0.1.0 • Public • Published


An experiment that defines a state machine in terms of transitions.

Instead of defining states with enter/exit semantics, define what happens when states change, and if the state should change when asked.

This might be a horrible idea.


A hypothetical HTML page with a play/pause button.

var Machine = require('transit-authority');
var m = new Machine();
var $ = require('jquery'); // Not required, just for this example
var $document = $(document);
var $button = $('button#toggle');
var sound = new Audio('bawoosh.wav');
$document.on('click', '.paused' function(e) {
  // Just try to go to the state, we don't care if it succeeds or not.'playing');
$document.on('click', '.playing' function(e) {
  // Same here.'paused');
// Register a new transition.
m.transition('paused => loading', function(ctr) {
  if (sound.readyState < sound.HAVE_ENOUGH_DATA) {
    // Yep, we're actually loading. Accept the state.
    sound.addEventListener('canplaythrough', function canplay(e) {
      sound.removeEventListener('canplaythrough', canplay);'playing');
  } else {
    // Nope, do not accept the state and instead go to 'playing'.
// This transition has two possible origin points, paused or loading.
m.transition('paused, loading => playing', function(ctr) {
  if (sound.readyState >= sound.HAVE_ENOUGH_DATA) {
    $button.removeClass('loading paused');
  } else {
    ctr.halt('Audio is not loaded enough yet');'loading');
m.transition('playing => paused', function(ctr) {

More Examples

Check out the examples folder and the test coverage for more.


new TransitAuthority(options)

Options can include:

  • id: An identifier to allow this machine to have named debug output. Defaults to a random number.
  • initial: the initial state of the machine. If not defined, defaults to the exit state of the first defined transition.
  • transitions: an object containing transition keys and actions:
transitions: {
  'ready => loading': function(ctr) {}


Returns the current state as a string. The initial state is defined either by the constructor options or the first origin state defined:

var m = new TransitAuthority();
m.transition('what => who', function() {});
console.log(m.current() === 'what');
// true

.transition(namePair, action)

A namePair can be anything like:

  • origin => destination

And can also be expanded:

  • (current) => next
  • { current, another } => next
  • current, another => next
  • current,another => next, future
  • current,another => {next,future}

The only important aspects are that a => (fat arrow) separates the various origins and destinations, and that multiple origins/destinations are separated by commas.

An action is simply a function that accepts a single parameter, controller (shortened to ctl or ctr in examples). A controller gives a few things:

  • .fromState: the current origin state, or the state that the machine is transitioning from.
  • .toState: the state requested via .to that triggered/matched this transition.
  • .ok(): accept this transition, and move to the state defined as the destination state.
  • .halt(reason): reject this transition, and remain in the origin state. If a reason (instanceof Error) is provided it is passed along to the .to callback (if any) that originally requested the change. If no reason is given, a default error is created instead.
  • .to(newState, opt_callback): move to a new state from the current. If the transition has not be ok()ed or halt()ed prior to calling .to, then a warning is printed when debug output is enabled:
m.transition('ready => waiting', function(ctr) {'done');
// When triggered, the above would output:
// WARNING: transitioning waiting => done from within ready => waiting
// without acceptance (.ok) or halting (.halt) of waiting

.to(state, opt_callback)

Attempt a transition to the state. If the transition is not defined, a warning will be printed in debug mode, and an Error will be passed as the first argument of the callback.

It's ok to not define all possible transition pairs! The warnings are just for debugging purposes.

The opt_callback always receives an Error or null (in the absence of an error) as its first argument.


var m = new TransitAuthority();
m.transition('what => who', function(ctr) {
});'who', function(err) {
  if (err) throw err;
  // Do something else, transition was successful!

Debug Output

Debug output is provided by the debug package. To enable, simply set the debug value of localStorage (in a browser) or DEBUG (in node) to transit-authority:*.


Enable debug output for all instances:

// Browser
localStorage.debug = 'transit-authority:*';

// node
DEBUG='transit-authority:*' node myfile.js

Enable for a specific named instance:

var m = new TransitAuthority({ id: 'my-machine' });
// Browser
localStorage.debug = 'transit-authority:my-machine';

// node
DEBUG='transit-authority:my-machine' node myfile.js

Example output:

transit-authority:my-machine Parsed transitions start => loaded +0ms
transit-authority:my-machine Registered transition start => loaded +1ms
transit-authority:my-machine Setting initial state implicitely: start +0ms
transit-authority:my-machine Parsed transitions loaded => finished +2ms
transit-authority:my-machine Registered transition loaded => finished +1ms
transit-authority:my-machine Executing transition action start => loaded +0ms
transit-authority:my-machine Transition ok start => loaded +0ms
transit-authority:my-machine Attempting transition loaded => finished from within start => loaded +0ms
transit-authority:my-machine Executing transition action loaded => finished +0ms
transit-authority:my-machine Transition ok loaded => finished +0ms

Example of an undefined transition:


transit-authority:my-machine Error: Undefined transition requested: waiting => playing (undefined)
  at (/Users/drew/transit-authority/index.js:87:11)
  at (/Users/drew/transit-authority/examples/player.js:54:16)
  at Test._cb (/Users/drew/transit-authority/test/example.player.js:12:5)
  at (/Users/drew/transit-authority/node_modules/tape/lib/test.js:53:14)
  at [as _onImmediate] (/Users/drew/transit-authority/node_modules/tape/lib/results.js:31:15  at processImmediate [as _immediateCallback] (timers.js:330:15) +1ms

Tests and Coverage

$ npm install
$ npm test
$ npm run test-coverage

If you contribute, please ensure all tests pass and coverage is at 100%!






Package Sidebar


npm i transit-authority

Weekly Downloads






Last publish


  • kirbysayshi