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Angular mergeMap vs switchMap

Asked on May 12, 2019
Hi, What is difference between RxJS mergeMap and switchMap in Angular application?
Provide some examples.

Replied on May 12, 2019

RxJS mergeMap operator projects each source value to an Observable and finally they are merged into output Observable using RxJS mergeAll operator.

of('x', 'y', 'z').pipe(
   mergeMap(el => of(1, 2).pipe(
       map(num => el+num)       
).subscribe(res => console.log(res));

The 'x', 'y', 'z' elements from the source Observable will be emitted to mergeMap. The inner Observable will emit 1, 2 number for every elements of source Observable. We are delaying inner Observable process by 2 seconds and hence before completing request for 'x' element, the 'y' and 'z' element will also enter into mergeMap. So mergeMap will wait for completion of inner Observable for all the three elements and finally will merge them into one Observable as output of mergeMap.
We can understand merging of inner Observable into one as following.

of(x1) + of(x2) + of(y1) + of(y2) + of(z1) + of(z2) = of(x1, x2, y1, y2, z1, z2)

When we subscribe, we will get output x1, x2, y1, y2, z1, z2.
If inner Observable of mergeMap, is responding for any emitted element from source Observable before getting request for new element, then there is nothing to merge.



RxJS switchMap emits Observable after applying the given function to each item emitted by source Observable. The Observable emitted by given function that is also called inner Observable, is returned by switchMap operator. switchMap starts emitting items emitted by inner Observable. When a new inner Observable is emitted, the switchMap stops emitting items from previous inner Observable and starts emitting items from latest inner Observable. It continues to do in the same way for all subsequent inner Observable. switchMap is a RxJS pipeable operator and it is used within pipe function of Observable from RxJS 6.

In search operation, user may frequently change search keyword. So it is important that we should get result only with latest search keyword. For any keyword switchMap will emit items from inner Observable and if before completion a new search keyword is hit, then switchMap will stop emitting previous inner Observable and start emitting the latest inner Observable. Hence user always gets the result for latest search keyword. switchMap is used as following.

searchBook() {
     switchMap(id => {
       return this.bookService.getBook(id);
  ).subscribe(res => this.book = res);


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