async functions in JavaScriptEdit

Sample code

#!/usr/bin/env node


import Promise from "bluebird";

async function other() {
    return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
        setTimeout(() => resolve("value"), 3000);

(async function() {
    console.log("Hello, world!");
    console.log(await other());
    console.log("Hello, world!");


Hello, world!
Hello, world!

Can a "top-level" function be async?

Yes. As the sample code shows, we can mark a top-level function as async and call it immediately without anything await-ing it; it will run, block while waiting for any internal await calls to resolve, and then exit. async doesn’t mean anything special other than "a function that may use the await keyword.

Do promise rejections and errors get swallowed?

Replace the resolve with a reject and the sample prints:

Hello, world!
Hello, world!

throw instead of reject and get:

Hello, world!
[shows error and exits]

Beware of using (the non-standard) done() on the promise; this will cause the await call to not wait! catch() does not break await like this, but you can’t re-throw from the catch() and have it bubble up; for example:

new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
    setTimeout(() => reject("value"), 1000);
}).catch(error => {
    throw "Error: " + error;

Will print:

Hello, world!
Hello, world!

A throw in a then will get swallowed in the same way, as will a throw in the initial function passed to new Promise(). Effectively, only errors thrown asynchronously get bubbled up.

Note: Things are in flux right now, so the actually observed behavior will very much depend on the version of Node that you are using.

If you’re using Bluebird, you’ll want something like this, which gives you basically sane behavior with both Promises and async/await:

// see:
// see also:
process.on("unhandledRejection", (reason, promise) => {
    throw reason;