April 29, 2023

The best way to handle errors in promises

Promise error handling in TypeScript with async/await, exceptions, and propagation techniques.


As JavaScript applications grow in complexity, managing asynchronous operations becomes increasingly important. Promises, introduced in ECMAScript 6 (ES6), simplify asynchronous code by providing a more robust and expressive way of working with these operations. TypeScript, a typed superset of JavaScript, leverages the power of Promises and ES6 features, such as async/await, to further streamline error handling.

In this article, we will explore the best ways to handle Promise errors in TypeScript, from error propagation to exception handling. We will begin with a brief overview of Promises and async/await in ES6, followed by an introduction to error handling and exceptions in JavaScript and TypeScript. Then, we will discuss the try-catch block and provide examples. Finally, we will delve into handling errors within Promises, propagating them if necessary, and common pitfalls to avoid.

Understanding Promises and Async/Await

A Promise is a JavaScript object representing the eventual completion or failure of an asynchronous operation. It provides a standardized API for handling asynchronous results and greatly simplifies callback-based code. A Promise is in one of three states:

  1. Pending: The initial state; neither fulfilled nor rejected.
  2. Fulfilled: The operation completed successfully, resulting in a resulting value.
  3. Rejected: The operation failed, resulting in a reason for the failure.

Promises can be chained, allowing for sequential execution of asynchronous operations. The 'then()' method is used to attach callbacks to the Promise that will be called when the Promise is fulfilled, while the 'catch()' method is used to handle rejections. The 'finally()' method allows you to execute code regardless of whether the Promise is fulfilled or rejected.

ES6 introduced the async/await syntax, which simplifies working with Promises by allowing you to write asynchronous code that looks like synchronous code. An async function is defined using the 'async' keyword, and it returns a Promise. Within an async function, you can use the 'await' keyword to pause the execution of the function until the Promise is fulfilled or rejected.

Error Handling in JavaScript and TypeScript

Error handling is a crucial aspect of programming. It involves detecting, managing, and resolving errors that occur during the execution of code. Proper error handling helps maintain application stability, provide meaningful error messages to users, and simplify debugging.

In JavaScript and TypeScript, errors can be thrown using the 'throw' keyword, followed by an expression, typically an Error object. An Error object includes properties such as 'name', 'message', and 'stack', which provide useful information about the error. Custom error types can be created by extending the built-in Error class.

What is an exception and when to use exception

An exception is an abnormal event or error that occurs during the execution of a program. When an exception is thrown, the normal flow of the program is interrupted, and the JavaScript runtime searches for an appropriate exception handler to address the issue. If no suitable handler is found, the runtime stops executing the program and generates an error message.

Propagating promise errors

In this TypeScript example, we'll demonstrate how to propagate Promise errors using the then() and catch() methods, as well as the async/await syntax with try-catch blocks.

Using then() and catch():

Using async/await with try-catch blocks:

In both examples, we simulate an asynchronous operation that can either succeed or fail. We catch errors and re-throw them to propagate them further down the Promise chain or through additional async function calls. By handling propagated errors at the appropriate level, we can maintain consistent error handling throughout the application.