Constructors in JavaScript objects

Can JavaScript classes/objects have constructors? How are they created?

Answers:

Answer

Using prototypes:

function Box(color) // Constructor
{
    this.color = color;
}

Box.prototype.getColor = function()
{
    return this.color;
};

Hiding "color" (somewhat resembles a private member variable):

function Box(col)
{
   var color = col;

   this.getColor = function()
   {
       return color;
   };
}

Usage:

var blueBox = new Box("blue");
alert(blueBox.getColor()); // will alert blue

var greenBox = new Box("green");
alert(greenBox.getColor()); // will alert green
Answer

Here's a template I sometimes use for OOP-similar behavior in JavaScript. As you can see, you can simulate private (both static and instance) members using closures. What new MyClass() will return is an object with only the properties assigned to the this object and in the prototype object of the "class."

var MyClass = (function () {
    // private static
    var nextId = 1;

    // constructor
    var cls = function () {
        // private
        var id = nextId++;
        var name = 'Unknown';

        // public (this instance only)
        this.get_id = function () { return id; };

        this.get_name = function () { return name; };
        this.set_name = function (value) {
            if (typeof value != 'string')
                throw 'Name must be a string';
            if (value.length < 2 || value.length > 20)
                throw 'Name must be 2-20 characters long.';
            name = value;
        };
    };

    // public static
    cls.get_nextId = function () {
        return nextId;
    };

    // public (shared across instances)
    cls.prototype = {
        announce: function () {
            alert('Hi there! My id is ' + this.get_id() + ' and my name is "' + this.get_name() + '"!\r\n' +
                  'The next fellow\'s id will be ' + MyClass.get_nextId() + '!');
        }
    };

    return cls;
})();

I've been asked about inheritance using this pattern, so here goes:

// It's a good idea to have a utility class to wire up inheritance.
function inherit(cls, superCls) {
    // We use an intermediary empty constructor to create an
    // inheritance chain, because using the super class' constructor
    // might have side effects.
    var construct = function () {};
    construct.prototype = superCls.prototype;
    cls.prototype = new construct;
    cls.prototype.constructor = cls;
    cls.super = superCls;
}

var MyChildClass = (function () {
    // constructor
    var cls = function (surName) {
        // Call super constructor on this instance (any arguments
        // to the constructor would go after "this" in call(…)).
        this.constructor.super.call(this);

        // Shadowing instance properties is a little bit less
        // intuitive, but can be done:
        var getName = this.get_name;

        // public (this instance only)
        this.get_name = function () {
            return getName.call(this) + ' ' + surName;
        };
    };
    inherit(cls, MyClass); // <-- important!

    return cls;
})();

And an example to use it all:

var bob = new MyClass();
bob.set_name('Bob');
bob.announce(); // id is 1, name shows as "Bob"

var john = new MyChildClass('Doe');
john.set_name('John');
john.announce(); // id is 2, name shows as "John Doe"

alert(john instanceof MyClass); // true

As you can see, the classes correctly interact with each other (they share the static id from MyClass, the announce method uses the correct get_name method, etc.)

One thing to note is the need to shadow instance properties. You can actually make the inherit function go through all instance properties (using hasOwnProperty) that are functions, and automagically add a super_<method name> property. This would let you call this.super_get_name() instead of storing it in a temporary value and calling it bound using call.

For methods on the prototype you don't need to worry about the above though, if you want to access the super class' prototype methods, you can just call this.constructor.super.prototype.methodName. If you want to make it less verbose you can of course add convenience properties. :)

Answer

It seems to me most of you are giving example of getters and setters not a constructor, ie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructor_(object-oriented_programming).

lunched-dan was closer but the example didn't work in jsFiddle.

This example creates a private constructor function that only runs during the creation of the object.

var color = 'black';

function Box()
{
   // private property
   var color = '';

   // private constructor 
   var __construct = function() {
       alert("Object Created.");
       color = 'green';
   }()

   // getter
   this.getColor = function() {
       return color;
   }

   // setter
   this.setColor = function(data) {
       color = data;
   }

}

var b = new Box();

alert(b.getColor()); // should be green

b.setColor('orange');

alert(b.getColor()); // should be orange

alert(color); // should be black

If you wanted to assign public properties then the constructor could be defined as such:

var color = 'black';

function Box()
{
   // public property
   this.color = '';

   // private constructor 
   var __construct = function(that) {
       alert("Object Created.");
       that.color = 'green';
   }(this)

   // getter
   this.getColor = function() {
       return this.color;
   }

   // setter
   this.setColor = function(color) {
       this.color = color;
   }

}

var b = new Box();

alert(b.getColor()); // should be green

b.setColor('orange'); 

alert(b.getColor()); // should be orange

alert(color); // should be black
Answer

So what is the point of "constructor" property? Cannot figure out where it could be useful, any ideas?

The point of the constructor property is to provide some way of pretending JavaScript has classes. One of the things you cannot usefully do is change an object's constructor after it's been created. It's complicated.

I wrote a fairly comprehensive piece on it a few years ago: http://joost.zeekat.nl/constructors-considered-mildly-confusing.html

Answer

Example here: http://jsfiddle.net/FZ5nC/

Try this template:

<script>
//============================================================
// Register Namespace
//------------------------------------------------------------
var Name = Name||{};
Name.Space = Name.Space||{};

//============================================================
// Constructor - MUST BE AT TOP OF FILE
//------------------------------------------------------------
Name.Space.ClassName = function Name_Space_ClassName(){}

//============================================================
// Member Functions & Variables
//------------------------------------------------------------
Name.Space.ClassName.prototype = {
  v1: null
 ,v2: null
 ,f1: function Name_Space_ClassName_f1(){}
}

//============================================================
// Static Variables
//------------------------------------------------------------
Name.Space.ClassName.staticVar = 0;

//============================================================
// Static Functions
//------------------------------------------------------------
Name.Space.ClassName.staticFunc = function Name_Space_ClassName_staticFunc(){
}
</script>

You must adjust your namespace if you are defining a static class:

<script>
//============================================================
// Register Namespace
//------------------------------------------------------------
var Shape = Shape||{};
Shape.Rectangle = Shape.Rectangle||{};
// In previous example, Rectangle was defined in the constructor.
</script>

Example class:

<script>
//============================================================
// Register Namespace
//------------------------------------------------------------
var Shape = Shape||{};

//============================================================
// Constructor - MUST BE AT TOP OF FILE
//------------------------------------------------------------
Shape.Rectangle = function Shape_Rectangle(width, height, color){
    this.Width = width;
    this.Height = height;
    this.Color = color;
}

//============================================================
// Member Functions & Variables
//------------------------------------------------------------
Shape.Rectangle.prototype = {
  Width: null
 ,Height: null
 ,Color: null
 ,Draw: function Shape_Rectangle_Draw(canvasId, x, y){
    var canvas = document.getElementById(canvasId);
    var context = canvas.getContext("2d");
    context.fillStyle = this.Color;
    context.fillRect(x, y, this.Width, this.Height);
 }
}

//============================================================
// Static Variables
//------------------------------------------------------------
Shape.Rectangle.Sides = 4;

//============================================================
// Static Functions
//------------------------------------------------------------
Shape.Rectangle.CreateSmallBlue = function Shape_Rectangle_CreateSmallBlue(){
    return new Shape.Rectangle(5,8,'#0000ff');
}
Shape.Rectangle.CreateBigRed = function Shape_Rectangle_CreateBigRed(){
    return new Shape.Rectangle(50,25,'#ff0000');
}
</script>

Example instantiation:

<canvas id="painting" width="500" height="500"></canvas>
<script>
alert("A rectangle has "+Shape.Rectangle.Sides+" sides.");

var r1 = new Shape.Rectangle(16, 12, "#aa22cc");
r1.Draw("painting",0, 20);

var r2 = Shape.Rectangle.CreateSmallBlue();
r2.Draw("painting", 0, 0);

Shape.Rectangle.CreateBigRed().Draw("painting", 10, 0);
</script>

Notice functions are defined as A.B = function A_B(). This is to make your script easier to debug. Open Chrome's Inspect Element panel, run this script, and expand the debug backtrace:

<script>
//============================================================
// Register Namespace
//------------------------------------------------------------
var Fail = Fail||{};

//============================================================
// Static Functions
//------------------------------------------------------------
Fail.Test = function Fail_Test(){
    A.Func.That.Does.Not.Exist();
}

Fail.Test();
</script>
Answer

This is a constructor:

function MyClass() {}

When you do

var myObj = new MyClass();

MyClass is executed, and a new object is returned of that class.

Answer

I found this tutorial very useful. This approach is used by most of jQuery plug-ins.

http://www.htmlgoodies.com/html5/tutorials/create-an-object-oriented-javascript-class-constructor.html#fbid=OVYAQL_TDpK

var Class = function(methods) {   
    var klass = function() {    
        this.initialize.apply(this, arguments);          
    };  

    for (var property in methods) { 
       klass.prototype[property] = methods[property];
    }

    if (!klass.prototype.initialize) klass.prototype.initialize = function(){};      

    return klass;    
};

Now ,

var Person = Class({ 
    initialize: function(name, age) {
        this.name = name;
        this.age  = age;
    },
    toString: function() {
        return "My name is "+this.name+" and I am "+this.age+" years old.";
    }
}); 

var alice = new Person('Alice', 26);
alert(alice.name); //displays "Alice"
alert(alice.age); //displays "26"
alert(alice.toString()); //displays "My name is Alice and I am 26 years old" in most browsers.
//IE 8 and below display the Object's toString() instead! "[Object object]"
Answer

This pattern has served me well. With this pattern, you create classes in separate files, load them into your overall app "as needed".

// Namespace
// (Creating new if not instantiated yet, otherwise, use existing and just add to it)
var myApp = myApp || {};

// "Package" 
// Similar to how you would establish a package in other languages
(function() {

// "Class"
var MyClass = function(params) {
    this.initialize(params);
}

    // "Private Static" vars 
    //    - Only accessible to functions in this class.
    //    - Doesn't get wiped out when we create a new instance.
    var countInstances = 0;
    var allInstances = [];

    // "Private Static" functions 
    //    - Same as above, but it's a function accessible 
    //      only to other functions in this class.
    function doSomething(){
    }

    // "Public Static" vars
    //    - Everyone has access.
    //    - Doesn't get wiped out when we create a new instance.
    MyClass.counter = 0;

    // "Public Static" functions
    //    - Same as above, but anyone can call this "static method".
    //    - Kinda like a singleton class situation.
    MyClass.foobar = function(){
    }

    // Public properties and methods are built into the "prototype"
    //    - This is how each instance can become unique unto itself.
    //    - Establishing "p" as "local" (Static Private) variable 
    //      simply so we don't have to keep typing "MyClass.prototype" 
    //      for each property and function.
var p = MyClass.prototype;

    // "Public" vars
    p.id = null;
    p.firstname = null;
    p.lastname = null;

    // "Private" vars
    //    - Only used by "this" instance.
    //    - There isn't "true" privacy for each 
    //      instance so we have to fake it. 
    //    - By tradition, we indicate "privacy"  
    //      by prefixing it with an underscore. 
    //    - So technically, anyone can access, but we simply 
    //      don't tell anyone about it (e.g. in your API)
    //      so no one knows about it :)
    p._foo = null;

    p.initialize = function(params){
        this.id = MyClass.counter++;
        this.firstname = params.firstname;
        this.lastname = params.lastname;
        MyClass.counter++;
        countInstances++;
        allInstances.push(this);
    }

    p.doAlert = function(theMessage){
        alert(this.firstname + " " + this.lastname + " said: " + theMessage + ". My id:" + this.id + ".  Total People:" + countInstances + ". First Person:" + allInstances[0].firstname + " " + allInstances[0].lastname);
    }


// Assign class to app
myApp.MyClass = MyClass;

// Close the "Package"
}());

// Usage example:
var bob = new myApp.MyClass({   firstname   :   "bob",
                                lastname    :   "er"
                            });

bob.doAlert("hello there");
Answer

Yes, you can define a constructor inside a class declaration like this:

class Rectangle {
  constructor(height, width) {
    this.height = height;
    this.width = width;
  }
}
Answer

I guess I'll post what I do with javascript closure since no one is using closure yet.

var user = function(id) {
  // private properties & methods goes here.
  var someValue;
  function doSomething(data) {
    someValue = data;
  };

  // constructor goes here.
  if (!id) return null;

  // public properties & methods goes here.
  return {
    id: id,
    method: function(params) {
      doSomething(params);
    }
  };
};

Comments and suggestions to this solution are welcome. :)

Answer

Using Nick's sample above, you can create a constructor for objects without parameters using a return statement as the last statement in your object definition. Return your constructor function as below and it will run the code in __construct each time you create the object:

function Box()
{
   var __construct = function() {
       alert("Object Created.");
       this.color = 'green';
   }

  this.color = '';

   this.getColor = function() {
       return this.color;
   }

   __construct();
}

var b = new Box();
Answer

Maybe it's gotten a little simpler, but below is what I've come up with now in 2017:

class obj {
  constructor(in_shape, in_color){
    this.shape = in_shape;
    this.color = in_color;
  }

  getInfo(){
    return this.shape + ' and ' + this.color;
  }
  setShape(in_shape){
    this.shape = in_shape;
  }
  setColor(in_color){
    this.color = in_color;
  }
}

In using the class above, I have the following:

var newobj = new obj('square', 'blue');

//Here, we expect to see 'square and blue'
console.log(newobj.getInfo()); 

newobj.setColor('white');
newobj.setShape('sphere');

//Since we've set new color and shape, we expect the following: 'sphere and white'
console.log(newobj.getInfo());

As you can see, the constructor takes in two parameters, and we set the object's properties. We also alter the object's color and shape by using the setter functions, and prove that its change remained upon calling getInfo() after these changes.

A bit late, but I hope this helps. I've tested this with a mocha unit-testing, and it's working well.

Answer

They do if you use Typescript - open source from MicroSoft :-)

class BankAccount {
 balance: number;
 constructor(initially: number) {
 this.balance = initially;
 }
 deposit(credit: number) {
 this.balance += credit;
 return this.balance;
 }
}

Typescript lets you 'fake' OO constructs that are compiled into javascript constructs. If you're starting a large project it may save you a lot of time and it just reached milestone 1.0 version.

http://www.typescriptlang.org/Content/TypeScript%20Language%20Specification.pdf

The above code gets 'compiled' to :

var BankAccount = (function () {
    function BankAccount(initially) {
        this.balance = initially;
    }
    BankAccount.prototype.deposit = function (credit) {
        this.balance += credit;
        return this.balance;
    };
    return BankAccount;
})();
Answer

In JavaScript the invocation type defines the behaviour of the function:

  • Direct invocation func()
  • Method invocation on an object obj.func()
  • Constructor invocation new func()
  • Indirect invocation func.call() or func.apply()

The function is invoked as a constructor when calling using new operator:

function Cat(name) {
   this.name = name;
}
Cat.prototype.getName = function() {
   return this.name;
}

var myCat = new Cat('Sweet'); // Cat function invoked as a constructor

Any instance or prototype object in JavaScript have a property constructor, which refers to the constructor function.

Cat.prototype.constructor === Cat // => true
myCat.constructor         === Cat // => true

Check this post about constructor property.

Answer

While using Blixt's great template from above, I found out that it doesn't work well with multi-level inheritance (MyGrandChildClass extending MyChildClass extending MyClass) – it cycles on calling first parent's constructor over and over. So here is a simple workaround – if you need multi-level inheritance, instead of using this.constructor.super.call(this, surName); use chainSuper(this).call(this, surName); with the chain function defined like this:

function chainSuper(cls) {
  if (cls.__depth == undefined) cls.__depth = 1; else cls.__depth++;
  var depth = cls.__depth;
  var sup = cls.constructor.super;
  while (depth > 1) {
    if (sup.super != undefined) sup = sup.super;
    depth--;
  }
  return sup;
}
Answer

http://www.jsoops.net/ is quite good for oop in Js. If provide private, protected, public variable and function, and also Inheritance feature. Example Code:

var ClassA = JsOops(function (pri, pro, pub)
{// pri = private, pro = protected, pub = public

    pri.className = "I am A ";

    this.init = function (var1)// constructor
    {
        pri.className += var1;
    }

    pub.getData = function ()
    {
        return "ClassA(Top=" + pro.getClassName() + ", This=" + pri.getClassName()
        + ", ID=" + pro.getClassId() + ")";
    }

    pri.getClassName = function () { return pri.className; }
    pro.getClassName = function () { return pri.className; }
    pro.getClassId = function () { return 1; }
});

var newA = new ClassA("Class");

//***Access public function
console.log(typeof (newA.getData));
// function
console.log(newA.getData());
// ClassA(Top=I am A Class, This=I am A Class, ID=1)

//***You can not access constructor, private and protected function
console.log(typeof (newA.init));            // undefined
console.log(typeof (newA.className));       // undefined
console.log(typeof (newA.pro));             // undefined
console.log(typeof (newA.getClassName));    // undefined
Answer

just to offer up some variety. ds.oop is a nice way to declare classes with constructors in javascript. It supports every possible type of inheritance (Including 1 type that even c# does not support) as well as Interfaces which is nice.

var Color = ds.make.class({
    type: 'Color',
    constructor: function (r,g,b) { 
        this.r = r;                     /* now r,g, and b are available to   */
        this.g = g;                     /* other methods in the Color class  */
        this.b = b;                     
    }
});
var red = new Color(255,0,0);   // using the new keyword to instantiate the class
Answer

Here we need to notice one point in java script, it is a class-less language however,we can achieve it by using functions in java script. The most common way to achieve this we need to create a function in java script and use new keyword to create an object and use this keyword to define property and methods.Below is the example.

// Function constructor

   var calculator=function(num1 ,num2){
   this.name="This is function constructor";
   this.mulFunc=function(){
      return num1*num2
   };

};

var objCal=new calculator(10,10);// This is a constructor in java script
alert(objCal.mulFunc());// method call
alert(objCal.name);// property call

//Constructors With Prototypes

var calculator=function(){
   this.name="Constructors With Prototypes";
};

calculator.prototype.mulFunc=function(num1 ,num2){
 return num1*num2;
};
var objCal=new calculator();// This is a constructor in java script
alert(objCal.mulFunc(10,10));// method call
alert(objCal.name); // property call
Answer

In most cases you have to somehow declare the property you need before you can call a method that passes in this information. If you do not have to initially set a property you can just call a method within the object like so. Probably not the most pretty way of doing this but this still works.

var objectA = {
    color: ''; 
    callColor : function(){
        console.log(this.color);
    }
    this.callColor(); 
}
var newObject = new objectA(); 

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