Typescript in the Wild - Real World Examples Part 1

In an ongoing series I will be reading and discussing various Typescript code found in the wild. Reading other people's code is a great way to learn and improve your own code. First up is a random class from the popular VS Code editor.

editorAction.ts from github.com/Microsoft/vscode

 *  Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
 *  Licensed under the MIT License. See License.txt in the project root for license information.
'use strict';

import { TPromise } from 'vs/base/common/winjs.base';
import { IEditorAction } from 'vs/editor/common/editorCommon';
import { IContextKeyService, ContextKeyExpr } from 'vs/platform/contextkey/common/contextkey';

export class InternalEditorAction implements IEditorAction {

    public readonly id: string;
    public readonly label: string;
    public readonly alias: string;

    private readonly _precondition: ContextKeyExpr;
    private readonly _run: () => void | TPromise<void>;
    private readonly _contextKeyService: IContextKeyService;

        id: string,
        label: string,
        alias: string,
        precondition: ContextKeyExpr,
        run: () => void,
        contextKeyService: IContextKeyService
    ) {
        this.id = id;
        this.label = label;
        this.alias = alias;
        this._precondition = precondition;
        this._run = run;
        this._contextKeyService = contextKeyService;

    public isSupported(): boolean {
        return this._contextKeyService.contextMatchesRules(this._precondition);

    public run(): TPromise<void> {
        if (!this.isSupported()) {
            return TPromise.as(void 0);

        const r = this._run();
        return r ? r : TPromise.as(void 0);

This code is simple and readable but there are several bits that I found noteworthy unfamiliar. Below are my own thoughts and speculation.

  • Why the first line of use strict in typescript? It seems redundant. It is likely included due to being developed against older tsc versions. Now it can be easily added via compile options. More info

  • The use of underscores for private variables as a coding convention. Perhaps this convention is why they do not use common pattern of Parameter Properties like constructor(private readonly id: string

  • The usage of | in void | TPromise<void> for more flexible typing is a Union Type. There is also a & Intersection Types which I was not familiar with.

  • What is world is void 0 ? It turns out undefined could be changed/re-assigned in some older js versions (like var undefined='ooops';). The use of void 0 is a guaranteed shortcut for undefined. void is a function that takes one parameter and always returns undefined.

  • The constructor takes one parameter called run: () => void but defines the member as _run: () => void | TPromise<void>; Why?

  • What is TPromise? It looks like a custom interface extracted from winjs shims and polyfills. I can see why large projects wrap their own Promises from having my own issues in upgrading projects to async await features and running into incompatibility issues between bluebird and native promises. More info at Official recommendation for using Bluebird with async functions? and Get Bluebird Promise from async await functions