In this article, we will be looking at async keyword in javascript with examples. async is used with functions in javascript.

A simple javascript function is defined with function keyword and is invoked using the name of function. Example,

// define function
function printMessage() {
   document.write('Hello World!');
}

// call function
printMessage();

Above code defines a function and then invokes it. This will print

Hello World!

Nothing special till this point.
async function
A function definition preceded with async keyword becomes an asyc function.
Unlike a normal function which returns the value, an async function returns a javascript promise .
This promise is in fulfilled state and wraps the value returned by the function. async function is invoked in the same way as normal functions.
If you print the value returned by an async function, then it will be a promise as shown below.

// define an async function
async function getMessage() {
  return "Learning js";
}

console.log(getMessage());

This prints

PromiseĀ {<fulfilled>: “Learning js”}

Getting value from async function
async function always returns a promise by default. This promise contains the actual value returned by the function which can be retrieved using then() method of the promise.
Example,

// define an async function
async function getMessage() {
  return "Learning js";
}

// invoke function and get result
getMessage().then(function(val) {
   document.write(val)
});

Above code defines an async function and invokes it.
This function is guaranteed to return a promise. Notice how the returned value is retrieved using then() method.

then() accepts a callback function as argument. This callback function takes a single argument which contains the value returned by the promise.
Callback function can also be written as an arrow function as shown below

getMessage().then(val => {
   document.write(val)
});

A normal function can be converted to an async function if it returns a promise.
Thus, below function is the same as an async function.

function getMessage(){
  return new Promise((resolve, reject)=>{
    resolve('Learning js');
  });
}

or more concisely

function getMessage(){
  return Promise.resolve('Learning js');
}

async function expression
An async function can be assigned to a variable and this syntax is called function expression.
A function expression is invoked using the variable to which the function is assigned. Example,

// async function expression
let m = async function getMessage() {
  return "Learning js";
}

It can be shortened using an arrow function as

// async function expression as arrow function
let m = async () => {
  return "Learning js";
}

A function expression can be invoked as

m().then(val => document.write(val));

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