Async Data and Autotracking in Ember Octane

Digging into the load helper and AsyncData type I introduced in an earlier post.

Assumed Audience: Software developers working with Ember Octane.

Last week, I described the use of a load helper and associated AsyncData type to move away from Ember’s ObjectProxy and PromiseProxyMixin. In this post, I’ll dig into the implementation of load and AsyncData. When you get to the end of this post, you should not only understand how this particular helper and data type work, but also have a better idea of how to think about both handling asynchronous data in JavaScript in general and how to put that to practice in Ember Octane with autotracking specifically.

Overview

Philosophy

Before we dig into the details of how load and AsyncData work, it’s worth understanding the philosophy behind them. When some colleagues and I built these helpers, it was with two key ideas in mind — so it’s worth understanding these ideas as we work through the implementation:

  1. Async data is just data
  2. Handling all data states is important

1. Async data is just data

The whole point of this data type is to make it possible for end users to call load on a Promise and then interact with it exactly like any other piece of data. This sometimes feels strange to people, especially when it’s used to define the return type of a getter. But while there are additional considerations when dealing with asynchronously loaded data as we do here, one of the key value propositions of Promises (and similar features in other languages, whether they go named Task or Future or something else entirely) is that they allow you to represent an asynchronous computation as data. This allows you to interact with that the same way you would with any other kind of data. The AsyncData type we work with here is just an extension of that same idea!

2. Handling all data states is important

When we’re dealing with any data, it’s important to understand the possible states it can be in, to guarantee that a given representation of that data cannot end up in invalid states, and — optimally — to make it so that we always handle all those states. The AsyncData type we’ll build in the rest of this post is designed to do all three of those.

Fundamentally, an asynchronous data loading operation can be in at least three states: loading, loaded, or error. I say at least” because there are other states you might care about, as well: not started and slow in particular. For our purposes I’ll leave those other options aside: in most cases loading and not started end up in the same place for users and slow is a variant of loading. In your particular scenarios, though, you might have different tradeoffs!

It’s important particularly — though not only! — in dealing with user interfaces that we account for all of these scenarios. If we don’t, we might end up assuming that our data is always in a loaded state, and fail to show anything meaningful while it’s loading, or if there’s an error. At best this makes for a poor user experience. At worst, the result can be outright buggy! So this implementation exposes (and encourages you to think in terms of!) those states: loading, loaded, and error.1

This idea is far from original to me or my colleagues. I learned it from a series of talks and blog posts around the idea of making illegal states impossible,” an idea which has a lot of traction in the typed functional programming community.

Implementation

Let’s start building, keeping these core ideas in mind.

  1. Async data is just data
  2. Handling all data states is important

As we’re implementing, then — 

  • We need to model the three states of the data: loading, loaded, and error.
  • We need to update the state of the data when the promise resolves or rejects.
  • If users call load with the same Promise, we should always return the same AsyncData.

That’s a lot! If we take it step by step, though, it won’t seem so bad, so we’ll tackle the implementation in phases:

  1. Make a helper
  2. Model the states
  3. Update the state

Make a helper

We’re going to build this as an Ember helper, so that it can be used in templates. The easiest way for us to get started is to use Ember CLIs generator:

ember generate helper load

The result is this file:

import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';

export default helper(function load(params/*, hash*/) {
  return params;
});

We’re going to start by pulling the load function out of the helper invocation so that we can use it in JavaScript:

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';


- export default helper(function load(params/*, hash*/) {
-   return params;
- });
+ export function load(params/*, hash*/) {
+   return params;
+ }
+
+ export default helper(load);

Using it in another JS module would look like this:

import { load } from 'my-app/helpers/load';

Now, we know that we want to represent the state of any given promise, so we’ll change the definition of the load function accordingly. For now, we’ll just have the helper return the promise passed in, and we’ll figure out what we actually want to return in a minute.

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';

- export function load(params/*, hash*/) {
+ export function load(somePromise) {
+   // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
-   return params;
+   return somePromise;
  }

  export default helper(load);

This would blow up if we tried to actually use the helper in a template, though! Helpers expect their first argument to be an array of the positional arguments to the helper. Since we’ll only ever want to load one promise at a time with this helper, we can fix that pretty easily, by reworking how we connect the function definition to the helper:

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';

  export function load(somePromise) {
    // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
    return somePromise;
  }

- export default helper(load);
+ export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

Now we need to think about what we want to return.

Modeling the states

We can start by defining a type which will represent the state of the data. We’ll use a class here because it’s a really convenient tool for defining data structures in JS — but we don’t intend for this to be subclassed, and so we’re not exporting it from our module.

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';

+ class AsyncData {
+   /** @type {'LOADING' | 'LOADED' | 'ERROR'} */
+   state;
+ }

  export function load(somePromise) {
    // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
    return somePromise;
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

Notice that I’ve added a @type annotation in the JSDoc comment here. This will give us nice autocompletion and feedback for many editors, and if any users are using TypeScript directly or type-checking their JavaScript with TypeScript’s checkJS mode or // @ts-check notation, they’ll get errors if they try to compare the AsyncData type’s state to any value besides 'LOADING', 'LOADED', or 'ERROR'.

Initially, the state should always default to 'LOADING', since we don’t know the state of the promise we’ll consume:

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';

  class AsyncData {
    /** @type {'LOADING' | 'LOADED' | 'ERROR'} */
-   state;
+   state = 'LOADING';
  }

  export function load(somePromise) {
    // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
    return somePromise;
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

Now we can create an AsyncData and return it from our load helper. This is completely useless for the moment, as it will just always remain in 'LOADING', but we’ll fix that shortly.

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';

  class AsyncData {
    /** @type {'LOADING' | 'LOADED' | 'ERROR'} */
-   state;
+   state = 'LOADING';
  }

  export function load(somePromise) {
    // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
-   return somePromise;
+   return new AsyncData();
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

We’ll also need to track the value of the resolved data for when promises resolve (the value) and the rejection reason when the reject (the error). We could do this by just adding two new fields to the class, one for each of those two outcomes:

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';

  class AsyncData {
    /** @type {'LOADING' | 'LOADED' | 'ERROR'} */
    state = 'LOADING';
+
+   value;
+
+   error;
  }

  export function load(somePromise) {
    // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
    return new AsyncData();
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

However, if we do this, and especially if we make it part of our public API, we are committing ourselves to never changing the way we manage our state. But there are ways we could make this more robust for ourselves in the future, especially if we were using TypeScript. For example, we might want our internal state to be { state: 'LOADING' } or { state: 'LOADED', value } or { state: 'ERROR', reason }, so that we could never accidentally end up with a state of 'ERROR' but have assigned value instead of error.

Our best bet for now is to make the fields private” and expose a getter for each of these instead, so that end users can’t write to it. (We’d like to use private class fields, but they’re incompatible with decorators, and that will be important when we update the state.2) This will also make it so that if we want to refactor to something like that set of alternate types in the future, we can. We’ll make state private” as well.

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';

  class AsyncData {
-   /** @type {'LOADING' | 'LOADED' | 'ERROR'} */
+   /**
+     @type {'LOADING' | 'LOADED' | 'ERROR'}
+     @private
+    */
-   state = 'LOADING';
+   _state = 'LOADING';
+
+   /** @private */
+   _value;
+
+   /** @private */
+   _error;
+
+   get state() {
+     return this._state;
+   }
+
+   get value() {
+     return this._value;
+   }
+
+   get error() {
+     return this._error;
+   }
  }

  export function load(somePromise) {
    // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
    return new AsyncData();
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

This also lets us do a bit of runtime validation if we like: we can enforce that users check the state and make sure it’s valid before they try to get the value or error types, using assertions that only run in development or test:3

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';
+ import { assert } from '@ember/debug';

  class AsyncData {
    /**
      @type {'LOADING' | 'LOADED' | 'ERROR'}
      @private
     */
    _state = 'LOADING';
 
    /** @private */
    _value;
 
    /** @private */
    _error;
 
    get state() {
      return this._state;
    }
 
    get value() {
+     assert(
+       `You can only access 'value' when 'state' is 'LOADED', but it is ${this.state}`,
+       this.state === 'LOADED'
+     );
+
      return this._value;
    }
 
    get error() {
+     assert(
+       `You can only access 'error' when 'state' is 'ERROR', but it is ${this.state}`,
+       this.state === 'ERROR'
+     );
+
      return this._error;
    }
  }

  export function load(somePromise) {
    // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
    return new AsyncData();
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

This way, users will only be able to get the value when state is 'LOADED'.

At this point, we have a robust representation of the state and a way to expose the value of the resolved promise or the reason it rejected… but we don’t have a way to actually change the state or set the value or error properties. Let’s see how to do that!

Updating the state

First things first, we need to make the state reactive so that it will work in the template, using @tracked:

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';
  import { assert } from '@ember/debug';
+ import { tracked } from '@glimmer/tracking';

  class AsyncData {
    /**
      @type {'LOADING' | 'LOADED' | 'ERROR'}
      @private
     */
-   _state = 'LOADING';
+   @tracked _state = 'LOADING';
 
    /** @private */
-   _value;
+   @tracked _value;
 
    /** @private */
-   _error;
+   @tracked _error;
 
    get state() {
      return this._state;
    }
 
    get value() {
      assert(
        `You can only access 'value' when 'state' is 'LOADED', but it is ${this.state}`,
        this.state === 'LOADED'
      );
 
      return this._value;
    }
 
    get error() {
      assert(
        `You can only access 'error' when 'state' is 'ERROR', but it is ${this.state}`,
        this.state === 'ERROR'
      );
 
      return this._error;
    }
  }

  export function load(somePromise) {
    // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
    return new AsyncData();
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

Now, any end user of the code — whether a JavaScript getter or a reference in the template — will correctly update when any of these values change or any getter which references them changes.

On the JavaScript side, we can define data in terms of the result of calling load — including in a getter. Since args are autotracked and AsyncData autotracks its internals, the data getter here will rerun any time args.userId changes and the displayData getter will rerun when the result of data changes (as long as displayData is used in the template).

import Component from '@glimmer/component';
import { load } from 'my-app/helpers/load';
import { fetchSomeData } from 'my-app/data/fetchers';

export default class Neato extends Component {
  get data() {
    return load(fetchSomeData(this.args.userId));
  }

  get displayData() {
    switch (this.data.state) {
      case 'LOADING':
        return 'loading...';
      case 'LOADED':
        return this.data.value;
      case 'ERROR':
        return `Whoops! Something went wrong! ${this.data.error.message}`;
    }
  }
}

Similarly, if we had a component which had a promise passed into it and used load as a helper:

{{#let (load @somePromise) as |data|}}
  {{#if (eq data.state 'LOADING')}}
    <p>{{data.value}}</p>
  {{else if (eq data.state 'LOADED')}}
    <p>loading...</p>
  {{else if (eq data.state 'ERROR')}}
    <p>Whoops! Something went wrong!</p>
    <p>{{data.error.message}}</p>
  {{/if}}
{{/let}}

Using eq here to match the state with strings is a little cumbersome. It would be better if we could just check {{#if data.isLoaded}} and so on. We can do that easily enough by exposing a convenience getter for each state on AsyncData:

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';
  import { assert } from '@ember/debug';
  import { tracked } from '@glimmer/tracking';

  class AsyncData {
    // SNIP: internal state and other getters are unchanged...
+
+   get isLoading() {
+     return this.state === 'LOADING';
+   }
+
+   get isLoaded() {
+     return this.state === 'LOADED';
+   }
+
+   get isError() {
+     return this.state === 'ERROR';
+   }
  }

  export function load(somePromise) {
    // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
    return new AsyncData();
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

Now our template invocation could just look like this:

{{#let (load @somePromise) as |data|}}
  {{#if data.isLoading}}
    <p>loading...</p>
  {{else if data.isLoaded}}
    <p>{{data.value}}</p>
  {{else if data.isError}}
    <p>Whoops! Something went wrong!</p>
    <p>{{data.error.message}}</p>
  {{/if}}
{{/let}}

So far, so good! Unfortunately, though, both the template and the backing class uses of load will always return the 'LOADING' versions: we haven’t done anything to connect the Promise state to the AsyncDatas state. We need to do two things to connect them:

  1. Add methods to AsyncData for changing the state correctly.
  2. Use those methods when the Promise changes state!

Add state change methods to AsyncData

We’ll start by adding two methods to AsyncData: one for when the promise resolves and one for when it rejects. We’ll name them resolveWith and rejectWith respectively, so that when we call them it will look like resolveWith(value) or rejectWith(error).

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';
  import { assert } from '@ember/debug';
  import { tracked } from '@glimmer/tracking';

  class AsyncData {
    // SNIP: internal state and getters are unchanged...
+
+   resolveWith(value) {
+     this._state = 'LOADED';
+     this._value = value;
+   }
+
+   rejectWith(error) {
+     this._state = 'ERROR';
+     this._error = error;
+   }
  }

  export function load(somePromise) {
    // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
    return new AsyncData();
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

These two methods have one of the core responsibilities of AsyncData: managing internal state correctly. Providing this public interface and making the details of our state management private to callers lets us uphold the invariants that AsyncData needs to be used safely. If we happened to set _value instead of _error when calling rejectWith, things would be badly broken.

This is a good argument for rigorous tests! It’s also another reason we might choose to use the variant types I described above, with { state: 'LOADED', value } instead of making them discrete properties. I’ve chosen to leave them as they are here both for simplicity and to match the version we actually use internally today, but if I were implementing this from scratch myself, I would certainly do it differently for exactly that reason!

At this point AsyncData is pretty much done! It’s time to connect it to the promise data flow.

Connect the Promise and AsyncData in load

We now return to the load function implementation. When the promise resolves, we want to call AsyncData.resolveWith; when it rejects, we’ll call AsyncData.rejectWith:

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';
  import { assert } from '@ember/debug';
  import { tracked } from '@glimmer/tracking';

  class AsyncData {
    // SNIP: class body is unchanged...
  }

  export function load(somePromise) {
-   // this isn't helpful, but we'll come back to it!
-   return new AsyncData();
+   let asyncData = new AsyncData();
+
+   somePromise.then(
+     (value) => asyncData.resolveWith(value),
+     (error) => asyncData.rejectWith(error)
+   );
+
+   return result;
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

That’s actually all that’s required to connect them. At this point, we can use the helper or the function and things will work as we expect! We’re not quite done, though.

Return the same AsyncData

What if two different parts of our code both call load with the same Promise? It would be quite wasteful to create another AsyncData to represent the same promise every time it was passed in! Instead, we want to be able to know if we’ve seen any given Promise before, and associate it with the same AsyncData if so. We don’t want to prevent Promise or AsyncData instances from getting cleaned up when the app is done with them, though: that would result in a memory leak! If we made heavy use of load across our app, we could end up with undead Promise and AsyncData instances floating around forever.

Modern JavaScript has a tool for scenarios just like this: a WeakMap. A WeakMap is a map from keys to values, where the value can be anything but the key has to be an object. The neat thing about WeakMap is that it doesn’t interfere with garbage collection: if a WeakMap key is the last place that an object is used, it will get garbage collected and removed from the WeakMap automatically, along with the reference to whatever the key was pointing to in the map. That is, it has weak references to the objects it uses as keys. This is not like a normal Map, which can also use an object as its key. A normal Map will hold on to its keys strongly: you have to remove the key explicitly (using Map.delete) for the object to be allowed to be garbage-collected. This makes WeakMaps a great choice for any time we want to create a link between two objects without creating a memory leak by preventing them from being freed.

To use a WeakMap to link each Promise to an AsyncData, we will create a WeakMap instance in module scope. Then, in load, we will first check if the somePromise argument is already a key in the WeakMap, and if so return the AsyncData it points to. If it is a Promise we haven’t seen before, we’ll connect the Promise and the AsyncData by using WeakMap.set.

  import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';
  import { assert } from '@ember/debug';
  import { tracked } from '@glimmer/tracking';

  class AsyncData {
    // SNIP: class body is unchanged...
  }

+ const MAP = new WeakMap();

  export function load(somePromise) {
+   let existingAsyncData = MAP.get(somePromise);
+   if (existingAsyncData) {
+     return existingAsyncData;
+   }
+
    let asyncData = new AsyncData();
+   MAP.set(somePromise, asyncData);

    somePromise.then(
      (value) => asyncData.resolveWith(value),
      (error) => asyncData.rejectWith(error)
    );

    return asyncData;
  }

  export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

Now we can call load on the same Promise as many times as we want; it will always return the same AsyncData.

It’s important to understand that this only holds when it’s actually the same Promise, though — and when you chain off a Promise using its .then or .catch methods, you create a new Promise. That means that if you do this, you’ll end up creating two AsyncData instances:

import { load } from 'my-app/helpers/load';

let promise = Promise.resolve('hello');
let firstAsyncData = load(promise);
let chained = promise.then((s) => s.length);
let secondAsyncData = load(chained);

console.log(firstAsyncData === secondAsyncData);  // false

This is correct. You could be triggering all sorts of new asynchronous behavior in those .then or .catch callbacks! Each AsyncData represents exactly one asynchronous data operation.

Conclusion

With that, we’ve implemented a solution that captures both philosophical commitments we laid out at the beginning:

  1. Async data is just data
  2. Handling all data states is important

To implement those ideas:

  • We created a load function we can use both in JS and as a helper in Glimmer templates.
  • We modeled the states reactively with @tracked properties on an AsyncData class.
  • We updated the state by wiring up the Promise transitions to methods on AsyncData.
  • We also made sure that we always have exactly and only one AsyncData per promise, using a WeakMap to connect each Promise to an AsyncData.

Here’s what it looks like with all of the pieces put together:4

import { helper } from "@ember/component/helper";
import { assert } from "@ember/debug";
import { tracked } from "@glimmer/tracking";

class AsyncData {
  /**
    @type {'LOADING' | 'LOADED' | 'ERROR'}
    @private
   */
  @tracked _state = "LOADING";

  /** @private */
  @tracked _value;

  /** @private */
  @tracked _error;

  get state() {
    return this._state;
  }

  get value() {
    assert(
      `You can only access 'value' when 'state' is 'LOADED', but it is ${this.state}`,
      this.state === "LOADED"
    );

    return this._value;
  }

  get error() {
    assert(
      `You can only access 'error' when 'state' is 'ERROR', but it is ${this.state}`,
      this.state === "ERROR"
    );

    return this._error;
  }

  get isLoading() {
    return this.state === "LOADING";
  }

  get isLoaded() {
    return this.state === "LOADED";
  }

  get isError() {
    return this.state === "ERROR";
  }

  resolveWith(value) {
    this._state = "LOADED";
    this._value = value;
  }

  rejectWith(error) {
    this._state = "ERROR";
    this._error = error;
  }
}

const MAP = new WeakMap();

export function load(somePromise) {
  let existingAsyncData = MAP.get(somePromise);
  if (existingAsyncData) {
    return existingAsyncData;
  }

  let asyncData = new AsyncData();
  MAP.set(somePromise, asyncData);

  somePromise.then(
    (value) => asyncData.resolveWith(value),
    (error) => asyncData.rejectWith(error)
  );

  return asyncData;
}

export default helper(([promise]) => load(promise));

Hopefully you now have a better idea of how we can combine custom data structures built with JS classes, autotracking-powered reactivity, and modern JS features like WeakMap to build robust solutions for even tricky problems like asynchronous data flow!

Feel free to respond with questions or comments on Ember Discuss!

For further reading on autotracking, check out these posts by my friend and colleague Chris Garrett (@pzuraq), who knows autotracking better than almost anyone else:

Appendix: TypeScript

As long-time readers of this blog (and many folks in the Ember community) know, I’m a huge advocate of TypeScript. I’m particularly a fan of using types to guarantee that our data is always in a valid state. In the implementation of AsyncData as we have it, we do always have data in a valid state — but that’s just because we’ve been careful, and our end users can pretty easily interact with AsyncData in unsafe ways. What might it look like to make it so that we can never construct invalid data, and so that our end users need to interact more safely with the data?

For this example, I am assuming rather than explaining the TypeScript features in use.

One key challenge and constraint is that the AsyncData type has to work in two programming languages: JavaScript (or TypeScript) and Glimmer templates. The TypeScript features I would normally reach for here simply don’t work all that well in Glimmer templates. So take what follows with that in mind: trying to make this more robust will mean that it will be slightly harder to use in templates — and any concessions we make to the template ergonomics will necessarily make our implementation less type-safe. That means that the most useful ways to use this implementation will be a little different on the TS side than on the Glimmer template side.

The key things to note here are:

  • I’ve done as I suggested in the main part of the post, and made the internal state be a union of object types. This means that it would be a type error if we wrote a type in the resolveWith or rejectWith methods. It also means that callers can actually use AsyncValue.data directly and switch on its state property to get safe access to value or error. (This is how I would recommend people access it!)

  • Unfortunately, exposing the state and value and error getters means that users can also engage in unsafe runtime behavior. The unfortunate reality, though, is that until we have type-checked templates, even making users go through the data getter wouldn’t help here: you could always write {{asyncData.data.value}} and it would simply throw via the debug assertion when it wasn’t in the correct state.

  • The use of the assert functions guarantees that our getters for value and error are in fact safe. The type for assert takes advantage of TypeScript 3.7’s assertion functions to inform the type system of which variant the Data is in. This helps in that users will get those runtime failures in their tests if they don’t check the state correctly, but it unfortunately means that you can also just write someAsyncData.value and it will type-check.

  • I have added // SAFETY: ... comments for the places where we have to make type casts. TypeScript cannot track the guarantees we’re upholding via our invariants. I always write this kind of comment on any type cast I write, so that it’s clear later what has to remain true for the cast to remain safe.5

Here’s what the TS implementation would look like:

import { helper } from '@ember/component/helper';
import { assert } from '@ember/debug';
import { tracked } from '@glimmer/tracking';

type Data<Value> =
  | { state: 'LOADING' }
  | { state: 'LOADED', value: Value }
  | { state: 'ERROR', error: unknown }
  ;

class AsyncData<Value, Err = unknown> {
  @tracked private _data: Data<Value> = { state: 'LOADING' };

  get data(): Data<Value> {
    return this._data;
  }

  get state(): Data<Value>['state'] {
    return this._data.state;
  }

  get value(): Value {
    assert(
      `cannot get 'value' with state ${this._data.state}`,
      this._data.state === 'LOADED'
    );

    return this._data.value;
  }

  get error(): unknown {
    assert(
      `cannot get 'reason' with state ${this._data.state}`,
      this._data.state === 'ERROR'
    );

    return this._data.error;
  }

  get isLoading(): boolean {
    return this._data.state === 'LOADING';
  }

  get isLoaded(): boolean {
    return this._data.state === 'LOADED';
  }

  get isError(): boolean {
    return this._data.state === 'ERROR';
  }

  resolveWith(value: Value): void {
    this._data = { state: 'LOADED', value };
  }

  rejectWith(error: Err): void {
    this._data = { state: 'ERROR', error };
  }
}

const MAP: WeakMap<Promise<unknown>, AsyncData<unknown>>
  = new WeakMap();

function load<Value>(
  somePromise: Promise<Value>
): AsyncData<Value> {
  let existingAsyncData = MAP.get(somePromise);
  if (existingAsyncData) {
    // SAFETY: this cast only holds because we *know* that we've
    // kept the `Promise` and the `AsyncData` instances in sync
    // via the `WeakMap`. If that were not the case, this cast
    // would be `unsafe`.
    return existingAsyncData as unknown as AsyncData<Value>;
  }

  // SAFETY: this only holds because we are working with
  // `Promise<Value>`.
  let asyncData = new AsyncData<Value>();
  MAP.set(somePromise, asyncData);

  somePromise.then(
    (value) => asyncData.resolveWith(value),
    (error) => asyncData.rejectWith(error)
  );

  return asyncData;
}

export default helper(
  ([somePromise]: [Promise<unknown>]) => load(somePromise)
);

  1. I would actually seriously consider reworking this in terms of a tracked WeakMap implementation for use with TypeScript to make these guarantees that much more reliable! ↩︎

  2. We could actually implement true privacy ourselves, using the same technique that Babel and TypeScript use — a WeakMap associating each instance and a POJO containing its private fields — but it doesn’t really matter for our purposes, and might not be compatible with a future version of the decorators spec anyway. ↩︎

  3. If you reference the gist I published for load and AsyncData, you’ll notice that these asserts are not present. This is a matter of backwards compatibility with pre-Octane code. We’ll be working with autotracking in the next section, and therefore could use plain getters to access the state and update correctly.

    However, if you refer to these getters with @computed or any of the computed property macros, using the @dependentKeyCompat decorator, this will cause problems, because classic computed properties actually invoke the getters for their dependent keys, and so will invoke these even when users don’t intend to. ↩︎

  4. If you look at the source gist for the implementation we’re using currently, you’ll see a few differences and additions to what I described in this post:

    • We use @dependentKeyCompat to interoperate with Ember Classic computed properties, and avoid the debug assertions in the value and error getters for the same reason.

    • We have support for treating AsyncData as a then-able” — that is, for making it possible to use it basically like you would a Promise. That is useful, but it’s not actually key to understanding the type and how to use it, so I left it aside in this discussion.

    • We also support passing in non-Promise data, and turning it into a Promise and AsyncData which are immediately resolved. In retrospect, I’d really prefer to remove this and have people think about their data more carefully — even just requiring them to explicitly do load(Promise.resolve(123)) in those cases instead of load(123).

    ↩︎
  5. This is an idea I stole from Rust, where most of the community idiomatically uses the same kind of comments anywhere that Rust’s unsafe keyword appears in code. ↩︎