Memoize AJAX requests without data inconsistency

A common problem working with ajax is firing duplicate requests. A common solution is to first check if a request is ongoing. I solved this problem differently by memoizing the get request for the lifetime of the request.

Memoization is storing the results of a function call and returning the cached result when the same inputs occur. This is often used to optimize expensive function calls, but I see value in using it here. In the code below we use Restangular, but the concept works just as well for any promise based request library.

function memoizedService(route) {
    var service = Restangular.service(route);
    var hasher = JSON.stringify;
    var memoizedGetList = _.memoize(service.getList, hasher);
 
    /**
    * Get list, but if there already is a request ongoing with the same
    * params then return the existing request.
    * @param {Object} params
    * @return {promise}
    */

    service.getList = function(params) {
        return memoizedGetList(params).finally(function() {
            delete memoized.cache[hasher(params)];
        });
    }

     return service;
}
var questionEndpoint = Restangular.memoizedService('question');

Make sure you install underscore with a bit of

bower install underscore --save

Then, to use the feature we would do:

questionEndpoint.getList({page: 1});

If we request page 1 when there is already a request for page 1 then the second `getList` will return the same promise that the first request returned and you will only see 1 request for page 1 in the network panel. Note importantly we also remove the cached request when the request is complete. This prevents data consistency problems: a get request can return different data over time (e.g., more records), and we want to make sure the user receives the most up to date data.

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