Asynchronous Actions

Components can perform asynchronous actions by dispatching a thunk instead of an action object.

What's a thunk?

A thunk is just a function which can dispatch an action. You can do anything you like inside the function, and dispatch the action at any point. Some common use cases are:

  • Fetching data
  • Performing animations
  • Setting timeouts

Thunks take two arguments:

  • dispatch (Function) - a regular dispatcher function.
  • getState (Function) - a function which returns the current state of the component

Since a thunk can dispatch an action, it is possible to chain asynchronous actions. This allows for much more complex scenarios where you need fine grained control over how actions flow through your component.


Below are some examples of how to use asynchronous actions. The RandomGif example also makes use of asynchronous actions.

Wait before dispatching an action

In this example, the HELLO action is dispatched one second after the Hello! button is clicked.

// Thunks can be dispatched in the normal way from view()
function view (state, dispatch) {
  return <button ev-click={hello()}>Hello!</button>

// The thunk can dispatch a regular action object
function hello () {
  return dispatch => {
    setTimeout(() => {
      dispatch({ type: 'HELLO' })
    }, 1000)

Fetching data before dispatching an action

In this example, the RECEIVE_GIF action is dispatched after the response from a fetch is returned.

// Use dispatch() in the view to dispatch a thunk
function view (state, dispatch) {
  return (
    <button ev-click={dispatch(getGifs())}>
      Get another GIF!

// Return a thunk which fetches some data, builds an action from the response,
// and then dispatches that action
function getGifs () {
  return dispatch => {
      .then(response => response.json())
      .then(response => dispatch(receiveGif(response)))

// Create a plain action object out of the response
function receiveGif (response) {
  return {
    type: 'RECEIVE_GIF',

Note: Under the hood, Plait uses Thunk middleware for Redux to enable asynchronous actions.

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