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Reply: 5

Using async/await with a forEach loop

saadq Published in 2016-06-01 18:55:58Z

Are there any issues with using async/await in a forEach loop? I'm trying to loop through an array of files and await on the contents of each file.

import fs from 'fs-promise'

async function printFiles () {
  const files = await getFilePaths() // Assume this works fine

  files.forEach(async (file) => {
    const contents = await fs.readFile(file, 'utf8')


This code does work, but could something go wrong with this? I had someone tell me that you're not supposed to use async/await in a higher order function like this so I just wanted to ask if there was any issue with this.

Bergi Reply to 2016-06-01 19:02:09Z

Sure the code does work, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't do what you expect it to do. It just fires off multiple asynchronous calls, but the printFiles function does immediately return after that.

If you want to read the files in sequence, you cannot use forEach indeed. Just use a modern for … of loop instead, in which await will work as expected:

async function printFiles () {
  const files = await getFilePaths();

  for (let file of files) {
    const contents = await fs.readFile(file, 'utf8');

If you want to read the files in parallel, you cannot use forEach indeed. Each of the the async callback function calls does return a promise, but you're throwing them away instead of awaiting them. Just use map instead, and you can await the array of promises that you'll get with Promise.all:

async function printFiles () {
  const files = await getFilePaths();

  await Promise.all(files.map(async (file) => {
    const contents = await fs.readFile(file, 'utf8')
Antonio Val
Antonio Val Reply to 2017-10-16 00:03:01Z

To me using Promise.all() with map() is a bit difficult to understand and verbose, but if you want to do it in plain JS that's your best shot I guess.

If you don't mind adding a module, I implemented the Array iteration methods so they can be used in a very straightforward way with async/await.

An example with your case:

const { forEach } = require('p-iteration');
const fs = require('fs-promise');

async function printFiles () {
  const files = await getFilePaths();

  await forEach(files, async (file) => {
    const contents = await fs.readFile(file, 'utf8');



Jay Edwards
Jay Edwards Reply to 2017-09-26 09:07:26Z

it's pretty painless to pop a couple methods in a file that will handle asynchronous data in a serialized order and give a more conventional flavour to your code. For example:

module.exports = function () {
  var self = this;

  this.each = async (items, fn) => {
    if (items && items.length) {
      await Promise.all(
        items.map(async (item) => {
          await fn(item);

  this.reduce = async (items, fn, initialValue) => {
    await self.each(
      items, async (item) => {
        initialValue = await fn(initialValue, item);
    return initialValue;

now, assuming that's saved at './myAsync.js' you can do something similar to the below in an adjacent file:

/* your server setup here */
var MyAsync = require('./myAsync');
var Cat = require('./models/Cat');
var Doje = require('./models/Doje');
var example = async () => {
  var myAsync = new MyAsync();
  var doje = await Doje.findOne({ name: 'Doje', noises: [] }).save();
  var cleanParams = [];

  await myAsync.each(['bork', 'concern', 'heck'], 
    async (elem) => {
      if (elem !== 'heck') {
        await doje.update({ $push: { 'noises': elem }});

  var cat = await Cat.findOne({ name: 'Nyan' });

  var friendsOfNyanCat = await myAsync.reduce(cat.friends,
    async (catArray, friendId) => {
      var friend = await Friend.findById(friendId);
      if (friend.name !== 'Long cat') {
    }, []);
  // Assuming Long Cat was a friend of Nyan Cat...
  assert(friendsOfNyanCat.length === (cat.friends.length - 1));
Human A.
Human A. Reply to 2017-08-26 10:47:21Z

Both the solutions above work, however, Antonio's does the job with less code, here is how it helped me resolve data from my database, from several different child refs and then pushing them all into an array and resolving it in a promise after all is done:

    return fireBaseRef.child(pack.folderPath).once('value',(snap)=>{
        snap.forEach( childSnap => {
            const file = childSnap.val()
            file.id = childSnap.key;
            allItems.push( file )
})).then(()=>store.dispatch( actions.allMockupItems(allItems)))
Leon li
Leon li Reply to 2017-09-24 20:00:43Z

One important caveat is: The await + for .. of method and the forEach + async way actually have different effect.

Having await inside a real for loop will make sure all async calls are executed one by one. And the forEach + async way will fire off all promises at the same time, which is faster but sometimes overwhelmed(if you do some DB query or visit some web services with volume restrictions and do not want to fire 100,000 calls at a time).

You can also use reduce + promise(less elegant) if you do not use async/await and want to make sure files are read one after another.

files.reduce((lastPromise, file) => 
 lastPromise.then(() => 
   fs.readFile(file, 'utf8')
 ), Promise.resolve()

Or you can create a forEachAsync to help but basically use the same for loop underlying.

Array.prototype.forEachAsync = async function(cb){
    for(let x of this){
        await cb(x);
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