Returning a value from a Promise

I would like to call the Google Maps Geocoding API using a Promise like this:

function makeGeoCodingRequest(address,bounds)
{
    /*
        Input parameters:
            address:a string
            bounds: an object of class google.maps.LatLngBounds(southWest,northEast)

        This will return a set of locations from the google geocoding library for the given query
     */
    var url="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?address=" + address + "&key=AIzaSyD9GBloPC20X-1kWRo7sm_0z5xvCiaSd3c";
    var promise,response;
    var messages={
            "ZERO_RESULTS":"No results were found",
            "OVER_QUERY_LIMIT":"We are over the query limit.Wait awhile before making a request",
            "REQUEST_DENIED":"Request was denied,probably using a bad or expired API Key",
            "INVALID_REQUEST":"Request was sent without the required address,component or component",
            "UNKNOWN_ERROR": "There was an error somewhere on Google's servers" 
    };
    if(address)
        promise=Q($.ajax({
            type: "GET",
            url: "https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?address=" + address + "&key=API_KEY"
        }));
        return promise.then(function(data) {
            if (data.status === "OK") return data;
            else    console.error(messages[data.status]);
            return null;    
        });
}

When I call the function makeGeoCodingRequest request,I find that I obtain a promise instead of a value:

 var geo=makeGeoCodingRequest(address);
 console.log(Q.isPromise(geo));//returns true

Why isnt promise.then executed before the value was returned? How can I obtain a value from this promise instead of another promise?

Answers:

Answer

If you depend on a promise in order to return your data, you must return a promise from your function.

Once 1 function in your callstack is async, all functions that want to call it have to be async as well if you want to continue linear execution. ( async = return a promise )

Notice that your if statement does not have braces and thus only the first statement after it will not be executed if the condition fails.

I fixed it in this example. Notice the remarks I added.

if(address){
    promise=Q($.ajax({
        type: "GET",
        url: "https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?address=" + address + "&key=API_KEY"
    }));
    return promise.then(function(data) {
        // whatever you return here will also become the resolve value of the promise returned by makeGeoCodingRequest
        // If you don't want to validate the data, you can in fact just return the promise variable directly
        // you probably want to return a rejected promise here if status is not what you expected
        if (data.status === "OK") return data;
            else console.error(messages[data.status]);
        return null;    
    });
}

You must call makeGeoCodingRequest in the following fashion.

makeGeoCodingRequest(address,bounds).then(function(data){
    // this will contain whatever 
    console.log(data);
});
Answer

I find that I obtain a promise instead of a value

Yes, because the operation is asynchronous and returns a promise which represents the future value.

Why isnt promise.then executed before the value was returned?

Because it's asynchronous. .then will (must) never execute its callback before it returns another promise.

How can I obtain a value from this promise instead of another promise?

You are getting the value in the callback:

makeGeoCodingRequest(address).then(function(geo) {
    console.log(geo)
    console.log(Q.isPromise(geo)); // false
    // do anything with the value here
})
// if you need to do anything with the result of the callback computation:
// you're getting back another promise for that!

It's impossible to obtain it synchronously from the promise (many have tried). That would mean blocking execution, which we don't want - let's stay async and non-blocking!

Answer

You are returning a promise from the function makeGeoCodingRequest. That is a good thing according to me, this helps you chain any more async calls if required in future. What I would suggest is to use a .then() on the returned promise and check if the promise has any returned value or error in the following manner.

var geoPromise = makeGeoCodingRequest(address); 
geoPromise.then(
   onSuccess(result){
       // You can use the result that was passed from the function here.. 
   }, 
   onFailure(response){
      // Handle the error returned by the function.
   }
);
Answer

If you want your code to wait until the asynchronous action is completed before continuing (BAD IDEA - the page will freeze while the request is completing) then add async: false to the ajax request's parameters.

My recommendation, though, is to have makeGeoCodingRequest return nothing directly - and simply give it an extra argument, requestCallback so that its caller can pass in a function that will be called when the data is available. Call that function, with the resulting data, inside of your promise.then function.

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