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Function

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Every function in JavaScript is actually a Function object.

Function objects created with the Function constructor are parsed when the function is created. This is less efficient than declaring a function and calling it within your code, because functions declared with the function statement are parsed with the rest of the code.

All arguments passed to the function are treated as the names of the identifiers of the parameters in the function to be created, in the order in which they are passed.

Invoking the Function constructor as a function (without using the new operator) has the same effect as invoking it as a constructor.

Specifying arguments with the Function constructor

The following code creates a Function object that takes two arguments.

// Example can be run directly in your JavaScript console

// Create a function that takes two arguments and returns the sum of those
arguments
var adder = new Function("a", "b", "return a + b");

// Call the function
adder(2, 6);
// > 8

The arguments "a" and "b" are formal argument names that are used in the function body, "return a + b".

Documentation for this class comes from MDN and is available under Creative Commons: Attribution-Sharealike license.

Available since: 1.1.0

Defined By

Properties

Specifies the number of arguments expected by the function.

Specifies the number of arguments expected by the function.

Available since: 4.0.0

Defined By

Methods

Function
view source
new( args, functionBody ) : Function
Creates new Function object. ...

Creates new Function object.

Available since: 4.0.0

Parameters

  • args : String...

    Names to be used by the function as formal argument names. Each must be a string that corresponds to a valid JavaScript identifier or a list of such strings separated with a comma; for example "x", "theValue", or "a,b".

  • functionBody : String

    A string containing the JavaScript statements comprising the function definition.

Returns

Function
view source
( thisArg, argsArray ) : Object
Applies the method of another object in the context of a different object (the calling object); arguments can be pass...

Applies the method of another object in the context of a different object (the calling object); arguments can be passed as an Array object.

You can assign a different this object when calling an existing function. this refers to the current object, the calling object. With apply, you can write a method once and then inherit it in another object, without having to rewrite the method for the new object.

apply is very similar to call, except for the type of arguments it supports. You can use an arguments array instead of a named set of parameters. With apply, you can use an array literal, for example, fun.apply(this, ['eat', 'bananas']), or an Array object, for example, fun.apply(this, new Array('eat', 'bananas')).

You can also use arguments for the argsArray parameter. arguments is a local variable of a function. It can be used for all unspecified arguments of the called object. Thus, you do not have to know the arguments of the called object when you use the apply method. You can use arguments to pass all the arguments to the called object. The called object is then responsible for handling the arguments.

Since ECMAScript 5th Edition you can also use any kind of object which is array like, so in practice this means it's going to have a property length and integer properties in the range [0...length). As an example you can now use a NodeList or a own custom object like {'length': 2, '0': 'eat', '1': 'bananas'}.

You can use apply to chain constructors for an object, similar to Java. In the following example, the constructor for the Product object is defined with two parameters, name and value. Two other functions Food and Toy invoke Product passing this and arguments. Product initializes the properties name and price, both specialized functions define the category. In this example, the arguments object is fully passed to the product constructor and corresponds to the two defined parameters.

function Product(name, price) {
    this.name = name;
    this.price = price;

    if (price < 0)
        throw RangeError('Cannot create product "' + name + '" with a negative price');
    return this;
}

function Food(name, price) {
    Product.apply(this, arguments);
    this.category = 'food';
}
Food.prototype = new Product();

function Toy(name, price) {
    Product.apply(this, arguments);
    this.category = 'toy';
}
Toy.prototype = new Product();

var cheese = new Food('feta', 5);
var fun = new Toy('robot', 40);

Clever usage of apply allows you to use built-ins functions for some tasks that otherwise probably would have been written by looping over the array values. As an example here we are going to use Math.max/Math.min to find out the maximum/minimum value in an array.

//min/max number in an array
var numbers = [5, 6, 2, 3, 7];

//using Math.min/Math.max apply
var max = Math.max.apply(null, numbers); // This about equal to Math.max(numbers[0], ...) or
// Math.max(5, 6, ..)
var min = Math.min.apply(null, numbers);

//vs. simple loop based algorithm
max = -Infinity, min = +Infinity;

for (var i = 0; i < numbers.length; i++) {
if (numbers[i] > max)
    max = numbers[i];
if (numbers[i] < min)
    min = numbers[i];
}

But beware: in using apply this way, you run the risk of exceeding the JavaScript engine's argument length limit. The consequences of applying a function with too many arguments (think more than tens of thousands of arguments) vary across engines, because the limit (indeed even the nature of any excessively-large-stack behavior) is unspecified. Some engines will throw an exception. More perniciously, others will arbitrarily limit the number of arguments actually passed to the applied function. (To illustrate this latter case: if such an engine had a limit of four arguments [actual limits are of course significantly higher], it would be as if the arguments 5, 6, 2, 3 had been passed to apply in the examples above, rather than the full array.) If your value array might grow into the tens of thousands, use a hybrid strategy: apply your function to chunks of the array at a time:

function minOfArray(arr)
{
    var min = Infinity;
    var QUANTUM = 32768;
    for (var i = 0, len = arr.length; i < len; i += QUANTUM)
    {
        var submin = Math.min.apply(null, numbers.slice(i, Math.min(i + QUANTUM, len)));
        min = Math.min(submin, min);
    }
return min;
}

var min = minOfArray([5, 6, 2, 3, 7]);

Available since: 4.0.0

Parameters

  • thisArg : Object

    The value of this provided for the call to fun. Note that this may not be the actual value seen by the method: if the method is a function in non-strict mode code, null and undefined will be replaced with the global object, and primitive values will be boxed.

  • argsArray : Array

    An array like object, specifying the arguments with which fun should be called, or null or undefined if no arguments should be provided to the function.

Returns

  • Object

    Returns what the function returns.

Function
view source
( thisArg, [args] ) : Function
Creates a new function that, when called, has its this keyword set to the provided value, with a given sequence of ar...

Creates a new function that, when called, has its this keyword set to the provided value, with a given sequence of arguments preceding any provided when the new function was called.

The bind() function creates a new function (a bound function) with the same function body (internal Call attribute in ECMAScript 5 terms) as the function it is being called on (the bound function's target function) with the this value bound to the first argument of bind(), which cannot be overridden. bind() also accepts leading default arguments to provide to the target function when the bound function is called. A bound function may also be constructed using the new operator: doing so acts as though the target function had instead been constructed. The provided this value is ignored, while prepended arguments are provided to the emulated function.

Creating a bound function

The simplest use of bind() is to make a function that, no matter how it is called, is called with a particular this value. A common mistake for new JavaScript programmers is to extract a method from an object, then to later call that function and expect it to use the original object as its this (e.g. by using that method in callback-based code). Without special care, however, the original object is usually lost. Creating a bound function from the function, using the original object, neatly solves this problem:

var x = 9;
var module = {
  x: 81,
  getX: function() { return this.x; }
};

module.getX(); // 81

var getX = module.getX;
getX(); // 9, because in this case, "this" refers to the global object

// create a new function with 'this' bound to module
var boundGetX = getX.bind(module);
boundGetX(); // 81

Partial functions

The next simplest use of bind() is to make a function with pre-specified initial arguments. These arguments (if any) follow the provided this value and are then inserted at the start of the arguments passed to the target function, followed by the arguments passed to the bound function, whenever the bound function is called.

function list() {
  return Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments);
}

var list1 = list(1, 2, 3); // [1, 2, 3]

//  Create a function with a preset leading argument
var leadingZeroList = list.bind(undefined, 37);

var list2 = leadingZeroList(); // [37]
var list3 = leadingZeroList(1, 2, 3); // [37, 1, 2, 3]

NOTE: This method is part of the ECMAScript 5 standard.

Available since: 4.0.0

Parameters

  • thisArg : Object

    The value to be passed as the this parameter to the target function when the bound function is called. The value is ignored if the bound function is constructed using the new operator.

  • args : Mixed... (optional)

    Arguments to prepend to arguments provided to the bound function when invoking the target function.

Returns

Function
view source
( thisArg, args ) : Object
Calls (executes) a method of another object in the context of a different object (the calling object); arguments can ...

Calls (executes) a method of another object in the context of a different object (the calling object); arguments can be passed as they are.

You can assign a different this object when calling an existing function. this refers to the current object, the calling object.

With call, you can write a method once and then inherit it in another object, without having to rewrite the method for the new object.

You can use call to chain constructors for an object, similar to Java. In the following example, the constructor for the product object is defined with two parameters, name and value. Another object, prod_dept, initializes its unique variable (dept) and calls the constructor for product in its constructor to initialize the other variables.

function Product(name, price) {
    this.name = name;
    this.price = price;

    if (price < 0)
        throw RangeError('Cannot create product "' + name + '" with a negative price');
    return this;
}

function Food(name, price) {
    Product.call(this, name, price);
    this.category = 'food';
}
Food.prototype = new Product();

function Toy(name, price) {
    Product.call(this, name, price);
    this.category = 'toy';
}
Toy.prototype = new Product();

var cheese = new Food('feta', 5);
var fun = new Toy('robot', 40);

In this purely constructed example, we create anonymous function and use call to invoke it on every object in an array. The main purpose of the anonymous function here is to add a print function to every object, which is able to print the right index of the object in the array. Passing the object as this value was not strictly necessary, but is done for explanatory purpose.

var animals = [
{species: 'Lion', name: 'King'},
{species: 'Whale', name: 'Fail'}
];

for (var i = 0; i < animals.length; i++) {
    (function (i) {
    this.print = function () {
        console.log('#' + i  + ' ' + this.species + ': ' + this.name);
    }
}).call(animals[i], i);
}

Available since: 4.0.0

Parameters

  • thisArg : Object

    The value of this provided for the call to fun.Note that this may not be the actual value seen by the method: if the method is a function in non-strict mode code, null and undefined will be replaced with the global object, and primitive values will be boxed.

  • args : Object...

    Arguments for the object.

Returns

  • Object

    Returns what the function returns.

Returns a string representing the source code of the function. ...

Returns a string representing the source code of the function. Overrides the Object.toString method.

The Function object overrides the toString method of the Object object; it does not inherit Object.toString. For Function objects, the toString method returns a string representation of the object.

JavaScript calls the toString method automatically when a Function is to be represented as a text value or when a Function is referred to in a string concatenation.

For Function objects, the built-in toString method decompiles the function back into the JavaScript source that defines the function. This string includes the function keyword, the argument list, curly braces, and function body.

Available since: 4.0.0

Returns

  • String

    The function as a string.