Process overview

The following shows the process boundaries

We have two libraries to manage this (designed for simple RPC) and both of them follow the same principle of QueryResponse async programming.

Async programming

There are NPM libraries for such stuff but none written with the requirements of TypeScript in mind.

  • DRY: A contract should only be defined once and any edits to that should result in compile errors in all places that need to change.
  • Understanding Code: Doing a find reference on a contract should show both callers and implementation.

Basic principle

Consider a function that takes a JavaScript object Query and returns a promise to a JavaScript object Response. If we have such an function (QRFunction<Query,Response>) it is trivial to take the same code (as long as its runtime dependencies allow it) and:

  • mutate it on the calling side to simply pass the Query it over a JSON layer (e.g. a socket connection OR Inter Process Communication ipc for node workers) and wait for a response, creating a Promise in the meantime to pass back, and resolve this promise when the JSON layer comes back with the actual response.
  • use it as is on the called side, but just register with the JSON layer as a responder for the query (detected by name).


On thing to note is the as long as its runtime dependencies allow it gotcha (e.g. some function might depend on fs and you don't want to import such a module on the client). This is not always true, so we just create a pseudo object and call it contract. The calling side needs to do nothing with this object (except mutate it as documented), but the called side needs to provide a concrete implementation.

  • We just let TypeScript verify the overall implementation on the called side by a line like var _checkTypes: typeof contract.worker = Worker;).
  • Additionally individual function implementations use the contract too (e.g. export var fileListUpdated: typeof contract.master.fileListUpdated = (q) => {) and let TypeScript do the necessary type inference (Query) and validation Promise<Qesponse>.

Two way

The contract can be two way by just having two contracts. E.g. for a socket : client -> server and server -> client. Having a contracts separated from implementations also means that we don't have to deal with cyclic dependencies when writing the implementations.


To take the contract + implementation and work the magic we have two libraries, socketLib and simpleWorker, that work over sockets and IPC respectively.

More than just Promises

Basically anything that is async in its contract can be used under the same principle. Our socketLib allows us to convert events raised from the server become events that are emitted (cast) to all the clients. Great for stuff like an up to date error list, file changes etc.

Example FrontEnd

We use socketio in the frontend. Checkout the socket folder which contains the socket contract + server + client :rose:


Checkout the example fileListing worker. Here is are the snippets you need to create a new worker:


import * as sw from "../../utils/simpleWorker";

 * There are two contracts
 * A contract on how the master --calls--> worker
 * A contract on how the worker --calls--> master
export const worker = {
    // TODO: Put your own
    echo: {} as sw.QRFunction<{ text: string, num: number }, { text: string, num: number }>,

export const master = {
    // TODO: Put your own
    increment: {} as sw.QRFunction<{ num: number }, { num: number }>,


import * as sw from "../../utils/simpleWorker";
import * as contract from "./fileListingContract";

namespace Master {
    export const increment: typeof contract.master.increment = (q) => {
        return Promise.resolve({
            num: ++q.num

// Ensure that the namespace follows the contract
const _checkTypes: typeof contract.master = Master;
// launch worker
export const {worker} = sw.startWorker({
    workerPath: __dirname + '/fileListingWorker',
    workerContract: contract.worker,
    masterImplementation: Master
export function start() {
    // Any optional initilization on worker;


import * as sw from "../../utils/simpleWorker";
import * as contract from "./fileListingContract";

namespace Worker {
    export const echo: typeof contract.worker.echo = (q) => {
        return master.increment(q).then((res) => {
            return {
                text: q.text,
                num: res.num

// Ensure that the namespace follows the contract
const _checkTypes: typeof contract.worker = Worker;
// run worker
export const {master} = sw.runWorker({
    workerImplementation: Worker,
    masterContract: contract.master

You generally want to export a start function in the master and just call that to ensure that master file is loaded (hence worker started).

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