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1.0.0 • Public • Published


This package implements a safe command-object based undo/redo system. It exports the { CommandHistory } constructor, as well as the associated { ICommand } interface and { CommandResult, CoalescenceResult } enums.

Undoable actions are represented by custom object types conforming to the ICommand interface:

interface ICommand {
    execute(): Promise<CommandResult>;
    redo(): Promise<void>;
    undo(): Promise<void>;
    coalesce?: (ncom: ICommand) => CoalescenceResult;
    isNoop(): boolean;
    description: string;
  • execute(): Promise<CommandResult> asynchronously performs the undoable action for the first time, and returns a result to the CommandHistory system indicating whether the action was a NOOP (in which case the command object will be discarded), an ADD (in which case the command object will be added to the undo stack), or a CLEAR (in which case the entire stack is cleared; this is useful for actions which are not undoable, and cannot be undone past, such as actions which alter remote server state).
  • redo(): Promise<void> asynchronously restores the effects of a previously-undone action. In many cases, this will simply be an alias for execute(), but caching may allow for some actions to be redone more efficiently than they can be done initially.
  • undo(): Promise<void> asynchronously undoes the effects of an action.
  • If implemented, coalesce(ncom: ICommand): CoalescenceResult allows multiple actions close in time to be coalesced into a single logical undoable action. It takes in a second ICommand object prior to execution, optionally updates internal state to account for the effects of the second object, and returns:
    • IMMISCIBLE to indicate that coalescence was impossible, and the second command should be executed independently.
    • COALESCED to indicate that the effects of the second command have been accounted for and it need not be executed independently.
    • UNDONE to indicate that the effects of the second command have been accounted for and they served to manually undo the effects of the current command; thus, the current command should be dropped from the history.
  • isNoop(): boolean indicates whether a command in its current state represents a no-op. This can change over time if an object is altered by coalescence, and thus a means of checking this state must be provided separately from the return value of execute().
  • description: string provides a user-facing description of the action for purposes of communicating the current state of the undo and redo histories.


CommandHistory instances have the following public API:

  • new CommandHistory({ cleanup = () => {}, coalescenceWindow = 3000, verbose = true })
    • cleanup specifies a function to be run automatically after every undo or redo; this is intended to allow, e.g., automatically refreshing UI state so that that logic need not be duplicated in every ICommand type.
    • coalescenceWindow specifies the number of milliseconds that must pass between two actions for them to be considered ineligible for coalescence.
    • verbose indicates whether or not the CommandHistory instance should print info messages to the console.
  • readonly undoCount indicates the current depth of the undo stack.
  • readonly redoCount indicates the current depth of the redo stack.
  • readonly undoDescription gets the description for the command at the top of the undo stack.
  • readonly redoDescription gets the description for the command at the top of the redo stack.
  • async undo(levels: number = 1) undoes levels commands starting at the top of the undo stack and moves them to the redo stack.
  • async redo(levels: number = 1) redoes levels commands starting at the top of the redo stack and moves them to the undo stack.
  • pop() removes a command from the undo stack without actually undoing it, or adding it to the redo stack; this can be used if, for example, a particular command cannot be safely undone because of changes to remote state, but earlier commands can still be undone without inducing inconsistency; however, this should not be used very often, as most of these cases can be handled by internal mechanisms in the undo-redo system.
  • clear() simply eliminates all entried from both the undo and redo stacks.
  • coalescenceBarrier() provides a means of manually preventing the last command from coalescing with later commands. Coalescence barriers are inserted automatically after calls to undo() or redo().
  • async execute<A extends any[], C extends ICommand>(ctor: new (...args: A) => C, ...args: A) forms the core of the command history service. This takes in a typename, or constructor, for a specific undoable command (an object conforming to the ICommand interface), followed by all of the arguments required by that constructor (if any). This method constructs a new ICommand object, queries the most recent earlier command to see if it can be coalesced, and, if not, executes it and adds it to the undo stack if it was not a no-op. By taking in a constructor argument and constructing ICommand objects internally rather than allowing pre-constructed ICommand objects to be passed it, the command history system ensures that no methods can be called or state altered on ICommand objects outside of the system, and thus protects against accidental data corruption that may result from, e.g., multiple commands having undo called concurrently or out-of-order.

undo(), redo(), pop(), clear(), and execute() are temporally exclusive; none of these methods can be called as long as the Promise returned by a prior call to undo(), redo(), or execute() has not yet resolved.


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