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I have a structure that would expose async methods. The async method calls return array structures that would inturn expose more async methods. I am creating another JSON object to store values obtained from this structure and because of this I need to be careful about keeping track of references in callbacks.

I would like a clean solution following these rules:

  1. The pattern should be repeatable for n levels of nesting.

  2. I need to use promise.all or some similar technique to determine when to resolve the enclosing routine.

  3. Not every element will necessarily involve making an async call. So in a nested promise.all I can't simply make assignments to my JSON array elements based on an index. Nevertheless, I do need to use something like a promise.all in the nested forEach to ensure that all property assignments have been made before resolving the enclosing routine.

  4. I am using the bluebird promise lib but this is not a requirement

This is what I have done so far:

var jsonItems = [];



 var jsonItem = {}; =;



 // or Promise.all(allItemGetThingCalls, function(things){ 

things.forEach(function(thing, index){

 jsonItems[index].thingName =;

 if(thing.type === 'file'){

 thing.getFile().then(function(file){ //or promise.all?

 jsonItems[index].filesize = file.getSize();


1 Answer

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by (13.1k points)

Follow these rules:

  • Whenever you create a promise in a then, return it - any promise you don't return will not be waited for outside.

  • Whenever you create multiple promises, .all them - that way it waits for all the promises, and no error from any of them are silenced.

  • Whenever you nest then, you can typically return in the middle - then chains are usually at most 1 level deep.

  • Whenever you perform IO, it should be with a promise - either it should be in a promise or it should use a promise to signal its completion.

Follow these tips:

  • Mapping is better done with .map than with for/push - if you're mapping values with a function, the map lets you concisely express the notion of applying actions one by one and aggregating the results.

  • Concurrency is better than sequential execution if it's free - it's better to execute things concurrently and wait for the Promise.all than to execute things one after the other - each waiting before the next.  

Following the above rules and tips you can do something like this:

var items = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];

var fn = function asyncMultiplyBy2(v){ // sample async action

    return new Promise(resolve => setTimeout(() => resolve(v * 2), 100));


// map over forEach since it returns

var actions =; // run the function over all items

// we now have a promises array and we want to wait for it

var results = Promise.all(actions); // pass array of promises

results.then(data => // or just .then(console.log)

    console.log(data) // [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]


// we can nest this of course, as I said, `then` chains:

var res2 = Promise.all([1, 2, 3, 4, 5].map(fn)).then(

    data => Promise.all(


    // the next `then` is executed after the promise has returned from the previous

    // `then` fulfilled, in this case it's an aggregate promise because of 

    // the `.all` 

    return Promise.all(;


    // just for good measure

    return Promise.all(;


// now to get the results:


    console.log(data); // [16, 32, 48, 64, 80]


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