:

import {makeSignal} from '@cdellacqua/signals';

const signal$ = makeSignal<number>();
const unsubscribe = signal$.subscribe((v) => console.log(v));
signal$.emit(3.14); // will trigger console.log, printing 3.14
unsubscribe();
signal$.emit(42); // won't do anything

The above code can be rewritten with subscribeOnce:

import {makeSignal} from '@cdellacqua/signals';

const signal$ = makeSignal<number>();
signal$.subscribeOnce((v) => console.log(v));
signal$.emit(3.14); // will trigger console.log, printing 3.14
signal$.emit(42); // won't do anything

Signal<T> also contains a getter (nOfSubscriptions) that lets you know how many active subscriptions are active at a given moment (this could be useful if you are trying to optimize your code).

import {makeSignal} from '@cdellacqua/signals';

const signal$ = makeSignal<number>();
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 0
const unsubscribe = signal$.subscribe(() => undefined); // empty subscriber
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 1
unsubscribe();
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 0

A nice feature of Signal<T> is that it deduplicates subscribers, that is you can't accidentally add the same function more than once to the same signal (just like the DOM addEventListener method):

import {makeSignal} from '@cdellacqua/signals';

const signal$ = makeSignal<number>();
const subscriber = (v: number) => console.log(v);
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 0
const unsubscribe1 = signal$.subscribe(subscriber);
const unsubscribe2 = signal$.subscribe(subscriber);
const unsubscribe3 = signal$.subscribe(subscriber);
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 1
unsubscribe3(); // will remove "subscriber"
unsubscribe2(); // won't do anything, "subscriber" has already been removed
unsubscribe1(); // won't do anything, "subscriber" has already been removed
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 0

If you ever needed to add the same function more than once you can still achieve that by simply wrapping it inside an arrow function:

import {makeSignal} from '@cdellacqua/signals';

const signal$ = makeSignal<number>();
const subscriber = (v: number) => console.log(v);
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 0
const unsubscribe1 = signal$.subscribe(subscriber);
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 1
const unsubscribe2 = signal$.subscribe((v) => subscriber(v));
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 2
unsubscribe2();
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 1
unsubscribe1();
console.log(signal$.nOfSubscriptions()); // 0

You can also have a signal that just triggers its subscribers without passing any data:

import {makeSignal} from '@cdellacqua/signals';

const signal$ = makeSignal<void>();
signal$.emit();

Coalescing and deriving signals

Coalescing

Coalescing multiple signals into one consists of creating a new signal that will emit the latest value emitted by any source signal.

Example:

import {makeSignal, coalesceSignals} from '@cdellacqua/signals';

const lastUpdate1$ = makeSignal<number>();
const lastUpdate2$ = makeSignal<number>();
const latestUpdate$ = coalesceSignals([lastUpdate1$, lastUpdate2$]);
latestUpdate$.subscribe((v) => console.log(v));
lastUpdate1$.emit(1577923200000); // will log 1577923200000
lastUpdate2$.emit(1653230659450); // will log 1653230659450

Deriving

Deriving a signal consists of creating a new signal that emits a value mapped from the source signal.

Example:

import {makeSignal, deriveSignal} from '@cdellacqua/signals';

const signal$ = makeSignal<number>();
const derived$ = deriveSignal(signal$, (n) => n + 100);
derived$.subscribe((v) => console.log(v));
signal$.emit(3); // will trigger console.log, echoing 103

Readonly signal

When you coalesce or derive a signal, you get back a ReadonlySignal<T>. This type lacks the emit method.

A Signal<T> is in fact an extension of a ReadonlySignal<T> that adds the emit method.

As a rule of thumb, it is preferable to pass around ReadonlySignal<T>s, to better encapsulate your signals and prevent unwanted emits.

Adding behaviour

If you need to encapsulate behaviour in a custom signal, you can simply destructure a regular signal and add your custom methods to the already existing ones.

Example:

import {makeSignal} from '@cdellacqua/signals';

const sleep = (ms: number) => new Promise<void>((res) => setTimeout(res, ms));

function makeCountdown(from: number): ReadonlySignal<number> & {run(): Promise<void>} {
	const {subscribe, subscribeOnce, emit, nOfSubscriptions} = makeSignal<number>();
	return {
		subscribe,
		subscribeOnce,
		nOfSubscriptions,
		async run() {
			emit(from);
			for (let i = from - 1; i >= 0; i--) {
				await sleep(1000);
				emit(i);
			}
		},
	};
}

const countdown$ = makeCountdown(5);
countdown$.subscribe(console.log);
countdown$.run().then(() => console.log('launch!')); // will trigger the above console.log 6 times, printing the numbers from 5 to 0.

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npm i @cdellacqua/signals

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Version

5.0.4

License

MIT

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Collaborators

  • cdellacqua