0.1.2 • Public • Published



    Copyright 2015 Nic Jansma

    Licensed under the MIT license


    Serially enumerating over a collection (such as using async.js's async.forEachSeries() in Node.js or jQuery's $.each() in the browser) can lead to performance and responsiveness issues if processing or looping through the collection takes too long. In some browsers, enumerating over a large number of elements (or doing a lot of work on each element) may cause the browser to become unresponsive, and possibly prompt the user to stop running the script.

    breakup.js helps solve this problem by breaking up the enumeration into time-based chunks, and yielding to the environment if a threshold of time has passed before continuing. This will help avoid a Long Running Script dialog in browsers as they are given a chance to update their UI. It is meant to be a simple, drop-in replacement for async.forEachSeries(). It also provides breakup.each() as a replacement for jQuery.each() (though the developer may have to modify code-flow to deal with the asynchronous nature of breakup.js).

    breakup.js does this by keeping track of how much time the enumeration has taken after processing each item. If the enumeration time has passed a threshold (the default is 50ms, but this can be customized), the enumeration will yield before resuming. Yielding can be done immediately in environments that support it (such as process.nextTick() in Node.js and setImmediate() in modern browsers), and will fallback to a setTimeout(..., 4) in older browsers. This yield will allow the environment to do any UI and other processing work it wants to do. In browsers, this will help reduce the chance of a Long Running Script dialog.

    breakup.js is primarily meant to be used in a browser environment, as Node.js code is already asynchronously driven. You won't see a Long Running Script dialog in Node.js. However, you're welcome to use the breakup Node.js module if you want have more control over how much time your enumerations take. For example, if you have thousands of items to enumerate and you want to process them lazily, you could set the threshold to 100ms with a 10000ms wait time and specify the forceYield parameter, so other work is prioritized.

    Changing async.forEachSeries() to breakup.forEachSeries() is as simple as changing the module name. You may add two additional parameters to fine-tune the wait time and yield time if you prefer (see Documentation for details).

    Changing jQuery.each() to breakup.each() requires a bit more work as you will need to change from waiting for the function to return to waiting for a callback to fire. See the breakup.each() for details.


    Releases are available for download from GitHub.

    Development: breakup.js - 8.1kb

    Production: breakup.min.js - 829b (minified / gzipped)

    breakup.js is also available as the npm breakup module. You can install using Node Package Manager (npm):

    npm install breakup

    breakup.js is also available via bower. You can install using:

    bower install breakup.js

    Node.js / async.js

    breakup.js can be used as a drop-in replacement for the async.forEachSeries() function in the async.js Node.js module (which can also be used in browsers).

    For example, instead of using async.forEachSeries():

    var async = require('async');
    async.forEachSeries(objs, function(i, item, callback) {}, function(err) {});

    You can use breakup.js's version:

    var breakup = require('breakup');
    breakup.forEachSeries(objs, function(i, item, callback) {}, function(err) {});

    Additional parameters are available for breakup.forEachSeries() to control the yielding behavior, see the Documentation for details.

    In The Browser

    To use any of the breakup.js functions, simply add a <script> tag:

    <script type="text/javascript" src="breakup.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript">
        breakup.forEachSeries(data, iterateFn, function(err){
            // done


    breakup.js can be used as a replacement for jQuery's jQuery.each() as breakup.each(), or as a replacement for the jQuery selector jQuery(selector).each() as jQuery(selector).breakup().

    However, breakup.js may require some changes to existing jQuery code so it will know how to handle the asynchronous nature of breakup.js. For example, when you're using jQuery.each(), the operation will block until the enumeration is complete. Since breakup.js relies on callback events so it can yield to the browser, existing jQuery code will need to pass in a callback-complete function parameter so it knows when the enumeration has completed. If you don't do this, the code that follows may break on the assumption that all of the enumeration in jQuery.each() has completed. Essentially, you will need to change your code to handle callback-driven flow control.

    In addition, this type of change may require you to change any code calling the function that the original jQuery.each() call was in if it returned a value that depended on that work, as the new breakup.each()'s callback-complete function is what will drive the new code flow. If you need the return value of a function that is calling jQuery.each() you will have to have breakup.each()'s callback-complete fire a new callback with the return values instead of simply returning it in the original function call.

    An example may help illustrate this better. You may be using jQuery.each() like this:

    function doIteration() {
        var a = [];
            function(i, item) { a.push(item.something()); });
        return a.length;
    var b = doIteration();
    // 'b' has your work

    Here's how you should adjust the above code for breakup.each():

    1. Change jQuery.each() (or $.each()) to breakup.each()
    2. Add a third parameter to breakup.each(), which is the callback-complete function
    3. Wrap any subsequent code that depended on work done in $.each() into your new callback-complete function (eg return a.length above)
    4. Change any callers of this code to take a new completion callback instead of a return value


    function doIteration(callback) {
        var a = [];
            function(i, item)  { a.push(item.something()); },
            function(err) {
    doIteration(function(b) {
        // 'b' has your work
        // the code calling this might need to be changed to be callback-driven as well


    ### forEachSeries(arr, iterator, callback, workTime, yieldTime, forceYield)

    This function should be a drop-in replacement for async.forEachSeries().

    Applies an iterator function to each item in an array, in series. The iterator is called with an item from the list and a callback for when it has finished. If the iterator passes an error to this callback, the main callback for the forEachSeries function is immediately called with the error.



    // Node.js
    var breakup = require('breakup');
    var arr = [];
        function(item, callback) {
        function(err) {

    You may set the yieldTime and forceYield parameters in a Node.js environment to force a yield of the specified time instead of using Node's process.nextTick().

    ### each(arr, iterator, callback, workTime, yieldTime, forceYield)

    This function is meant to be a replacement for jQuery.each() or jQuery(selector).each().

    jQuery.each() can be replaced by breakup.each() (per NOTE below).

    If jQuery is defined before breakup.js is included, jQuery will also be extended by adding the jQuery(selector).breakup() function.

    each() applies an iterator function to each item in an array, in series. The iterator is called with the item's index, the item, and a callback for when it has finished. If the iterator passes an error to this callback, the main callback for the each function is immediately called with the error.


    • arr - An array to iterate over.
    • iterator(index, item, callback) - A function to apply to each item in the array. The iterator is passed a callback(err) which must be called once it has completed. If no error has occured, the callback should be run without arguments or with an explicit null argument.
    • callback(err) - A callback which is called after all the iterator functions have finished, or an error has occurred.
    • workTime - Work for this many milliseconds before yielding (optional, defaults to breakup.DEFAULT_WORK_TIME).
    • yieldTime - Time (in milliseconds) to delay during yielding, if setImmediate is not available (optional, defaults to breakup.DEFAULT_YIELD_TIME).
    • forceYield - Force yielding for the specified milliseconds instead of setImmediate/nextTick (optional).


    var arr = [];
        function(index, item, callback) {
        function(err) {
    // OR
        function(index, item, callback) {
        function(err) {
    **NOTE**: The difference between `breakup.forEachSeries()` and `breakup.each()` is the iterator signature: `forEachSeries()` iterates with `function(item, callback)` and requires the callback to indicate work is done. This matches the `async.forEachSeries()` signature. On the other hand, `each()` matches the jQuery signature by using the iterator `function(index, item, callback)`, and waiting on the return of the function to move to the next item. If you need to switch from `jQuery.each()` to `breakup.forEachSeries()`, you will need to change the signature, and thus your code flow, to handle the callback instead of the function return.


    Default for how many milliseconds to enumerate for prior to yielding.

    By default, this value is set to 50 (ms).

    If not specified as the fourth parameter of forEachSeries() or each(), this value will be used.

    You may overwrite this value to change the global default.

    This will be a best-case scenario. If a single item takes longer than the DEFAULT_WORK_TIME to process, the yield won't occur until after that item fires its callback. In other words, enumeration won't yield mid-item: the time-check is performed only at each item's callback.


    How much time to yield for if process.nextTick() or setImmediate() is not available.

    By default, this value is set to 4 (ms).

    If not specified as the fifth parameter of forEachSeries() or each(), this value will be used.

    You may overwrite this value to change the global default.


    Changes the value of breakup back to its original value, returning a reference to the breakup object.


    Tests are located under the test/ directory.

    You can run them in three ways:

    1. Via test/index.html in your browser
    2. Via grunt mochaTest, which runs the tests using Mocha in the NodeJS console
    3. Via grunt karma, which runs the tests using Mocha/Karma in a headless PhantomJS instance

    grunt test runs #2 and #3.

    Version History

    • v0.1.0 - 2013-02-11 Initial version
    • v0.1.1 - 2013-02-11 Added forceYield parameter
    • v0.1.2 - 2015-02-08 Added forceYield parameter


    This module (and documentation, tests, etc) were inspired by caolan's async.js module.




    npm i breakup

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