Finish Your Node App book cover

Finish Your Node App

Master asynchronous calls and write programs that do what you intended

After five rewrites your Node program still doesn’t do what you want!

You know how frustrating it is to try to make your Node program do what you want. The code you’ve written has no syntax errors, but running it has strange behavior like:

  • Node doesn’t wait for your database call to finish
  • your variable is undefined
  • your HTTP calls fire at the same time, not after each other like you intended

You’re supposed to “think asynchronously” when programming in Node but it’s not exactly clear how to accomplish this. The best you can do is mimick code seen in tutorials and hope it’ll just work. And when it doesn’t work, you have no clue how to take control of the scary looking code full of callbacks.

Trying to find focumentation is discouraging. How come the official docs at have no word on how you’re supposed to program Node? Looks like the real information is scattered across blogs, Github issues and Stack Overflow answers. That route seems to take forever and you don’t even know where to start.

You know it’s possible to make real-world Node apps, there’s plenty of existing projects out there, but you’re just not able to pull it off yourself.

What if you could turn the plan in your head into working code?

What if you were able to take the vision in your head and turn it into a working and running program. Imagine knowing exactly which statement to write next. You’d be the one in control of your app. You’d write programs that

  • finish database calls and only then continue further processing
  • have variables filled with values every time you need them
  • have HTTP calls that run one at a time

You’d be able to express program logic in Node.js. Every statement in your program would have a reason to exist. Time spent working on your app would go to implementing new features.

It’s true asynchronous calls are a little hard to grasp but it’s possible to make your text editor the place where working programs are created.

Grab Finish Your Node App book and start writing programs that actually work

The key to writing programs that do what you want is to understand how Node works. The internals of Node are predictable when you zoom out from the level of individual statements and for-loops. When you look at the system that takes over when you return from a top-level function you’ll start to understand how calls get executed.

When you understand what takes place behind the scenes you get the right mental model on how to write Node programs. And that is exactly what you’ll learn in this book. You’ll learn

  • the role of a node programmer, that is to start operations, register functions and let control back
  • the two-fold nature of starting operation in the background and receiving results later
  • execution order of calls, when callbacks are run
  • how to make things run at the same time or after each other
  • making use of waiting time
  • care about other computations taking place in your program

Theory alone is not enough if you don’t get to practice your newly learned skills. Therefore you’ll be writing five programs as exercise assignments. You get to build a news aggregator and a Twitter bot, call weather APIs and cryptographic hash functions.

The book is written in a concise form that is perfect for busy developers who don’t have too much spare time on their hands. You can download the table of contents and two sample chapters (here).

Finish Your Node App Preview Image
Finish Your Node App Preview Image
Finish Your Node App Preview Image
Finish Your Node App Preview Image

Table of contents

What You Need to Know to Write Your First App

  • Initial User Code
  • Role of Node Programmer
  • System


  • System Calls Initial User Code
  • Waiting For Activity and Calling Registered Functions
  • Pseudo-code of System

Returning Control Back

  • Ways to Return Control Back

Reading Files

  • File Read Program
  • Call Returns Without Results
  • Function Is Called When Results Are In
  • Error Argument

Reading Code

  • Synchronously Called Function
  • Asynchronously Called Function

Visualizing Program Execution

  • Visualizing First Program

Putting Dependent Logic Inside Callback

  • Reading Files
  • Making HTTP Calls

Making Use of Waiting Time

  • Communicating with Network is Slow
  • Worker Threads
  • Making Use of Waiting Time

Bonus: Caring for Other Computations

  • SetImmediate
  • Prime Numbers
  • Prime Numbers with Other Activity

Bonus: Complete System

  • process.nextTick()
  • Complete System

Q & A

Should I know JavaScript before reading the book?

You should know entry level JavaScript and have some previous experience in programming. You don't need in-depth experience with Node. All advanced Node topics are introduced with links to additional material.

Does the book teach async-library, Promises, generators or async/await?

No. This book is for learning asynchronous calls and the operating principles at the heart of Node. The book uses callbacks and plain Node. Learning async-library, Promises, generators and async/await is recommended after reading this book and is much easier after you've mastered the basics.

Does the book use ES6?

The examples use ES5 version of JavaScript. ES6 is worth learning, but you should learn only one new thing at a time so the book sticks to ES5.