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Difference Between Promise and Async/Await in Node

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March 15th, 2024

In making computer programs, especially with Node.js, we often need to do things that take some time, like asking a friend to get something from the store.  While waiting, we don’t want to sit around doing nothing; we want to keep busy with other things.  When we talk about these wait times, we talk about “asynchronous programming.” It’s a way for the computer to keep working while waiting for something else to finish.

In Node.js, there are two main ways to handle these wait times: Promise and async/await.

There are different methods of keeping track.  Let’s find out how they work and why they’re important for making great computer programs.

Promises in Node.js

In Node.js, a Promise is like making a promise to a friend.  You say you will do something, and your friend waits for you to finish.  In computer terms, a Promise is a way to deal with things that take time, like getting information from the Internet.

When you use a Promise, you tell the computer, “I promise to give you an answer later.” The computer can then do other things while it waits for the answer.  Once the answer is ready, the computer will know what to do next, whether the answer was good (the task was completed) or not so good (there was a problem).

Promises make writing programs that wait for things easier because they help track what should happen after the wait.  They are like a list of instructions for “what to do next” that the computer follows, ensuring nothing gets mixed up.

Async/await in Node.js.

Now, let’s talk about another way to handle waiting in Node.js: async/await.  Think of “async” as saying, “This task might take some time,” and “await” as saying, “Wait here for the task to finish before moving on.” Together, they work like magic words that help your computer program wait for things without getting confused.

Using async/await makes your code look cleaner and easier to understand.  It’s like reading a story that goes in order, from start to finish, without jumping around.  This way, when someone else reads your code, or even you come back to it later, it’s much easier to see what’s happening and when things are supposed to happen.

Async/await is especially handy because it lets you write waiting tasks in a way that feels more natural, almost like they’re not waiting at all.  It’s a big help for making programs that need to wait for stuff, like when your program needs to ask another computer for information.

Key Differences Between Promise and async/await

When we look at Promise and async/await in Node, we see they both help with waiting tasks but do it differently.  Here’s how they are different:

  1. Promises are like saying, “I will tell you later,” and the computer keeps doing other things while waiting.  You use .then() to say what should happen after the promise is kept and .catch() to say what should do if the promise can’t be kept.
  2. Async/await makes your code look like it’s not waiting at all, even though it is.  You write async before a function to say, “This function has some waiting inside.” Then, you use await to say, “Wait here until this specific waiting task is done.”

The big difference is how they make the code look and feel.  Promises are great, but they can make your code look a bit complicated because of .then() and .catch().  Async/await makes your code cleaner and easier to read, like a story from beginning to end.

Choosing between them depends on what you’re doing.  If you like keeping track of promises with .then() and .catch(), you might prefer promises.  If you like your code to look simple and straight, you might prefer async/await.  Both are good choices in Node.js; it just depends on how you like to write your code.

Practical Applications and Use Cases

In making apps and websites, knowing when to use Promise and async/await is like picking the right tool for a job.  Sometimes, you might need a hammer; other times, a screwdriver is better.  Promise and async/await help your program wait for something, like information from the internet, but they work best in different situations.

For example, if you’re building an app that asks for lots of information from different places, async/await can make your code easier to read and understand.  It’s like following a straight path to get somewhere.  But, if you’re working on a smaller task that just needs to wait for one thing, a Promise might be all you need.  It’s like sending a quick note saying, “Let me know when you’re done.”

Knowing which one to use helps make your app or website work better.  It can also help The App Founders see how smoothly and quickly you can make things happen, ensuring their support is well used.  It’s all about choosing the right tool at the right time to make the best apps and websites.

Impact on App Development Costs

When making an app, thinking about Promise and async/await can also change how much time and money you need to spend.  Just like faster shipping might cost more, picking the right way to handle waiting in your code can save time and money.

However, sometimes you might need to use Promises for specific tasks because they fit better.  It’s like choosing the right package for shipping; you wouldn’t use a big box for something small.  Making smart choices between Promise and async/await helps keep app development costs right, not too high or too low.

Improving Mobile App Navigation with async/await

When making apps, especially ones people use on their phones, making sure mobile app navigation is smooth is very important.  No one likes to wait too long for things to load or move around in an app.  This is where async/await can help.  It’s like making sure the path is clear for you to walk through without stopping.

Using async/await helps your app talk to the internet or other parts of the phone quickly and without getting stuck.  This means it happens fast when someone uses your app to find something or go somewhere.  They tap on something, and right away, they see what they want.  This good experience makes people happy to use your app.


So, we learned a lot about Promise and async/await in Node.  Choosing the right one can make your app faster and easier to use, which everyone likes.  It also helps keep the cost of making the app right, not too expensive or cheap.

Understanding Promise and async/await is crucial for anyone making apps or websites.  It helps ensure your app works well and gives people a good experience, which is what making apps is all about.

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