JavaScript Closure by Khaleesi & Jon Snow

JavaScript Closure by Yuvraj Patil

A wise man once said

“You need to master the closure to be a Guru in JavaScript”.

Underground Hotel by Yuvraj Patil

Once upon a time there was an crazy architect who decided to build an underground hotel. He developed that hotel with 2 underground floors namely Basement 1 (B1) & Basement 2 (B2). Every floor has two rooms, one room for staying and another for some fun activity.

On ground floor, there is hotel reception and cafeteria. On level B1, there is table tennis room. On level B2, there is snooker table room.

There is a lift which operates using access card only. There is one interesting rule of this hotel which cannot be broken under any circumstances. Rule is that you can access.

  • Ground floor (reception and cafeteria).

Once floor B1 was booked by Jon Snow and floor B2 was booked by Khaleesi. By rule, anyone can access full ground floor. Jon can access Table Tennis room but cannot access Snooker table room. Khaleesi can access Table Tennis room as well as Snooker table room.

On ground floor while dining, Khaleesi asked Jon about JavaScript closure. As usual Jon didn’t know that. He asked, what is closure in JavaScript? Khaleesi then starts explaining.

“Short answer is, it’s just an inner function. But actually it is a lot more than just inner function.”

Closure Basics

Closure Example by Yuvraj Patil

1. Access variables of different scopes.

Our hotel works like closure. Khaleesi can access ground floor, table tennis room and her floor. Similarly in closure, we can access local scope, outer scope and global scope.

2. Access variables after execution.

In case of some other languages, when a function is executed, all its local variables are not accessible. But in case of JavaScript closure, even though function has executed, it still holds references of its local variables.

In example above calculateSalary() is the closure. When line 10 is executed, getSalary() is called and value of baseSalary is considered as 100. This function call return the inner function definition(closure). That function definition is assigned to variable monthlySalary. At this moment the closure is not yet executed.

When line 11 is executed, closure gets executed. This closure (inner function) has access to local variables like hraAmount, outer scope variables like transportAmount, global variables like sodexoAmount.

3. private methods

There are no private methods in JavaScript but we can achieve that effect using Closure. In this case calculateSalary is a private method.

4. Native Examples of Closure

  • setTimeout

The function part of setTimeout is nothing but a closure. It gets executed after time specified.

  • setInterval

Similar to setTimeout, the function part of setInterval is a closure. It get executed every time when specified interval has completed.

  • Event Listener Functions

Every event listener function in JavaScript is a closure. In example above addUser function is a closure.

  • http API callback functions

http API can have multiple callback functions. Every API callback function in JavaScript is a closure.

5. Closure inside loop — Anonymous Closure

Before ES6, when we use closure inside any loop, we have to be extra careful. While iterating in any loop, wrong counter will get mapped to closure if we do not take care. It can create bugs in our program. There are multiple ways to resolve this problem. Whenever we use closure inside a loop, I recommend to cover that closure with an anonymous closure and pass the counter to anonymous closure.

6. Cons of Closures

  • When there is too much nesting of closures, it becomes very hard to understand the code.

Conclusion:

Closure is very interesting and highly used concept of JavaScript. But we need to be extra careful while using it.

Programmer who loves coding and enjoys learning new technologies. 8 years of experience in JavaScript development. Website: http://www.yuvrajpatil.com