co

generator async flow control goodness

npm install co
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Co

Build Status

Generator based flow-control goodness for nodejs (and soon the browser), using thunks or promises, letting you write non-blocking code in a nice-ish way.

Currently you must use the --harmony-generators flag when running node 0.11.x to get access to generators. Or use gnode to spawn your node instance. However note that performance degrades quickly compared to 0.11.x.

Co is careful to relay any errors that occur back to the generator, including those within the thunk, or from the thunk's callback. "Uncaught" exceptions in the generator are passed to co()'s thunk.

Make sure to view the examples.

Installation

$ npm install co

Associated libraries

View the wiki for libraries that work well with Co.

Example

var co = require('co');
var thunkify = require('thunkify');
var request = require('request');
var get = thunkify(request.get);

co(function *(){
  var a = yield get('http://google.com');
  var b = yield get('http://yahoo.com');
  var c = yield get('http://cloudup.com');
  console.log(a.status);
  console.log(b.status);
  console.log(c.status);
})()

co(function *(){
  var a = get('http://google.com');
  var b = get('http://yahoo.com');
  var c = get('http://cloudup.com');
  var res = yield [a, b, c];
  console.log(res);
})()

Yieldables

The "yieldable" objects currently supported are:

  • promises
  • thunks (functions)
  • array (parallel execution)
  • objects (parallel execution)
  • generators (delegation)
  • generator functions (delegation)

To convert a regular node function that accepts a callback into one which returns a thunk you may want to use thunkify or similar.

Thunks vs promises

While co supports promises, you may return "thunks" from your functions, which otherwise behaves just like the traditional node-style callback with a signature of: (err, result).

For example take fs.readFile, we all know the signature is:

fs.readFile(path, encoding, function(err, result){

});

To work with Co we need a function to return another function of the same signature:

fs.readFile(path, encoding)(function(err, result){

});

Which basically looks like this:

function read(path, encoding) {
  return function(cb){
    fs.readFile(path, encoding, cb);
  }
}

Receiver propagation

When co is invoked with a receiver it will propagate to most yieldables, allowing you to alter this.

var ctx = {};

function foo() {
  assert(this == ctx);
}

co(function *(){
  assert(this == ctx);
  yield foo;
}).call(ctx)

You also pass arguments through the generator:

co(function *(a){
  assert(this == ctx);
  assert('yay' == a);
  yield foo;
}).call(ctx, 'yay');

API

co(fn)

Pass a generator fn and return a thunk. The thunk's signature is (err, result), where result is the value passed to the return statement.

var co = require('co');
var fs = require('fs');

function read(file) {
  return function(fn){
    fs.readFile(file, 'utf8', fn);
  }
}

co(function *(){
  var a = yield read('.gitignore');
  var b = yield read('Makefile');
  var c = yield read('package.json');
  return [a, b, c];
})()

You may also yield Generator objects to support nesting:

var co = require('co');
var fs = require('fs');

function size(file) {
  return function(fn){
    fs.stat(file, function(err, stat){
      if (err) return fn(err);
      fn(null, stat.size);
    });
  }
}

function *foo(){
  var a = yield size('.gitignore');
  var b = yield size('Makefile');
  var c = yield size('package.json');
  return [a, b, c];
}

function *bar(){
  var a = yield size('examples/parallel.js');
  var b = yield size('examples/nested.js');
  var c = yield size('examples/simple.js');
  return [a, b, c];
}

co(function *(){
  var a = yield foo();
  var b = yield bar();
  console.log(a);
  console.log(b);
})()

Or if the generator functions do not require arguments, simply yield the function:

var thunkify = require('thunkify');
var request = require('superagent');

var get = thunkify(request.get);

function *results() {
  var a = yield get('http://google.com')
  var b = yield get('http://yahoo.com')
  var c = yield get('http://ign.com')
  return [a.status, b.status, c.status]
}

co(function *(){
  // 3 concurrent requests at a time
  var a = yield results;
  var b = yield results;
  var c = yield results;
  console.log(a, b, c);

  // 9 concurrent requests
  console.log(yield [results, results, results]);
})()

If a thunk is written to execute immediately you may acheive parallelism by simply yield-ing after the call. The following are equivalent since each call kicks off execution immediately:

co(function *(){
  var a = size('package.json');
  var b = size('Readme.md');
  var c = size('Makefile');

  return [yield a, yield b, yield c];
})()

Or:

co(function *(){
  var a = size('package.json');
  var b = size('Readme.md');
  var c = size('Makefile');

  return yield [a, b, c];
})()

You can also pass arguments into the generator. The last argument, done, is the callback function. Here's an example:

var exec = require('co-exec');
co(function *(cmd) {
  var res = yield exec(cmd);
  return res;
})('pwd', done);

yield array

By yielding an array of thunks you may "join" them all into a single thunk which executes them all concurrently, instead of in sequence. Note that the resulting array ordering is retained.


var co = require('co');
var fs = require('fs');

function size(file) {
  return function(fn){
    fs.stat(file, function(err, stat){
      if (err) return fn(err);
      fn(null, stat.size);
    });
  }
}

co(function *(){
  var a = size('.gitignore');
  var b = size('index.js');
  var c = size('Makefile');
  var res = yield [a, b, c];
  console.log(res);
  // => [ 13, 1687, 129 ]
})()

Nested arrays may also be expressed as simple nested arrays:

var a = [
  get('http://google.com'),
  get('http://yahoo.com'),
  get('http://ign.com')
];

var b = [
  get('http://google.com'),
  get('http://yahoo.com'),
  get('http://ign.com')
];

console.log(yield [a, b]);

yield object

Yielding an object behaves much like yielding an array, however recursion is supported:

co(function *(){
  var user = yield {
    name: {
      first: get('name.first'),
      last: get('name.last')
    }
  };
})()

Here is the sequential equivalent without yielding an object:

co(function *(){
  var user = {
    name: {
      first: yield get('name.first'),
      last: yield get('name.last')
    }
  };
})()

Performance

On my machine 30,000 sequential stat()s takes an avg of 570ms, while the same number of sequential stat()s with co() takes 610ms, aka the overhead introduced by generators is extremely negligable.

License

MIT

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