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9.0.0 • Public • Published

Scheduled, asynchronous JSON fetching for Node.js applications. Background;


npm install ft-poller


You can create an instance of Poller like so,

var Poller = require('ft-poller');
var p = new Poller(config);

Where config is an object with the following properties

  • url [required]: Url to fetch data from
  • defaultData [recommended]: Data to return if the poller is yet to make a successful request. Typically this will be an empty object of the same type/structure as a successful response e.g. if a successful response would give you an array of users then set defaultData: []
  • options [optional]: options object to pass to isomorphic-fetch. If options is not defined or doesn't contain a timeout property, request timeout will be set to 4000ms by default. If retry is specified then n-eager-fetch is used to send the request instead of fetch
  • refreshInterval [default: 60000]: Number of milliseconds to wait between request for data
  • autostart [default: false]: Whether to start the poller automatically when the instance is created
  • parseData [optional]: function to post-process the data returned by the request. Should return the post-processed data e.g
parseData: function (data) {
    return data.rows;

parseData can be any function you like and there's nothing to stop you using it to mutate any other variables in scope.


  • start() - Starts the poller. If passed an object { initialRequest: true } it will send its first request immediately, otherwise it will wait until config.refreshInterval milliseconds. Returns a promise for the result of the first request (if initialRequest is true), or an empty resolved Promise otherwise

  • stop() - Stops polling

  • getData() - Returns the last set of data retrieved from the server (post-processed if parseData function exists). This will throw an HttpError if the most recent fetch received an error.


  • error - emits an error whenever a request returns with an error
  • ok - emits the response whenever a request returns successfully


The classic request cycle for a web application follows a call from a client to the server, which in turn makes one or more further requests to some underlying service(s).

                                +---> Web service 1 --> Data
Client ---> Presentation tier --|---> Web service 2 --> Data
                                +---> Web service 3 --> Data

Once the data has been retrieved the response makes its way back through the various layers to the client.

This causes two problems.

Firstly, your response is dependent on the slowest service to respond. If every request is hanging around waiting for 'the slow one' your performance is pegged to the worst performing part of your application.

Secondly, by far the slowest thing in this type of architecture is the round-trip between the presentation tier and the service(s). The more of these open connections you have hanging around, waiting to close, the greater the burden you place on your server.


Often though, and this is especially true of News sites, the data doesn't change radically from second to second so this round trip is wasted effort.

It's much more efficient for each presentation tier server to periodically fetch the data it needs (or listen for a message to signal when new content is available), stash it in memory, then use that to service any incoming requests.

This suits a microservice architecture, where many discrete modules, APIs etc. need to be assembled by a presentation tier before being rendered out to the client (as HTML, JSON etc.).

This pattern (of asynchronous fetching) allows the presentation tier to focus on building a response from existing data (in memory) and sending it back out the front door as quickly as possible.




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