Deprecated You should migrate to the new dojo/promise API. dojo/promise/all and dojo/promise/first replace the functionality provided by dojo/DeferredList.


dojo/DeferredList builds on Deferred. Deferred objects make asynchronous programming as easy as can be reasonably expected and DeferredList class builds on the “one answer to one question” contract of Deferred to provide a “one answer to many questions” system.


require(["dojo/DeferredList", "dojo/_base/Deferred"], function(DeferredList, Deferred){
  var d1 = new Deferred(),
      d2 = new Deferred();

  var dl = new DeferredList([d1, d2]);

    // Executed when all deferred resolved

  d1.resolve("some result");
  d2.resolve("some other result");


Argument Type Description
list Array The list of Deferreds to be synchronized with this DeferredList
fireOnOneCallback Boolean? Optional Will cause the DeferredList callback to be fired as soon as any of the Deferreds in its list have been fired instead of waiting until the entire list has finished
fireOnOneErrback Boolean? Optional Will cause the errback to fire upon any of the Deferreds errback
consumeErrors Boolean? Optional Will fail silently on any errors from the Deferreds
canceller Function? Optional A Deferred canceller function, see dojo/_base/Deferred.


One common task is notifying some listener when a list of resources pulled in by different services all become available. For example, a search federated across several bookstores. Hearing about the results of a single search is a good job for a Deferred, but finding out about when they’ve all completed takes more juggling.

Let’s assume we’ve installed several proxies for search services on our server. Once all the stores have been searched, we want to send an XHR call with search status to some logging service and provide the user an indication that we’ve finished up all the work we were doing on their behalf.

The services are located at:

  1. /books/amazon
  2. /books/bol
  3. /books/google

Astute readers might be asking, “why provide different services when you could let the server do the coordination through a single URL?”, for example:

  1. /books/search

which in return searches all three stores through the server. You, of course, could but in our case it might be that you are accessing different servers. (e.g. and via JSON-P).

To give the user feedback about what’s happening with the searches they issue, we have couple of options:

1. We could chain the XHR requests. Once the first request has been executed we run the second and the third and then make the call to our server.

Drawback: this will take very long since you basically are executing 3 requests after each other. Imagine 2 searches are a bit slow. This is not good.

2. We don’t chain the requests and give each request a timeout and run the request to our server when one request is complete.

Drawback: this is probably the worst thing you can do since there is no reliable way to tell whether the other requests executed.

3. We use Deferreds to issue all the requests in parallel. As soon as all three requests have been executed we will call our server, as in the following example:

require(["dojo/DeferredList", "dojo/_base/Deferred", "dojo/dom", "dojo/on", "dojo/domReady!"],
function(DeferredList, Deferred, dom, on){
  // stub search functions to simulate network latency
  function searchAmazon(){
    var d = new Deferred();
      d.resolve("We found books at Amazon");
    }, 500);
    return d;

  function searchBol(){
    var d = new Deferred();
      d.resolve("We found books at bol");
    }, 700);
    return d;

  function searchGoogle(){
    var d = new Deferred();
      d.resolve("We found books at Google");
    }, 200);
    return d;

  function search(){
    var d1 = searchAmazon(),
        d2 = searchBol(),
        d3 = searchGoogle();

    dom.byId("statusSearch").innerHTML = "Searching...";

    // create a DeferredList to aggregate the state
    var dl = new DeferredList([d1, d2, d3]);

    // a DeferredList has pretty much the same API as a Deferred
      // "result" will be an array of results
      dom.byId("statusSearch").innerHTML = "Result: " + result[0][1] + ", " + result[1][1] + ", " + result[2][1];

  on(dom.byId("search"), "click", function(){
<button id="search" type="button">Search</button>
<div style="margin: 10px;">Status: <span id="statusSearch"></span></div>

Now when you look at the code, you will see that the total amount of setTimeout milliseconds is 1400 which is 1.4 seconds. Since we used Deferred we were able to bring down the waiting time to 700 ms, which is roughly what we might expect worst-case same-domain network lag to be. Instead of having to try to serialize a group of tasks, DeferredList objects let you do multiple things at once and only deal with the results.

To make the above example “live”, you only need to note that calls to dojo/_base/xhr already returned Deferred instances, so a function like searchAmazon might be re-written as:

require(["dojo/_base/xhr"], function(xhr){
  function searchAmazon(query){
    return xhr("GET", {
      url: "/books/amazon",
      content: { q: query }

Dojo makes these patterns easy to work with, reducing the pain of asynchronous programming by using the Deferred pattern ubiquitously.

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