Node.js Crash Course

Introduction

I’ve been doing Node full-time at work and noticed a lot of other people lacking a centralized resource to get up and running quickly. There are a lot of wonderful resources out there for Node, a Google search away, but hopefully this document should get you coding quickly as well as able to communicate effectively with other Node developers.

I’ve tried to write this list in order of most important things you need to know. Feel free to skip around.
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Easier Error Handling Using Async/Await

Introduction

At work, someone asked if there were any better ways to handle errors when using the async/await syntax in JavaScript. They didn’t like their beautiful, short, and readable lines of code suddenly wrapped with try/catches. I’ve also been frustrated with a variety of the enthusiasm online the past couple years around async/await only to be shown code examples that completely ignore error handling.

Below is an easier way to handle errors using async/await by returning what’s known in Functional Programming as an Either. Mine isn’t as formal as the FP community’s “left right”. It’s just simple JavaScript Object that follows the Node callback naming convention somewhat.

tl;dr; First option is to create Promises that only call success with an Either, and Promise.resolve in the catch with an Either, or second option is to use a simple wrapper function.
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Asynchronous Programming

Introduction

JavaScript is an asynchronous programming language in Node and in the browser. In many languages such as Java, C#, Python, etc. they block the thread for I/O. What this means is when you make an HTTP/ajax call or read a text file for example, the runtime will pause on that line of code until it is successful or failure.

JavaScript does the opposite. Using callbacks or Promises, you basically leave a phone number to call when those operations are done, while the rest of the synchronous code keeps going. In this article we’ll talk about why, give examples from JavaScript and compare against a blocking language, and show you some tips to help.

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Error Handling Strategies

Introduction

There are various ways of handling errors in programming. This includes not handling it. Many languages have created more modern ways of error handling. An error is when the program, intentionally, but mostly not, breaks. Below, I’ll cover the 4 main ones I know: try/catch, explicit returns, either, and supervising crashes. We’ll compare various languages on how they approach errors: Python, JavaScript, Lua, Go, Scala, Akka, and Elixir. Once you understand how the newer ways work, hopefully this will encourage you to abandon using potentially program crashing errors via the dated throw/raise in your programs.
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