Simplify code by promisifying `setTimeout`

โ€ข 2 min read

Placeholder

Recently, when I was working on my practice project Microsoft Todo Clone, I needed to implement code like this:

#1 Do Task 1
#2 Wait for 200ms
#3 Do task 2
#4 Wait for 200ms
#5 Do Task 3

Notice #2 and #4. They smell of setTimeout ๐Ÿ˜–. setTimeout takes in a callback, meaning there will be an indentation. Whenever those appear, means the code's gonna get ugly.

So I wrote this code in JS

doTask1();

setTimeout(() => {
  doTask2();

  setTimeout(() => {
    doTask3();
  }, 200);
}, 200);

Now you can see for yourself, this code SMELLS. BAD.

The moment I wrote it, I knew it wouldn't work in long-term. What if I needed to an extra step of waiting and doing a Task #4? Or rearranging the order.

So, I declared a utility function and it solved the problem completely.

/**
 * @param {number} time Time to wait for in milliseconds
 */
function waitFor(time) {
  return new Promise((resolve) => setTimeout(resolve, time));
}

Here we're returning a Promise, which resolves when the setTimeout function inside runs.

It's usage would be as simple as

await waitFor(200);

So the spaghetti code above could be rearranged like this:

doTask1();

await waitFor(200);

doTask2();

await waitFor(200);

doTask3();

See how simple it became? It reads exactly like the text version I wrote at the top. It's very idiomatic ๐Ÿ˜Ž.

#Shorter code

That code snippet could be simplified further

const waitFor = (time) => new Promise((resolve) => setTimeout(resolve, time));