Promises in Sails JS - Remove Callback Hell

Aug 23, 2014

Hi all,

It has been a week since the last post , i was busy in my academics . Here is our new tutorial on Sails JS . This time its a very useful topic. We’ll deal with removing Callback Hell (also called Pyramid of Doom) in Javascript.

What's actually Pyramid of Doom in JS ?

Look at the picture below . This is a popular example from MDN .


Here we can see that we are doing the operations on success of related functions which makes code weird. How can remove this problem ?. Here we have a solution . We can use promises by which can remove Callback Hell .

Current Problem

Consider an application where we have

  • Student Model with Name , Classroom id , student id
  • Classroom Model with Name , Classroom id

Here if we want to

retrieve the list of all students who is in the same class of a given student and the api should return classroom details also

Callback / Normal Approach
  • Get the details of given student
  • On success of the above query , get the details of classroom
  • On success of the above query , get the details of all students who are in that classroom

This can be achieved by following code segment.

    .exec(function(err, data) {
        //Code cannot be reused ... Use it for understanding only 
        Classroom.findOne(extracted data)
            .exec(function(err, data) {

                Student.find(another data)
                    .exec(function(err, data) {
                        // Do something here
// Code only for understanding 

We can see another approach here .

Promises approach

We’ll be using promises which is available in Sails by default. Promises use the Q library, so anything you do after the first then call (or spread, or fail), will be a complete Q promise object. Remember, you must end the query somehow (by calling then or one of the other functions) in order to complete the database request.

findallStudents: function(req, res) {
    var id = req.param('id');
    Student.findOne({ stdid: id })
        .then(function(stdData) {
            //If no student found
            if (stdData === undefined)
                return res.json({ notFound: true });
            // Store Class Data	
            var classData = Classroom.findOne({ classid: stdData.classroom })
                .then(function(classData) {

                    var new_data = classData;
                    delete new_data.createdAt;
                    delete new_data.updatedAt;
                    return new_data;

            var std_data = Student.find({ classroom: stdData.classroom })
                .then(function(allData) {
                    var new_data = allData;
                    delete new_data.createdAt;
                    delete new_data.updatedAt;
                    return new_data;
            return [classData, std_data];
        .spread(function(classData, stdData) {

            var newJson = {};
            newJson.classname =;
            newJson.students = stdData;
            return res.json({ notFound: false, data: newJson });
        .fail(function(err) {
            res.json({ notFound: true, error: err });


Here we are not waiting for Classroom data to be fetched , both student details and classroom details are fetched at the same time .

Working Demo


Yaay!!! It works … We have created an API with promises here . We’ll see advanced experiments with Sails in coming tutorials.. See you there bye