Promise-Aware curry() and compose()

Disclaimer:

I assume you're vaguely familiar with ES6 Promises and functional JavaScript.

Let us begin!

Functional JavaScript is useless. It's a nuisance. A toy. A fruit for thought. But still - useless. Mostly because of Monads.

But with ES6 came Promises. Not only do they solve most monadic problems. They came to save us all

But when using compose() or curry() we still have to manually chain and link functions with .then() or Promise.all()

Which is pretty sad, especially when you compare synchronous function returning value to the same function returning value via promise

Return Value Promise Value
function id(x) {
	return x;
}
function id(x) {
	return Promise.resolve(x);
}

Why are we discriminating promised values in the functional arrow-based world? Shouldn't they have equal rights? It shouldn't matter if the arrow points to now or into the future!

Imagine...

What if we had compose() that, when fed with a function returning a promise, would automatically convert output to promise and start mapping remaining functions via .then() method?

Example

let elementsFromFile = compose(map(toElement),
	param("data"), JSON.parse, asyncLoadFile);

// imperative data extraction 
elementsFromFile("elements.json")
	.then(function (elements) {
		// update the view
	}).catch(function () {
		// Display friendly message, retry
	});

See? Looks like your typical synchronous functional code. But it is async! Only extracting the data in a non-functional way hints that something asynchronous is going on.

Not all functions take in only a single argument, however. That's where curry() comes into the picture. If it finds promises in the argument list, it'll wait for them all to resolve, extract values, call underlying function and return output in a single promise.

let appendInto = curry(function (parent, element) {
	return parent.appendChild(element);
});

let showElements = compose(
	each(compose(
		appendInto(promiseBody()), 
		toElement
	)),
	param("data"),
	JSON.parse,
	ajax);

showElements("elements.json")
	.catch(alert("server error"));

But what can you do with it?

Simple async parallel waiting!

Think of parallelized version of shell scripts – you control the flow of the data and you don't care how, when or in what form it's arrived.

Current trend is to go for the .then() train

functionReturningPromise()
	.then(fn1)
	.then(fn2)
	.then(fn3);

Which is meant to be replaced with the upcoming await:

let val = await functionReturningPromise();
val = await fn1(val);
val = await fn2(val);
val = await fn3(val);

It may look nice at first glance, but it's always a single queue. Wait for one thing, process, wait for the next, process, rinse and repeat. But when you wait for independent events in this way, you're wasting your time.

Here you can easily wait for two, three or more events at once! Even better – you don't have to treat promised values in any special way – curry() takes care of that. And you don't have to remember whether to chain functions with .then or not because of compose().

I've written these, to parallelize waiting in Webkit extension API, where literally every single call is asynchronous. Localization files, local data, sync data, document.body, chrome.sessions, chrome.history, chrome.tabs. Non-API code executes pretty quickly but 90% of the time was wasted on waiting for the async data to resolve. It's a perfect opportunity to parallelize independent waits.

It basically lets me to do this asynchronously and parallely:

And not go immediately insane

Download/Install

You can grab these functions from their GitHub repository

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