npm i koroutine


Small, lightweight coroutine scheduler for node.js based on ES6 generators

by raksoras

1.5.0 (see all)License:MITTypeScript:Not Found
npm i koroutine


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A small, lightweight coroutine scheduler for Node.js

Justifiably or not, Node.js is much maligned for it's callback hell problem. Koroutine is a small, 100% Javascript library that helps you write simple, sequential looking code that's still 100% async.

How koroutine works

Koroutine uses Javascript generators introduced in ES6 to run your code in a coroutine. Generators is an exciting addition to Javascript that lets you suspend code execution at any point inside a special type of Javascript function called generator and resume the execution at the same point sometime later, at will. This special "run..stop..run" capability of ES6 generators compared to the normal "run to completion" nature of normal functions is what makes them a perfect building block for async programming in Javascript. It provides a powerful alternative to the Node.js default callback passing style for writing async code. Your code just yields after making an async call and Koroutine's scheduler takes care of automatically resuming your code when the async operation completes. In case of a successful completion, result(s) are returned as return value(s) of yield. In case of an error, error returned is thrown as an exception that you can catch and deal with. Best of all, Koroutine provides functions like callback and future that follow normal Node.js callback convention of function(error, data) out of the box so you can use any existing Node.js module based on callbacks transparently with koroutine without having to write any glue code like function "thunks" or promises.

Here is a good introduction to Javascript generators if you wish to familiarize yourself with the basics of Javascript generators.


npm install koroutine

Show me the code

We will use following two functions to simulate asynchronous calls that either return a result or an error after some delay. Note that these functions take typical Node.js style callback function(error, data, ...) as their last arguments and know nothing about the koroutine library to demonstrate how koroutine can integrate transparently with thousands of existing callback based Node.js modules.

function dummyAsyncSuccessCall(input, callback) {
    setTimeout(function() {
        const result = input+"-ok";
        callback(null, result);
    }, 1000);

function dummyAsyncErrorCall(input, callback) {
    setTimeout(function() {
        callback(new Error(input+"-error"));
    }, 1000);

The basics - running your async code using koroutine

Koroutine library provides a function run() that takes in user supplied generator function and executes it in a coroutine.

const koroutine = require('koroutine');

function* exampleCoroutine (input) {
    try {
        const result = yield dummyAsyncSuccessCall (input, koroutine.callback());
        yield dummyAsyncErrorCall (result, koroutine.callback());
    } catch (e) {


You can call koroutine.callback() anywhere inside a running coroutine - at any level of nested function calls - to get a callback function that follows Node.js style callback convention. This function can then be passed anywhere Node.js expects a callback. When the receiving async function invokes the callback, Koroutine automatically resumes your code at the point of the last yield.

In the example above exampleCoroutine() first stops executing at yield dummyAsyncSuccessCall(). It is resumed when the async call returns with the value. Next the function is again suspended at yield dummyAsyncErrorCall() which eventually returns an error that gets thrown as exception e inside the function body. Notice, there are no nested callbacks needed to feed result of dummyAsyncSuccessCall() to the dummyAsyncErrorCall(). Code looks pretty much sequential.

koroutine.run() optionally take options object as a second parameter which can be used to configure coroutine. Following options are available

options.timeout : Maximum amount of time in milliseconds this coroutine will be allowed to run. If your code runs beyond this limit, it is terminated and an exception is thrown inside the generator function with e.cause set to "TimedOut". This feature is useful in cases where you want to impose maximum upper limit on how long your code can take to finish. For example, to limit processing time of a HTTP request to 500 milliseconds.

options.breadcrumbs: Because of the way generators work, exceptions thrown inside generator functions do not have full stack trace. Instead the stack trace starts at the point of last yield. This makes debugging harder. You can set options.breadcrumbs to true to tell koroutine to "stitch" together stack traces across multiple yield/resume points. Since capturing stack traces across multiple yields incurs performance cost, this option is turned off by default

options.name: Name of the koroutine. Used in generating breadcrumbs stack trace. Also any uncaught exception has its field koroutine set to this name.

errorHandler: Function that takes error object as its only parameter. Any uncaught errors thrown from the generator function are passed to the errorHandler function if one is set.

koroutin.callback() takes two optional parameters

timeout Timeout for the callback after which exception with cause == 'TimedOut' is thrown.

name If the async function times out, error.callback is set to the name provided. Aids in debugging.

Making multiple async calls in parallel

In the example above we made two async calls one after the other, sequentially. Although the code itself is non-blocking, the coroutine is suspended and the second call to dummyAsyncErrorCall() is not made till the first dummyAsyncSuccessCall() returns. Sometimes you want this behavior - for example, when you want to pass the result returned by the first call to the second call as an argument. But sometimes you have bunch of async calls that are not dependent on each other and you can speed things up by making them in parallel. for example, calling multiple back-end REST services in parallel. koroutine can facilitate this with futures

const koroutine = require('koroutine');

function* exampleKoroutine(input1, input2) {
    const future1 = koroutine.future();
    dummyAsyncSuccessCall(input1, future1);

    const future2 = koroutine.future(1000);
    dummyAsyncErrorCall(input2, future2);

    const numErrors = yield* koroutine.join(future1, future2);

const kr = koroutine.run(exampleKoroutine("my-input1", "my-input2"));

To fire multiple async calls in parallel, you create one future per async call by calling koroutine.future() and pass these futures as callbacks to the async calls instead of koroutine.callback() without yielding after each call. You can then wait - without blocking the event loop - for all the calls to complete by calling yield* koroutine.join() on all futures. When koroutine.join() returns, each future either has its future.data set to the result returned by the call (in case of success) or its future.error set to the error. koroutine.join() returns total number of errors encountered.

koroutine.future() can optionally take timeout parameter. If provided, it specifies number of milliseconds after which the future will time out and the call will return with future.error.cause set to "TimedOut".

Other useful koroutine library methods

koroutine.sleep(ms) : Non-blocking sleep for ms number of milliseconds.

koroutine.defer() : Gives up CPU voluntarily. The coroutine will be resumed automatically on the next event loop turn. Similar to Node.js setImmediate().

koroutine.enableBreadcrumbs() : Enable breadcrumb stack traces (described above) globally, for all coroutines. Since it has run time performance cost this option should be used cautiously. Alternatively, you can enable it for a particular, selected koroutine by passing an options object as a second parameter to koroutine.run() with options.enableBreadcrumbs set to true.

koroutine.setErrorHandler() : Set global error handler for all coroutines to use in case of an uncaught exception. Alternatively you may set error handler for a particular, selected koroutine by passing an options object as a second parameter to koroutine.run() with options.errorHandler set to your error handler function.

Thread local storage

koroutine also supports thread local variables similar to Java's ThreadLocal class. To use it, you store your variables specific to your running coroutine instance inside the object koroutine.state like this,

const koroutine = require('koroutine');

function* testCoroutineThreadLocalStorage (input) {
  koroutine.state.my_var = input;
  yield koroutine.sleep(100);
  console.log(koroutine.state.my_var, input);


Variables stored in koroutine.state are local to each running coroutine instance and are not shared between two coroutines even if they share the same variable name. koroutine library will switch to the appropriate koroutine.state automatically when it switches between coroutines. All the typical hard to track race conditions with the usage of thread local variables apply so use it with caution and sparingly!

In summary

koroutine allows you to harness all the power and performance of Node.js async programming model with the ease and simplicity of sequential looking code.

Any comments, suggestions and bug reports are greatly welcome.

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