The then() method returns a Promise. It takes up to two arguments: callback functions for the success and failure cases of the Promise.

If one or both arguments are omitted, or are provided non-functions, then then will be missing the handler(s), but will not generate any errors. If the Promise that then is called on adopts a state (fulfillment or rejection) for which then has no handler, a new Promise is created with no additional handlers, simply adopting the final state of the original Promise on which then was called.

Syntax

p.then(onFulfilled[, onRejected]);

p.then(function(value) {
  // fulfillment
}, function(reason) {
  // rejection
});

Parameters

onFulfilled
A Function called if the Promise is fulfilled. This function has one argument, the fulfillment value.
onRejected Optional
A Function called if the Promise is rejected. This function has one argument, the rejection reason.

Return value

A Promise in the pending status. The handler function (onFulfilled or onRejected) gets then called asynchronously (as soon as the stack is empty). After the invocation of the handler function, if the handler function:

  • returns a value, the promise returned by then gets resolved with the returned value as its value;
  • throws an error, the promise returned by then gets rejected with the thrown error as its value;
  • returns an already resolved promise, the promise returned by then gets resolved with that promise's value as its value;
  • returns an already rejected promise, the promise returned by then gets rejected with that promise's value as its value.
  • returns another pending promise object, the resolution/rejection of the promise returned by then will be subsequent to the resolution/rejection of the promise returned by the handler. Also, the value of the promise returned by then will be the same as the value of the promise returned by the handler.

Following, an example to demonstrate the asynchronicity of the then method.

// using a resolved promise, the 'then' block will be triggered instantly, but its handlers will be triggered asynchronously as demonstrated by the console.logs
var resolvedProm = Promise.resolve(33);

var thenProm = resolvedProm.then(function(value){
    console.log("this gets called after the end of the main stack. the value received and returned is: " + value);
    return value;
});
// instantly logging the value of thenProm
console.log(thenProm);

// using setTimeout we can postpone the execution of a function to the moment the stack is empty
setTimeout(function(){
    console.log(thenProm);
});


// logs, in order:
// Promise {[[PromiseStatus]]: "pending", [[PromiseValue]]: undefined}
// "this gets called after the end of the main stack. the value received and returned is: 33"
// Promise {[[PromiseStatus]]: "resolved", [[PromiseValue]]: 33}

Description

As the then and Promise.prototype.catch() methods return promises, they can be chained — an operation called composition.

Examples

Using the then method

var p1 = new Promise( (resolve, reject) => {
  resolve('Success!');
  // or
  // reject ("Error!");
} );

p1.then( value => {
  console.log(value); // Success!
}, reason => {
  console.log(reason); // Error!
} );

Chaining

The then method returns a Promise which allows for method chaining.

If the function passed as handler to then returns a Promise, an equivalent Promise will be exposed to the subsequent then in the method chain. The below snippet simulates asynchronous code with the setTimeout function. 

Promise.resolve('foo')
  // 1. Receive "foo", concatenate "bar" to it, and resolve that to the next then
  .then(function(string) {
    return new Promise(function(resolve, reject) {
      setTimeout(function() {
        string += 'bar';
        resolve(string);
      }, 1);
    });
  })
  // 2. receive "foobar", register a callback function to work on that string
  // and print it to the console, but not before returning the unworked on
  // string to the next then
  .then(function(string) {
    setTimeout(function() {
      string += 'baz';
      console.log(string);
    }, 1)
    return string;
  })
  // 3. print helpful messages about how the code in this section will be run
  // before the string is actually processed by the mocked asynchronous code in the
  // previous then block.  
  .then(function(string) {
    console.log("Last Then:  oops... didn't bother to instantiate and return " +
                "a promise in the prior then so the sequence may be a bit " +
                "surprising");

    // Note that `string` will not have the 'baz' bit of it at this point. This 
    // is because we mocked that to happen asynchronously with a setTimeout function
    console.log(string);
  });

When a value is simply returned from within a then handler, it will effectively return Promise.resolve(<value returned by whichever handler was called>).

var p2 = new Promise(function(resolve, reject) {
  resolve(1);
});

p2.then(function(value) {
  console.log(value); // 1
  return value + 1;
}).then(function(value) {
  console.log(value + '- This synchronous usage is virtually pointless'); // 2- This synchronous usage is virtually pointless
});

p2.then(function(value) {
  console.log(value); // 1
});

A then call will return a rejected promise if the function throws an error or returns a rejected Promise.

Promise.resolve()
  .then( () => {
    // Makes .then() return a rejected promise
    throw 'Oh no!';
  })
  .then( () => { 
    console.log( 'Not called.' );
  }, reason => {
    console.error( 'onRejected function called: ', reason );
  });

In all other cases, a resolving Promise is returned. In the following example, the first then() will return 42 wrapped resolving Promise even though the previous Promise in the chain was rejected.

Promise.reject()
  .then( () => 99, () => 42 ) // onRejected returns 42 which is wrapped in a resolving Promise
  .then( solution => console.log( 'Resolved with ' + solution ) ); // Resolved with 42

In practice, it is often desirable to catch rejected promises rather than use then's two case syntax, as demonstrated below.

Promise.resolve()
  .then( () => {
    // Makes .then() return a rejected promise
    throw 'Oh no!';
  })
  .catch( reason => {
    console.error( 'onRejected function called: ', reason );
  })
  .then( () => {
    console.log( "I am always called even if the prior then's promise rejects" );
  });


You can also use chaining to implement one function with a Promise-based API on top of another such function.

function fetch_current_data() {
  // The fetch() API returns a Promise.  This function
  // exposes a similar API, except the fulfillment
  // value of this function's Promise has had more
  // work done on it.
  return fetch('current-data.json').then((response) => {
    if (response.headers.get('content-type') != 'application/json') {
      throw new TypeError();
    }
    var j = response.json();
    // maybe do something with j
    return j; // fulfillment value given to user of
              // fetch_current_data().then()
  });
}

If onFulfilled returns a promise, the return value of then will be resolved/rejected by the promise.

function resolveLater(resolve, reject) {
  setTimeout(function () {
    resolve(10);
  }, 1000);
}
function rejectLater(resolve, reject) {
  setTimeout(function () {
    reject(20);
  }, 1000);
}

var p1 = Promise.resolve('foo');
var p2 = p1.then(function() {
  // Return promise here, that will be resolved to 10 after 1 second
  return new Promise(resolveLater);
});
p2.then(function(v) {
  console.log('resolved', v);  // "resolved", 10
}, function(e) {
  // not called
  console.log('rejected', e);
});

var p3 = p1.then(function() {
  // Return promise here, that will be rejected with 20 after 1 second
  return new Promise(rejectLater);
});
p3.then(function(v) {
  // not called
  console.log('resolved', v);
}, function(e) {
  console.log('rejected', e); // "rejected", 20
});

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
ECMAScript 2015 (6th Edition, ECMA-262)
The definition of 'Promise.prototype.then' in that specification.
Standard Initial definition in an ECMA standard.
ECMAScript Latest Draft (ECMA-262)
The definition of 'Promise.prototype.then' in that specification.
Living Standard  

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support32 Yes29 No198
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidIE mobileOpera AndroidiOS Safari
Basic support4.4.432 Yes29 No Yes8

See also