Reactive Extensions for Javascript – Wikipedia lookup demo

Yan Cui

I help clients go faster for less using serverless technologies.

Matthew Podwysocki posted a couple of very good articles on RxJS on and amongst them was a simple demo to do a look up on wikipedia using their open API:

Introduction to the Reactive Extensions for JavaScript – Wikipedia Lookup

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a live demo you can play around with and see it work, and since the article was posted things might have changed and doing cross-domain HTTP requests are no longer a straightforward affair (at least not when it comes to Chrome and Firefox). If you had tried to piece together all the bits of code snippets from the article you might find that it only works in IE but not in Chrome or Firefox.

So I decided to put together a working demo, and with that, let’s start with the HTML from the original example:

   1: <body>

   2:     <div id="wrapper">

   3:         <input id="search-input" size="100" type="text" placeholder="Enter Search Phrase" />

   4:         <ul id="results" />

   5:         <p id="error" />

   6:     </div>

   7: </body>

And the Javascript which had been slightly modified from those shown in the article:

   1: <script type="text/javascript">

   2:     function searchWiki(term) {

   3:         // note the callback=? clause at the end, which is required to make 

   4:         // cross-domain request possible in chrome and firefox

   5:         var url = "" + 

   6:                     term + "&format=json&callback=?";


   8:         // note that I'm using getJSONAsObservable instead of XMLHttpRequest

   9:         return $.getJSONAsObservable(url)

  10:                 .Select(function (result) {

  11:                     if ( && == 2) {

  12:                         return[1];

  13:                     }

  14:                     else {

  15:                         return [];

  16:                     }

  17:                 });

  18:     }


  20:     $(function () {

  21:         var searcher = $("#search-input");


  23:         var searchTerms = 

  24:             searcher.toObservable("keyup")     // hook up the keyup event on the search box

  25:                     .Throttle(250)             // ignore values entered within 250ms of each other

  26:                     .Select(function () {      // return what's in the search box

  27:                         return searcher.val();

  28:                     });


  30:         var searchResults = searchTerms.Select(function (term) { return searchWiki(term); }).Switch();


  32:         searchResults.Subscribe(function (data) {

  33:             $("#results").empty();

  34:             $.each(data, function (_, value) {

  35:                 $("#results").append("<li>" + value + "</li>");

  36:             })

  37:         }, function (errr) {

  38:             $("#error").html(error);

  39:         });

  40:     });

  41: </script>

Key things to note here:

  • line 6, at the end of the url I added &callback=? which is the standard way to specify a JSONP callback with jQuery‘s getJSON function.
  • line 9, I used getJSONAsObservable, which is the same as getJSON but returns the values as an observable sequence



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