# Callback in callback or callback hell or pyramid of doom

How can we load two scripts sequentially: the first one, and then the second one after it?

The natural solution would be to put the second loadScript call inside the callback, like this:

loadScript('/my/script.js', function(script) {

alert(Cool, the \${script.src} is loaded, let's load one more);

alert(Cool, the second script is loaded);
});

});



After the outer loadScript is complete, the callback initiates the inner one.

What if we want one more script…?

loadScript('/my/script.js', function(script) {

// ...continue after all scripts are loaded
});

})

});



From the first look, it’s a viable way of asynchronous coding. And indeed it is. For one or maybe two nested calls it looks fine.

As calls become more nested, the code becomes deeper and increasingly more difficult to manage, and even more complex if this include more loops, conditional statements and so on.

That’s sometimes called “callback hell” or “pyramid of doom.”

The “pyramid” of nested calls grows to the right with every asynchronous action. Soon it spirals out of control.

So this way of coding isn’t very good.

We can try to alleviate the problem by making every action a standalone function, like this:

loadScript('1.js', step1);

function step1(error, script) {
if (error) {
handleError(error);
} else {
// ...
}
}

function step2(error, script) {
if (error) {
handleError(error);
} else {
// ...
}
}

function step3(error, script) {
if (error) {
handleError(error);
} else {
// ...continue after all scripts are loaded (*)
}
};



It works, but the code looks like a torn apart spreadsheet. It’s difficult to read, and you probably noticed that one needs to eye-jump between pieces while reading it. That’s inconvenient, especially if the reader is not familiar with the code and doesn’t know where to eye-jump.

Also, the functions named step* are all of single use, they are created only to avoid the “pyramid of doom.” No one is going to reuse them outside of the action chain. So there’s a bit of namespace cluttering here.

We’d like to have something better.

Luckily, there are other ways to avoid such pyramids. One of the best ways is to use “promises”.