Tidepool's (enforceable!) standard for redux action objects.

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(Or jump to The Standard.)
Tidepool's (enforceable!) standard for redux action objects.
Inspired by flux-standard-action but tailored specifically to Tidepool's needs.
Yes, we are aware of the irony, and we've seen that XKCD comic.

We've created this repository because the flux-standard-action (FSA) project failed us in two places:
  1. The isFSA() function exposed by FSA does not validate the action objects to the level of detail that we require in our heavily-tested applications. 😕

  1. FSA's decision to represent error actions with a Boolean true in the error field, and a JavaScript Error object as the payload causes us problems in a small but significant number of cases where we need other information in the payload besides the Error object in order to update our state tree accurately. In other words, we agree with many of those who chimed in on FSA's Issue #17.

In short, since we (at Tidepool) have several applications where we need to adhere to a standard for actions (and validate that standard in unit tests!), we have decided1 to create our own standard and utility for this purpose. Others are welcome to adopt our standard as well, but we're not going to be evangelical about it. 😉
1: For posterity: @jebeck, in particular, is to blame here, with encouragement from @GordyD.
The remainder of this README is a modified version of FSA's README.


A Tidepool-friendly standard for redux action objects. Because we needed it.


It's much easier to work with redux actions if we can make certain assumptions about their shape. For example, all redux actions have a type identifier field. Many redux actions also include some payload of data that will be used by the reducers to modify the state tree. Defining a common standard for these patterns enables the creation of useful tools and abstractions and makes our lives easier as developers working on more than one app.

Design goals

  • Human-friendly. TSA actions should be easy to read and write by humans.
  • Useful. TSA actions should enable the creation of useful tools and abstractions.
  • Simple. TSA should be simple, straightforward, and opinionated in its design. (Loose standards aren't easily enforceable!)


A basic Tidepool Standard Action (TSA):
  payload: {
    text: 'Fry up some bacon.'  

Error Example

A TSA that represents an error:
  error: new Error('Error adding a TODO :('),
  payload: {userId: 'a1b2c3'}


An action MUST
  • be a plain JavaScript object.
  • have a type property.

An action MAY
  • have an error property.
  • have a payload property.
  • have a meta property.

IFF an action has an error property, the error property MUST
  • be a JavaScript Error object.

IFF an action has a payload property, the payload property MUST
  • be a plain JavaScript object.

IFF an action has a meta property, the meta property MUST
  • be a plain JavaScript object.

An action MUST NOT include properties other than type, payload, and error, and meta.


The type of an action identifies to the consumer the nature of the action that has occurred. In a TSA, type MUST be a JavaScript String constant.


The optional error property MUST be a JavaScript Error object. It indicates that the action be interpreted as an error action.


The optional payload property MUST be a plain JavaScript object. It represents the payload of the action. Any information about the action that is not the type or status of the action should be part of the payload object.


The optional meta property MUST be a plain JavaScript object. It is intended for any extra information that is not part of the payload.

Testing utility

This module (tidepool-standard-action) is published on npm. It exports an isTSA utility function that may be used as follows:
ES5, assuming use of CommonJS modules:
var isTSA = require('tidepool-standard-action');

var action = {...};


import isTSA from 'tidepool-standard-action';

const action = {...};


isTSA returns true if action complies with the standard described above and false otherwise.