AP2 makes laziness easy.

Mark S. Miller erights at google.com
Mon Aug 26 09:06:45 PDT 2013


On Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 8:54 AM, Mark S. Miller <erights at google.com> wrote:

> I was recently asked:
>
> (Forwarded with permission)
> > I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on delaying request
> execution until invocation of 'then.'
>  > [...] I don't always want an HttpRequest object to make a network
> request on creation, because
> > sometimes I merely aggregate the HttpRequest objects into a single
> HttpBatch object that I can
> > execute.
> >
> > Do you see any problems with offering an alias like this?
> >
> > HttpRequest.protototype.then = function(onFul, OnRej) {
> >   return this.execute().then(onFul, OnRej);
> > };
> >
> > [...] What would be the implications of this? [...]
>
>
> Two things struck me about this questions:
>
> First:
>
> The move to AP2, where assimilation happens only on the input side of a
> .then, makes thenables such as those above a perfect way to express
> laziness. In current Promises/A+, where assimilation happens on the output
> side of a .then, the thenable above will be "forced" too early:
>
> // hr is the thenable intended to be lazy
> hr = new HttpRequest(....);
>
> // p1 is a genuine promise
> p2 = p1.then(v => hr);
>
> //.... much later ....
>
> p3 = p2.then(onFul, onRej);
>
> In current Promises/A+, hr is forced when p2 is constructed,
>

Sorry for the imprecision. Not "when p2 is constructed", but rather, in
some turn after p1 is fulfilled. The point remains: This is potentially
much earlier than when p2.then is invoked.



> which probably doesn't break the code but is wasteful -- it doesn't need
> to be forced yet. And if p2 never happens to be used, hr didn't need to be
> forced at all.
>
> In our newfangled AP2 promises (which Promise/A+ will also be adopting),
> p2 merely "accepts" hr. hr.then doesn't get checked or invoked until/unless
> p2.then is invoked, which is indeed as late as possible.
>
> Second:
>
> Since today this code will still typically work, and will in the near
> future successfully become lazier, we should expect a lot of such code to
> exist by the time we roll out our new standard. This brings us back to our
> need to chose between "compat-duck", where thenable is simply (typeof
> obj.then === 'function'), and "narrow-duck", where some additional marking
> is required.
>
> If we wish to go with narrow-duck, we need to agree on and promote that
> additional marking asap, before more such code accumulates, or we need to
> give up on narrow-duck. We are faced not just with the legacy of all the
> existing promise libraries that would need to add this additional marking
> to their promises. We are also faced with all the users of these promise
> libraries who hand-roll their own thenables as above, to be assimilated by
> these promise libraries.
>
> IMO, I expect it is already too late for narrow-duck, and that we will
> find we are already stuck needing to standardize compat-duck, even though
> it will misinterpret some other existing non-thenable uses of "then".
>
> --
>     Cheers,
>     --MarkM
>



-- 
    Cheers,
    --MarkM
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