SignalR AbortController is Undefined on Older Browsers

March 3, 2021

Recently, I updated a client application to the latest versions of SignalR (including the NPM module). One of our users uses a SmartTV to view the page, and it stopped working.

Fun fact: many SmartTVs are built on old versions of Chromium and are never updated. Our users TV is on Chrome 56.

The particular error we were seeings was AbortController is undefined, and tracing it backwards to the FetchHttpClient class of SignalR shows a small issue:

if (typeof fetch === "undefined") {
    // In order to ignore the dynamic require in webpack builds we need to do this magic
    // @ts-ignore: TS doesn't know about these names
    const requireFunc = typeof __webpack_require__ === "function" ? __non_webpack_require__ : require;

    // Cookies aren't automatically handled in Node so we need to add a CookieJar to preserve cookies across requests
    this.jar = new (requireFunc("tough-cookie")).CookieJar();
    this.fetchType = requireFunc("node-fetch");

    // node-fetch doesn't have a nice API for getting and setting cookies
    // fetch-cookie will wrap a fetch implementation with a default CookieJar or a provided one
    this.fetchType = requireFunc("fetch-cookie")(this.fetchType, this.jar);

    // Node needs EventListener methods on AbortController which our custom polyfill doesn't provide
    this.abortControllerType = requireFunc("abort-controller");
} else {
    this.fetchType = fetch.bind(self);
    this.abortControllerType = AbortController;

The error occurs on the line this.abortControllerType = AbortController;. But why do we get here? Well it's because some older browsers, like Chrome 56, don't support AbortController but do support fetch. That's how this issue occurs.

I filed an issue on GitHub about this, and I got the response I was expecting. Wontfix because why would you support Chrome 56ish? I honestly don't blame the team here.

So how can you work around it? My theory was to check if fetch and AbortController existed BEFORE loading SignalR. This is done early in my application:

if (typeof fetch !== "undefined" && typeof AbortController === "undefined") {
  console.warn("Fetch is supported, but not AbortController.  Dropping default fetch so SignalR can override.");
  window.fetch = undefined;

Why does this work? Well, if fetch is defined but AbortController is not, we know we're going to have issues. SignalR has its own polyfill for fetch if fetch doesn't exist. So we simply make fetch undefined globally and let SignalR do it's work for us!

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NOTE: no warranty how this affects other libraries that use fetch. I'm using Axios in addition to our SignalR stuff, and had zero problems.

I hope this helps you in the future! If it did, hit me up and Twitter and let me know!