A transport and storage-agnostic implementation of Raft

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import webraft from 'https://cdn.skypack.dev/webraft';



This is a work-in-progress implementation of the Raft algorithm, built in an implementation-agnostic way.

This library is very much a work in progress.

  • Transport-agnostic
  • Persistence layer-agnostic
  • Built for simplicity and ease of implementation
  • Customizable


First, you must extend the RaftInterface and NodeInstance classes.

import {RaftInterface, NodeInstance} from 'webraft';

class FooRaftNode extends NodeInstance {
    constructor(address, raft) {
        // If you define a custom constructor, you must call `super()` and pass
        // all parameters: address and raft
        super(address, raft);
        // Perform your means of setting up the connection, or linking to an
        // existing connection.
        this.socket = new GenericSocket(address, {port: 1234});
        // We're all friends here. We can just assume that you handle errors
        // and all of the important stuff.

        // Call `gotData()` with any data that you receive.
        // If you handle incoming messages somewhere else, you can call
        // `gotData('from address', payload)` on the RaftInterface.
        this.socket.on('message', payload => this.gotData(JSON.parse(payload)));
        this.socket.on('close', () => this.raft.leave(this.address));

    // Implement a `write()` method. It will be given a single parameter,
    // which contains a JSON-serializable object. Serialization is left up to
    // you, because who am I to tell you how to serialize your data.
    write(payload) {

class FooRaft extends RaftInterface {
    // Just define a `createInstance()` method that returns your custom
    // NodeInstance objects. You can even use class expressions if you want.
    createInstance(address) {
        return new FooRaftNode(address, this);

    // You can add a custom constructor to this object, but remember to
    // call `super()`!

When you wish to add a node to the cluster, call join('node address') on an instance of your RaftInterface implementation. When a node leaves the cluster, call leave('node address').

When data becomes available, you can either call gotData(payload) on the appropriate NodeInstance implementation, or gotData('from address', payload) on the RaftInterface instance. Either works.

Next, if you want data to be persisted, you must implement a handler for the apply and refresh events on your instance. Both can be done on the instance itself or externally.

var inst = new MyRaftInterface();
inst.listen('apply', (entry, index, cb) => {
    var update = () => {
            snapshot.set('term', entry.term),
            snapshot.set('index', index),
        ]).then(cb, update);
inst.listen('refresh', cb => {
    var refresh = () => fetch('https://host/snapshot').then(content => {
        snapshot = content;
    }, refresh);

// or on the instance itself

class MyGreatRaftInterface extends RaftInterface {
    constructor(address) {

        this.listen('apply', (entry, index, cb) => {
            var state = JSON.parse(localStorage.getItem('data'));
            jsonPatch.apply(state, data.command);
            localStorage.setItem('data', JSON.stringify(state));
            localStorage.setItem('term', entry.term);
            localStorage.setItem('index', index);
            // ... code to push to server, if needed ...
        this.listen('refresh', cb => {
            var refresh = () => fetch('https://host/api/latest').then(resp => {
                var parsed = JSON.parse(resp);
                window.localStorage.setItem('data', parsed.state);
                window.localStorage.setItem('term', parsed.term);
                window.localStorage.setItem('index', parsed.index);
                cb(parsed.term, parsed.index);
            }, refresh);
    createInstance(address) {
        // ...

Once persistence is in place, use the propose() method on the RaftInterface instance to propose changes across the cluster.

instance.propose({key: 'value'})
    .then(() => alert('Committed!'), err => console.error(err));

When a command has been committed, each RaftInterface instance on all machines in the cluster will emit an updated event.

inst.listen('updated', () => this.setState({dataFromRaft: myDataStore.state}));

NOTE: If you are running WebRaft in a single process (or performing synchronous RPC between multiple processes), any operation that might increment the commit index could potentially cause updated events to arrive out of order.



Returns a promise that resolves when the command is committed to the state machine. The promise will reject if there is a problem proposing the command.


Events can be listened for using the listen(type, handler) method (unlisten(type, handler) is available).

var instance = new MyRaftInstance();
instance.listen('type', (arg1, arg2) => console.log(arg1, arg2));
  • join: Emitted with an address when a node joins the cluster.
  • leave: Emitted with an address when a node leaves the cluster.
  • leader: Emitted when the node becomes the leader of the cluster.
  • candidate: Emitted when the node becomes a leader candidate.
  • follower: Emitted when the node becomes a follower.
  • state changed: Emitted when the node changes state.
  • heartbeat timeout: Emitted when the leader hasn't been heard from in heartbeatTimeout milliseconds.
  • start election: Emitted when an election is started (generally this is fired immediately after heartbeat timeout).
  • apply: Emitted with the log entry to commit to the persistency layer, an index, and a callback parameter. The callback parameter should only be called after all of the data has been fully committed.
  • updated: Emitted when a log is committed to the state machine. This fires after apply has fired and the callback has been called without an error.
  • refresh: Emitted with a callback when the node contains a state that's too old to be used with the cluster. This can happen if the node has a state that's older than the oldest online peer, or the node is severely lagged and has missed more than one log compaction cycle. When this is fired, the node MUST update its state from persistent storage and call the callback after the state has been updated. The callback should be called with the last applied entry's term and index.

Timeouts and constants

You can fiddle with the various numerical values that Raft depends on by overriding some getters.

class MyRaftInstance extends RaftInterface {
    createInstance(address) {
        // ...

     * Returns the timeout for an election in ms.
     * Defaults to 150 to 300ms.
     * This should be greater than `heartbeatTimeout`.
     * @return {int} Milliseconds an election should time out in
    get electionTimeout() {
        return Math.random() * 150 + 150;

     * Returns how often the leader should send a heartbeat in ms.
     * @return {int} Milliseconds between each heartbeat sent
    get heartbeatFrequency() {
        return 100;

     * Returns how long the client should wait before starting an election
     * because the leader disappeared in ms.
     * If this is not greater than what's returned by `heartbeatFrequency`,
     * you're going to have a bad time.
     * @return {int} Milliseconds to wait for a heartbeat
    get heartbeatTimeout() {
        return 200;

class MyNodInstance extends NodeInstance {
    write() {
        // ...

    get messageTimeout() {
        return 3000; // milliseconds


  • WebRaft assumes that message delivery is guaranteed. If your transport doesn't make that guarantee, you must implement your own means of retrying messages and verifying delivery.
  • The callback for the apply event should ONLY be called after the log entry has been fully committed. Calling it before the data has been fully persisted can result in data loss in certain edge cases, and nobody wants that.
  • The callback for the refresh event should ONLY be called after the state has been fully fetched an populated from persistent storage. Do not use a cached version of the state. If you call the callback too early, it can cause race conditions that may overwrite state and cause data loss.
  • The entry returned by the apply event is the same object that will be stored in the Raft log. Making changes to references to this object will cause data loss and/or indeterminism, as it will effectively be modifying the node's log.


  • When a promise returned by propose resolves, it means that the command has been committed on the leader and has been propagated to a majority of nodes. It does not, however, mean that the command has been propagated to the node on which propose was invoked.
  • If you use webraft such that more than one node lives within the same JavaScript process, all interaction between the nodes must be asynchronous. This is most easily done with setImmediate().