In this blog post, we will look at how using async / await simplified an Auth0 Webtask serverless function.

The idea.

In a previous post I used a serverless platform (Auth0 Webtask) to save money by watching @FreedomeVPN twitter feed for discount on their VPN service. That was a great node Js learning opportunity for me. However, it left me with a desire to try async/await in node Js which looked more familiar to me coming from the C# stack.

Since Webtask now runs on Node 8, support for async/await is available. So let’s use it.

Note: you can find the full source here

Step 1, identify what would benefit from async/await

Basically my function does 4 things:

  1. Looks up the built-in Webtask storage for the Id of the last processed tweet
  2. Makes an https request to the Twitter api (using axios http module from NPM)
  3. Sends an email using sendgrid if a discount on FreeDomeVPN was found in a tweet
  4. Updates the storage with the last processed tweet.

Everthing here is an async operation that was previously handled with callbacks (which are REALLY not as nice as async/await)

Step 2, let’s dig deeper into the storage situation

Webtask built-in storage api doesn’t support async/await natively (that I know of anyways), so let’s wrap calls to read and update storage.

Since async/await is really using Promises, I wrote this:

async function getLastTweetId(storage) {
    return new Promise(resolve => {
        storage.get(function (error, data) {

which I invoke by passing the storage object supplied by the platform:

const lastTweetId = await getLastTweetId(;

This might not seem like a big improvement but you’ll see later why it is. I also applied the same principle to the Update operation on the storage

Step 3, Make the https request to the twitter API use async/await too

This one is super straightforward since Axios already supports async/await.

const response = await axios.get(twitterUrl, { 
    headers: {
        Authorization: 'Bearer ' + context.secrets.TWITTER_API_KEY 

Step 4, putting it all together

Now that we have small async functions that can be called in a sequence, we just need to piece them together and not worry too much about the fact that they run asynchronously. We do that with one nice try/catch block

try {
    const lastTweetId = await getLastTweetId(;

    var twitterUrl = '';
    <... few lines removed for brevity> 

    const response = await axios.get(twitterUrl, { headers: { Authorization: '...' });

    <... few lines removed for brevity>

    await sendEmail(context, promoTweets[0]);
    await setLastTweetId(, tweetsToInspect[0].id_str);
    cb(null, "All done");
} catch (error) {

The fact that the main flow can be read on the same indentation line feels so much nicer to me.

Conclusion / Lessons learned / What’s next

For the same workload, using async/await resulted in:

  • Reduction of indentation by 3 (5 in the async/await way vs 8 in the callback way)

async/await is great. Feels better to me than callback ‘hell’ and getting tangled up in braces.

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