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SubscribableOrPromise interface describes values that behave like either Observables or Promises. Every operator that accepts arguments annotated with this interface, can be also used with parameters that are not necessarily RxJS Observables.

Following types of values might be passed to operators expecting this interface:


RxJS Observable instance.

Observable-like (Subscribable)

This might be any object that has Symbol.observable method. This method, when called, should return object with subscribe method on it, which should behave the same as RxJS Observable.subscribe.

Symbol.observable is part of https://github.com/tc39/proposal-observable proposal. Since currently it is not supported natively, and every symbol is equal only to itself, you should use https://github.com/blesh/symbol-observable polyfill, when implementing custom Observable-likes.

TypeScript Subscribable interface issue

Although TypeScript interface claims that Subscribable is an object that has subscribe method declared directly on it, passing custom objects that have subscribe method but not Symbol.observable method will fail at runtime. Conversely, passing objects with Symbol.observable but without subscribe will fail at compile time (if you use TypeScript).

TypeScript has problem supporting interfaces with methods defined as symbol properties. To get around that, you should implement subscribe directly on passed object, and make Symbol.observable method simply return this. That way everything will work as expected, and compiler will not complain. If you really do not want to put subscribe directly on your object, you will have to type cast it to any, before passing it to an operator.

When this issue is resolved, Subscribable interface will only permit Observable-like objects with Symbol.observable defined, no matter if they themselves implement subscribe method or not.

ES6 Promise

Promise can be interpreted as Observable that emits value and completes when it is resolved or errors when it is rejected.

Promise-like (Thenable)

Promises passed to operators do not have to be native ES6 Promises. They can be implementations from popular Promise libraries, polyfills or even custom ones. They just need to have then method that works as the same as ES6 Promise then.


Use merge and then map with non-RxJS observable
const nonRxJSObservable = {
  subscribe(observer) {
  [Symbol.observable]() {
    return this;

.map(value => "This value is " + value)
.subscribe(result => console.log(result)); // Logs "This value is 1000"
Use combineLatest with ES6 Promise
Rx.Observable.combineLatest(Promise.resolve(5), Promise.resolve(10), Promise.resolve(15))
  value => console.log(value),
  err => {},
  () => console.log('the end!')
// Logs
// [5, 10, 15]
// "the end!"