Asynchronous JavaScript: Introducing async and await

Asynchronous JavaScript: Introducing async and await

This post will introduce you to async and await fundamentals and show you specific examples. Then you’ll have the opportunity to create a real-world application that uses async and await to perform asynchronous processing.

Asynchronous processing is one of the most important aspects of the JavaScript language. JavaScript is a single-threaded language, so it needs a mechanism to deal with the actions like performing time-intensive and potentially unreliable activities like making REST API calls, reading files from the disk, or interacting with user input.

In JavaScript the mechanism used is an event loop, which processes a callback queue in order from oldest item to newest. Each item in the queue is a message that’s processed completely before moving on to the next next message. Each message is a function that returns a response to code elsewhere in the application. Functions used in this way are called callback functions.

Because of callbacks, JavaScript can use a number of techniques for getting around its single-threaded nature to implement asynchronous processing. Unfortunately, some of those techniques, JavaScript Promises and RxJS Observables, force you to introduce at least one nested level in your code. That makes the code less readable and maintainable.

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