iterified
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1.2.4 • Public • Published

Iterified

Convert any callback-based sequence of values into a full-fledged async iterable


semantic-release

iterified converts any callback-style sequence of zero or more values into an async iterable equivalent. This lets you take advantage of all the language features and semantics of async iterables, such as playing well with async-await and for await...of looping, streamlined error handling with try-catch and encapsulatation of resource clean up - for any kind of an asynchronous value stream.

By being able to express any thing as an async iterable, it can further be supercharged using the growing number of available iterable utilities, such as iter-tools, IxJS, iter-ops and some more.

This concept of interface resembles and is inspired by the native Promise constructor syntax, as well as RxJS's plain Observable constructor.

Quick usage

import { iterified } from 'iterified';

const iter = iterified((next, done, error) => {
  // calling `next(...)` makes the iterable yield a value
  // calling `done()` makes the iterable end
  // calling `error(...)` makes the iterable error out
  someContinuousCallbackOperation((err, value, noMoreValues) => {
    if (err) {
      error(err);
    } else {
      next(value);
      if (noMoreValues) done();
    }
  });
});

// Consume like any typical async iterable:
(async () => {
  try {
    for await (const value of iter) {
      console.log(value);
    }
  } catch (err) {
    console.error(err);
  }
})();

Features

✔️ Light weight, zero run-time dependencies
✔️ Fully written in TypeScript, comprehensive high-quality typings built in
✔️ Provides both ESM and CommonJS builds
✔️ Compatible with both browser and Node.js environments
✔️ Semver compliant

Table of Contents

Installation

# With Yarn:
yarn add iterified

# With npm:
npm i iterified

# With pnpm:
pnpm i iterified

Can then be imported as follows:

// in `import` style (for ESM or most TypeScript-based project):
import { iterified } from 'iterified';

// or in `require` style (for a CommonJS based project):
const { iterified } = require('iterified');

Walkthrough

iterified, in a nutshell, transforms plain callback-style asynchronous JS programming into more powerful modern async iteration style JS programming.

Executor function

The user-provided executor function is passed to the main iterified function and is meant to express in a basic, most-typically - callback style, the sequence of values wished to be yielded at the other iterable end. It is injected with 3 function arguments that serve as the "internal controls" for the overlying iterable - next, done and error.

This type of encapsulation pattern is parallel to the familiar native Promise constructor syntax with its resolve and reject arguments, only that iterfied applies it to the realm of multi-item sequences, while promises apply it to the realm of a single resolved item:

// What this looks like in promises:

const promise = new Promise<string>((resolve, reject) => {
  // Do something and then call `resolve` or `reject`...
  // (cannot further call them again afterwards)
});

console.log('Resolved into:', await promise);

// Compared to what this looks like for async iterables with Iterified:

const iterable = iterified<string>((next, done, error) => {
  // Call `next` zero or more times to yield values.
  // May call `done` if/when there are no more values to yield.
  // May call `error` providing some error if something unexpected happens
  // (cannot make further calls to `next` after calling `done` or `error`)
});

for await (const value of iterable) {
  console.log('Received a value:', value);
}

Some iterifieds having very simple executor functions for illustration:

import { iterified } from 'iterified';

(async () => {
  const iter = iterified<string>((next, done) => {
    next('a');
    next('b');
    next('c');
    done();
  });

  for await (const value of iter) {
    console.log(value); // Logs "a", "b", "c" and then closes...
  }
})();

(async () => {
  const iter = iterified<string>((next, _, error) => {
    next('a');
    error(new Error('oh no...'));
  });

  for await (const value of iter) {
    console.log(value); // Logs "a" and then throws an error...
  }
})();

Lazily initialized

The provided executor function is lazily-handled; executing it is delayed up to the moment of pulling an initial value from some obtained iterator. This follows the native generator functions' familiar behavior (calling them only returns a generator instance and doesn't run any actual generator code until they're actually consumed).

import { iterified } from 'iterified';

const iterable = iterified<string>((next, done) => {
  console.log('executor initialized');

  setTimeout(() => {
    next('value');
    done();
  }, 1000);
});

(async () => {
  const iterator = iterable[Symbol.asyncIterator]();

  // Nothing logged here yet...

  const item = await iterator.next(); // "executor initialized" is logged only now

  console.log(item.value); // Logs the yielded "value"
})();

Specifying teardown logic

You can optionally specify any teardown/resource cleanup logic conveniently as part of the iterified iterable by just returning a function at the end of the executor. This is the appropriate place to close and dispose of any resources opened during the executor's lifetime and used to generate values from. This function may be asynchronous (return a promise).

If provided, the teardown function would always be triggered automatically when either of these takes place:

  • The iterified iterable is ended from inside (meaning initiated by the producer); by calling the done() or error(e) callbacks from within the executor function

  • The iterified iterable is ended from outside (meaning initiated by the consumer); by closing the last remaining active iterator (or for await...of loop)

Here's an example showing how either the consumer or the producer could initiate closure of the iterable as well as how a teardown function to handle this is provided:

import { iterified } from 'iterified';

(async () => {
  const wsMessages = iterified<string>((next, done) => {
    const ws = new WebSocket('ws://localhost:8080');
    ws.addEventListener('message', ev => {
      next(ev.data);
      if (shouldStopYieldingFurtherMessages()) {
        done();
      }
    });
    return () => ws.close(); // <-- To ensure the web socket will properly get closed on any event that our iterable would be disposed...
  });

  for await (const msg of wsMessages) {
    console.log(msg);
    if (hadEnoughMessages()) {
      break;
    }
  }

  // Once we've broken out of the loop reaching here the web socket connection got closed off automatically.
})();

Multicast iteration

The returned async iterable works as a "multicast" iterable, meaning that when obtaining multiple iterators of it (such as multiple for await...of loops) - each individual consumer would get the exact sequence of values as the other and thus can work independently and concurrently in a decoupled fashion - roughly resembling event emitters' typical behavior (like the web API's EventTarget).

Additional consuming iterators may safely be instantiated at any time point even after the executor function was kicked off - every such one would simply pick up values yielded from that time onwards.

import { iterified } from 'iterified';

const iterable = iterified<number>(next => {
  let count = 0;
  const intId = setInterval(() => next(count++), 1000);
  return () => clearInterval(intId);
});

(async () => {
  for await (const value of iterable) {
    console.log(value);
  }
})();

(async () => {
  for await (const value of iterable) {
    console.log(value);
  }
})();

// Both loops above are going to *each* print 1, 2, 3... and so on - at the same time

Buffering

Since an iterified instance is driven by the push-based nature of callbacks (inside the executor function), while talking to the surface as a pull-based async iterable - there could be situations where it produces values faster than a certain consumer's consumption (or pull) rate. This might happen when the consumer has to await some extra async operations for each value it iterates through. For these cases iterified intuitively backs up every unconsumed value until consumed - hence there's no concern for loss of values had any iterator happened to lag behind.

In the case of multiple "lagging" iterators, this feature does NOT incur multiplied memory cost - since internally the backed up values are all organized as one linked list that's shared across all iterators of a particular iterified, while each iterator is able to traverse over it in its own pace.

You may choose to avoid relying on filling up this backup buffer by not suspending the consuming loop on its iterations, effectively running its work concurrently (by e.g executing the work without awaiting it). In any case, since this package deals with converting callback-driven operations, we cannot escape their inherent un-regulatable nature. Therefore, there have to be a choice between either trading potentially-unrestrained buffering for potentially-unrestrained concurrency, or vice versa. Depending on the specific circumstance, each way might be optimal or less optimal. Event emitters for comparison, adhear only to the "concurrent" mode of operation when executing handlers.

Controlling an iterified outside of its construction

The executor function helps to contain all the logic for how to emit values, however there are legitimate cases where being able to "push" values into the iterified instance from a place outside its construction (read; executor function) is useful.

To address such use cases - there's another function exported named iterifiedUnwrapped and it acts like a more stripped-down version of the main iterified function; there is no concept of executor function nor its lazy initialization - instead, you get back an object with the next, done and error callbacks exposed as methods directly on it, along with an iterable property. This way, producers of values for this iterable could be distributed over to contexts and scopes completely unrelated to the scope where it was constructed.

Some possible application for this is to facilitate general-purpose channels of events, as illustrated here:

import { iterifiedUnwrapped } from 'iterified';

class MyTaskQueueRunner {
  #tasks: Task[] = [];
  #taskFailures = iterifiedUnwrapped<Error>();

  async start() {
    while (this.#tasks.length > 0) {
      try {
        await runNextTask();
      } catch (err) {
        this.#taskFailures.next(err);
      }
    }
  }

  get taskFailures() {
    return this.#taskFailures.iterable;
  }

  // ...
}

(async () => {
  const queue = new MyTaskQueueRunner();

  // *Do stuff and assign tasks to queue...*

  queue.start();

  for await (const taskError of queue.taskFailures) {
    console.error('Task just failed with error:', taskError);
  }
})();

** Refering to our analogies with promises again - you might be familiar with a classic pattern known in the ecosystem as "deferred" (soon to be standardized in ECMAScript as Promise.withResolvers at the time of writing). iterifiedUnwrapped has a pretty much the same rational, just applying that to async iterables instead of promises.

API

function iterified(executorFn)

Creates an iterified async iterable, yielding each value as it gets emitted from the user-provided executor function.

The user-provided executor function expresses the values to be emitted and encapsulates any logic and resource management that should be involved in generating them.

The user-provided executor function is invoked with the following arguments:

  • next(value) - makes the iterable yield value to all consuming iterators
  • done() - makes the iterable end, closing all consuming iterators
  • error(e) - makes the iterable error out with given e and end, propagating the error to every consuming iterator

In addition, the executor function may optionally return a teardown function for disposing of any state and open resources that have been used during execution.

The executor function will be "lazily" executed only upon pulling the first value from any iterator (or for await...of loop) of the iterified iterable. Any additional iterators obtained from that point on would all feed off of the same shared execution of the executor function - every value it yields will be distributed ("multicast") down to each active iterator, picking up from the time it was obtained. When the iterable is ended either by the producer (executor function calls done() or error(e)) or the consumer (last active iterator is closed) - it would trigger an optionally-given teardown function before finally closing off the iterified iterable. This life cycle repeats from the begining every time the iterified iterable gets reconsumed again.

import { iterified } from 'iterified';

// Iterable that emits "my_value" and ends immediately:
iterified<string>((next, done, error) => {
  next('my_value');
  done();
});

function iterifiedUnwrapped()

Returns an object with the means for producing and consuming values exposed as direct properties.

Acts like a "stripped down" version of the main iterified above. Does not receive an executor function. Can be seen essentially as a bare, general-purpose channel of events, however while still supporting multicasting and buffering just as the main iterified function.

Appeals to scenarios in which the scope that needs to push new values isn't decendant to the scope of construction, as is forced if using the main iterified.

Returns an object with the following structure:

  • .next(value) - makes the iterable yield value to all consuming iterators
  • .done() - makes the iterable end, closing all consuming iterators
  • .error(e) - makes the iterable error out with e and end, propagating the error to every consuming iterator
  • .iterable - the async iterable object, fed from the methods above

As opposed to the main iterified, which can implicitly initialize and uninitialize multiple times in response to how it's consumed - the object returned by iterifiedUnwrapped is single-use; once instructed to end (.done()) or error out (.error(e)) - it stays closed. If needing to signal an end as such but yet be able to continue delivering values, iterifiedUnwrapped() has to be called again, recreating a new object.

import { iterifiedUnwrapped } from 'iterified';

const iterifiedObj = iterifiedUnwrapped<{ color: string; }>();

iterifiedObj.next({ color: 'teal' });
iterifiedObj.next({ color: 'ikea-beige' });

iterifiedObj.done();

// Later, at a place possibly very distanced from the above:

(async () => {
  for await (const { color } of iterifiedObj.iterable) {
    console.log({ color }); // Logs "teal", "ikea-beige" and then breaks
  }
})();

Real-world examples for inspiration

Iterifying redis Pub/Sub subscriptions into async iterables:

import { iterified } from 'iterified';
import { createClient } from 'redis';

const redisClient = createClient(/* ... */);

function redisSubscribe(pattern: string): AsyncIterable<{
  channel: string;
  message: string
}> {
  return iterified(async next => {
    const listener = (message: string, channel: string): void => {
      next({ channel, message });
    };
    await redisSubscriber.pSubscribe(pattern, listener);
    return () => redisSubscriber.pUnsubscribe(pattern, listener);
  });
}

// Later used like so:

(async () => {
  for await (const { channel, message } of redisSubscribe('my-incoming-messages:*')) {
    console.log(channel, message)
  }
})();

Iterifying the EventSource web API into an async iterable:

function sseIterable(url: string, options?: EventSourceInit): AsyncIterable<string> {
  return iterified<string>((next, _, error) => {
    const eventSource = new EventSource(url, options);

    const messageListener = (event: MessageEvent<string>) => {
      next(event.data);
    };

    const errorListener = (event: Event) => {
      error(event);
    };

    // *Assuming* the downstream messages here would be labeled with a "message" type from server side
    eventSource.addEventListener('message', messageListener);
    eventSource.addEventListener('error', errorListener);

    return () => {
      eventSource.removeEventListener('message', messageListener);
      eventSource.removeEventListener('error', errorListener);
      eventSource.close();
    };
  });
}

// Later used like so:

(async () => {
  for await (const message of sseIterable('http://localhost:3000/my-messages')) {
    console.log(message);
  }
})();

License

MIT License

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