A lightweight library that provides tools for organizing asynchronous code that actually works with NPM because I am too impatient to wait for tomhuda to try to publish again

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RSVP.js provides simple tools for organizing asynchronous code.

Specifically, it is a tiny implementation of Promises/A and a mixin for turning objects into event targets.

It works in node and the browser. You can get the browser build in browser/rsvp.js and browser/rsvp.min.js.


RSVP.Promise is an implementation of Promises/A that passes the promises test suite written by Domenic Denicola.

It passes both the primary suite, which tests explicit compliance with the Promises/A spec, and the extension tests, which test compliance with commonly accepted practices around promises in JavaScript.

It delivers all promises asynchronously, even if the value is already available, to help you write consistent code that doesn't change if the underlying data provider changes from synchronous to asynchronous.

It is compatible with TaskJS, a library by Dave Herman of Mozilla that uses ES6 generators to allow you to write synchronous code with promises. It currently works in Firefox, and will work in any browser that adds support for ES6 generators. See the section below on TaskJS for more information.

Basic Usage

var promise = new Promise();

promise.then(function(value) {
  // success
}, function(value) {
  // failure

// later...

promise.resolve(value) // triggers first callback
promise.reject(error) // triggers second callback

Once a promise has been resolved or rejected, it cannot be resolved or rejected again.

Here is an example of a simple XHR2 wrapper written using RSVP.js:

var getJSON = function(url) {
  var promise = new RSVP.Promise();

  var client = new XMLHttpRequest();"GET", url);
  client.onreadystatechange = handler;
  client.responseType = "json";
  client.setRequestHeader("Accept", "application/json");

  function handler() {
    if (this.readyState === this.DONE) {
      if (this.status === 200) { promise.resolve(this.response); }
      else { promise.reject(this); }

  return promise;

getJSON("/posts.json").then(function(json) {
  // continue
}, function(error) {
  // handle errors


One of the really awesome features of Promises/A promises are that they can be chained together. In other words, the return value of the first resolve handler will be passed to the second resolve handler.

If you return a regular value, it will be passed, as is, to the next handler.

getJSON("/posts.json").then(function(json) {
}).then(function(post) {
  // proceed

The really awesome part comes when you return a promise from the first handler:

getJSON("/post/1.json").then(function(post) {
  // save off post
  return getJSON(post.commentURL);
}).then(function(comments) {
  // proceed with access to posts and comments

This allows you to flatten out nested callbacks, and is the main feature of promises that prevents "rightward drift" in programs with a lot of asynchronous code.

Errors also propagate:

getJSON("/posts.json").then(function(posts) {

}).then(null, function(error) {
  // even though no error callback was passed to the
  // first `.then`, the error propagates

You can use this to emulate try/catch logic in synchronous code. Simply chain as many resolve callbacks as a you want, and add a failure handler at the end to catch errors.

getJSON("/post/1.json").then(function(post) {
  return getJSON(post.commentURL);
}).then(function(comments) {
  // proceed with access to posts and comments
}).then(null, function(error) {
  // handle errors in either of the two requests

Arrays of promises

Sometimes you might want to work with many promises at once. If you pass an array of promises to the all() method it will return a new promise that will be fulfilled when all of the promises in the array have been fulfilled; or rejected immediately if any promise in the array is rejected.

var postIds = [2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13];
var promises = [];

for(var i = 0; i < postIds.length; i++) {
    promises.push(getJSON("/post/" + postIds[i] + ".json"));

RSVP.all(promises).then(function(posts) {
    // posts contains an array of results for the given promises


The TaskJS library makes it possible to take promises-oriented code and make it synchronous using ES6 generators.

Let's review an earlier example:

getJSON("/post/1.json").then(function(post) {
  return getJSON(post.commentURL);
}).then(function(comments) {
  // proceed with access to posts and comments
}).then(null, function(error) {
  // handle errors in either of the two requests

Without any changes to the implementation of getJSON, you could write the following code with TaskJS:

spawn(function *() {
  try {
    var post = yield getJSON("/post/1.json");
    var comments = yield getJSON(post.commentURL);
  } catch(error) {
    // handle errors

In the above example, function * is new syntax in ES6 for generators. Inside a generator, yield pauses the generator, returning control to the function that invoked the generator. In this case, the invoker is a special function that understands the semantics of Promises/A, and will automatically resume the generator as soon as the promise is resolved.

The cool thing here is the same promises that work with current JavaScript using .then will work seamlessly with TaskJS once a browser has implemented it!

Event Target

RSVP also provides a mixin that you can use to convert any object into an event target. The promises implementation uses RSVP.EventTarget, so RSVP exposes it for your own use.

Basic Usage

The basic usage of RSVP.EventTarget is to mix it into an object, then use on and trigger to register listeners and trigger them.

var object = {};


object.on("finished", function(event) {
  // handle event

object.trigger("finished", { detail: value });


You can mix RSVP.EventTarget into a prototype and it will work as expected.

var Person = function() {};

var yehuda = new Person();
var tom = new Person();

yehuda.on("poke", function(event) {
  console.log("Yehuda says OW");

tom.on("poke", function(event) {
  console.log("Tom says OW");


The example will work as expected. If you mix RSVP.EventTarget into a constructor's prototype, each instance of that constructor will get its own callbacks.

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