Building your first First Program using ThingsJS

Experimental setup

In order to write a ThingsJS component certain things should be taken into account

Below we will demonstrate an application to write your first application which is a factorial application using the ThingsJS compatible rules.

The code for this application can be found on our Github page if you want to experiment with it. It's located in the samples folder.

Usual way of writing a factorial code in Javascript

function factorialize(num) {
  if (num < 0)
        return -1;
  else if (num == 0)
      return 1;
  else {
      return (num * factorialize(num - 1));

However, the above code will not be compatible with ThingsJS.

ThingsJS Compatible code

To write a ThingsJS compatible code, certain changes have to made.

First, we cannot use a while loops or recursive functions as doing so would block the thread, preventing the migration signal from being processed. Instead, we use setImmediate to call the next step of the factorial computation.

ThingsJS gives us the ability to migrate the code from one platform to another in case of a reboot of the device. In order to ensure that the code is able to migrate and continue running from the same point the code needs to be written in a certain format.

After making the modifications to our factorial program in accordance with the suggested changes, we get the following:

var target = 100000;
var timer;
var count = 0;
var digits = [ 1 ];

function factorial(){
    count ++;
    var carry = 0;
    var product = 0;
    for (var i=0; i < digits.length; i++){
        product = digits[i] * count;
        product += carry;
        digits[i] = product % 10;
        carry = Math.floor(product / 10);
    while (carry > 0){
        digits.push(carry % 10);
        carry = Math.floor(carry / 10);

    if (count < target){
    else {
        var value = digits.join('');
        console.log("<<< Computation Finished >>>");
        console.log("factorial("+target+") = "+value);

function printInterval(){
    console.log("Currently computing n = "+count+", number of digits = "+digits.length);
timer = setInterval(printInterval, 500);

Evaluating the code

Here we walkthrough the code to understand how exactly it is working.

var target = 100000;

This is used to specify the argument. In this case we want to compute the factorial of 100000.

  • The setImmediate Schedules the "immediate" execution of the callback after I/O events' callbacks.

  • When multiple calls to setImmediate() are made, the callback functions are queued for execution in the order in which they are created. The entire callback queue is processed every event loop iteration. If an immediate timer is queued from inside an executing callback, that timer will not be triggered until the next event loop iteration.

  • The usage of setImmediate shows how this code DOES NOT block the event loop, which was the entire point of writing the Factorial code in this fashion.

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