Initial problem

It’s the classic logging issue again! In the Warehouse Management system that I’m working on, the team usually needs to add this logging pattern

const sendToteToPackingStation = (warehouseId: string, toteId: string): Promise<Result> => {'Sending tote to packing station', { warehouseId, toteId });

  const result = await someLogic(...);'Send tote result', { result });
  return result;

The purpose is simple. It’s what you have to do for production debugging in every system. You should write out some unique ids so you have a place to start querying your logging system. From that point, you will then trace the related entries using a correlation id that your system provides.

From time to time, when the system scaled up, there were new areas that could slow down the system. We then added more logging logic to the system, for example, execution time logging to help build some visualization dashboards to identify the root cause.

const sendToteToPackingStation = (warehouseId: string, toteId: string): Promise<Result> => {
  const startTime =;'Sending tote to packing station', { warehouseId, toteId });
  const result = await someLogic(...);'Send tote result', { result });'Execution time', { durationMs: elapsedTimeMs(startTime) });
  return result;

Of course, when this was repeated multiple times, we started thinking about making a higher order function (HOF) to reuse everywhere is the system

First implementation…

Let’s begin with the type definition. Here are the generic types how a HOF looks like. It’s a function that receives a function and return another function with the same signature with the input function

export type WrappedFunction<
  FunctionArgs extends ReadonlyArray<unknown>,
> = (...args: FunctionArgs) => FunctionReturn;

export type HigherOrderFunction = <
  FunctionArgs extends ReadonlyArray<unknown>,
  func: WrappedFunction<FunctionArgs, FunctionReturn>
) => WrappedFunction<FunctionArgs, FunctionReturn>;

And here is the first basic implementation

export const withLogging: HigherOrderFunction =
  (wrappedFunction) =>
  (...args) => {
    const functionName = ||;`Running function ${functionName}`, { args });
    const startTime =;

    const result = wrappedFunction(...args);`Finished ${functionName}`, {
      durationMs: elapsedTimeMs(startTime)      

    return result;

const sendToteToPackingStationFn = (warehouseId: string, toteId: string): Promise<Result> => {...}
export const sendToteToPackingStation = withLogging(sendToteToPackingStationFn);

…but it introduced other problems

  • There are some cases that we want to log only the input and the execution time because the output object is too large and can slow down the system. We had to introduced another HOF withParamsLogging just for that purpose. Finally, we ended up with a lot of overlapping HOFs like that in our system.
  • For function output logging, depending on the case, we have different ways of returning data. Sometimes, it’s a normal object with a status/outcome prop. In some other cases, we have to return an object from neverthrow library. It’s hard to maintain an HOF for multiple purposes. It usually becomes too complex and contains a lot of if/else to make sure we log the right way.
  • We cannot use just part of the logic of the HOF, for example, only log execution time of the input function.

Composable Small HOFs

Inspired by Redux compose function, it doesn’t take much time to resolve all the above problems with a composable approach. Instead of making big and generic HOFs, I decided to split them into smaller HOFs, each HOF is responsible for 1 and only 1 single purpose, for example

  • withInputLogging and withOutputLogging to log the input and output of a function
  • withNeverthrowOutputLogging for logic specific to logging neverthrow output object
  • withExecutionTimeLogging
  • withPubsubLogging automatically sends the data to pubsub
  • withUnhandledErrorLogging beautifies the unhandled error and rethrows it

To combine them, implement a compose function like this

export const compose =
  (...hofs: Array<HigherOrderFunction>): HigherOrderFunction =>
  (wrappedFunction) =>
  (...args) => {
    if (!hofs.length) {
      return wrappedFunction(...args);

    const [head, ...tail] = hofs;
    const finalFunc = tail.reduce(
      (res, hof) => hof(res),

    return finalFunc(...args);

and then you can decide which HOFs you want to use in each individual case

export const sendToteToPackingStation = compose(

Make it work with Promise

You may notice that the above logging utils don’t really play nicely with Promise. To fix it, just add a finally block if the return data is a Promise.

const result = wrappedFunction(...args);

if (isPromise(result)) {
  result.finally(() => logFinishTime());
} else {

Include extra information

You may find yourself need to include some extra information to the HOFs, for example, to log a key that you can use to correlation the business logic. In that case, simply turn that HOF to a function that return the actual HOF (yes, it’s a function returning a function returning a function 😅).

export const withInputLogging =
  (opts: { action?: string } = {}): HigherOrderFunction =>
  (wrappedFunction) =>
  (...args) => {'Start hof', { action, args })

// or to specify the pubsub topic to publish to?
export const withPubsubLogging =
  (opts: { topic: string }): HigherOrderFunction =>
  (wrappedFunction) =>
  (...args) => {
    client.publish(topic, { args });