JavaScript waitFor Polling

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As more of the JavaScript developers write becomes asynchronous, it's only natural to need to wait for conditions to be met. This is especially true in a world with asynchronous testing of conditions which don't provide an explicit await. I've written about waitForever, waitForTime, and JavaScript Polling in the past, but I wanted to have a more modern way of awaiting a given state. Let's have a look at this super useful waitFor function!

waitFor is an async function that allows developers to provide a condition function, polling interval (in milliseconds), and optional timeout (in milliseconds).

// Polls every 50 milliseconds for a given condition
const waitFor = async (condition, pollInterval = 50, timeoutAfter) => {
  // Track the start time for timeout purposes
  const startTime = Date.now();

  while (true) {
    // Check for timeout, bail if too much time passed
    if(typeof(timeoutAfter) === 'number' && Date.now() > startTime + timeoutAfter) {
      throw 'Condition not met before timeout';
    }

    // Check for conditon immediately
    const result = await condition();

    // If the condition is met...
    if(result) {
      // Return the result....
      return result;
    }

    // Otherwise wait and check after pollInterval
    await new Promise(r => setTimeout(r, pollInterval));
  }
};

Using this function is as simple as just providing a condition function:

await waitFor(() => document.body.classList.has('loaded'));

Timing out the interval and timeout is also simple:

await waitFor(
  () => document.body.classList.has('loaded'),
  // Checks every 100 milliseconds
  100,
  // Throws if the "loaded" class isn't on the body after 1 second
  10000
);

In an ideal world, developers would always have a handle on the Promise that could be await'd or then'd. In practice, however, that isn't always the case, especially in a testing environment. Being able to await a condition in any environment is an absolute must, so keep this snippet in your toolbox!

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Discussion

  1. Who knew asynchronous programming could be this elegant? This waitFor tutorial is a game-changer for smoother code execution. Thanks for sharing, David Walsh!

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