Understanding FileReader Progress Events in JavaScript: Determining File Reading Completion

Introduction: When working with FileReader in JavaScript to read files asynchronously, understanding progress events is crucial for determining when file reading has completed. The ProgressEvent interface provides valuable information about the current state of the file reading process, including the amount of data loaded and the total size of the file. In this article, we’ll explore how to interpret ProgressEvent properties to accurately identify when the file reading operation has finished.

Understanding ProgressEvent Properties: The ProgressEvent object contains several properties that provide insights into the progress of file reading:

  1. loaded: Indicates the amount of data that has been loaded or processed so far.
  2. total: Represents the total size of the file being read.

Interpreting ProgressEvent Ratios: To monitor the progress of file reading, developers often calculate the ratio between loaded and total. This ratio reflects the proportion of the file that has been processed relative to its total size. However, it’s essential to note that this ratio can vary depending on the file size and the progress of the reading operation.

Determining File Reading Completion: The key question arises: How can we accurately determine when the file reading operation has completed? There are a few approaches:

  1. Comparing loaded and total: One approach is to compare the loaded and total properties directly. When loaded equals total, it indicates that the entire file has been processed, and the reading operation is complete.

  2. Checking for Ratio Equal to 1: Another approach is to calculate the ratio of loaded to total and check if it equals 1. This indicates that the entire file has been loaded, and the reading operation is finished.

  3. Listening for Load Event: Additionally, developers can listen for the load event, which fires when the reading operation is complete. This event signals that the file has been fully loaded into memory, and its contents are accessible through the result property of the FileReader object.

    // Function to convert a File to a text/string and callback with the result
    function fileToStr(file, onDone) {
     const reader = new FileReader();
     // Event listener for when the reading operation has completed
     reader.onload = (e) => {
         // Check if the entire file has been loaded
         if (e.loaded === e.total) {
             // Retrieve the text content of the file
             const fileText = reader.result;
             // Invoke the callback function with the text content

Choosing the Right Approach: The choice of approach depends on the specific requirements of the application and the desired level of precision. Comparing loaded and total directly offers a straightforward way to determine completion, while calculating the ratio provides more granular insight into the progress of the reading operation.