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  • Writer's pictureTanmay Navghare

The Power of JavaScript Closures: Unveiling a Secret Weapon


javascript closures

Unveiling JavaScript's Secret Weapon: Closure

Hey there, JavaScript enthusiasts! Today, we'll delve into a concept that becomes increasingly crucial as your coding journey progresses: closure.


Understanding Your Surroundings: Scope in Play

Before we explore closure, let's solidify our grasp of scope, its close relative. Scope dictates how variable names are interpreted within nested functions. In simpler terms, it controls where you can access variables in your code.


Lexical scope, a specific type of scope, is defined by your code's structure. Imagine a child function nestled within a parent function. The child function has access to both its own scope and its parent's scope, granting it the ability to utilize variables from both. Additionally, it can access variables in the global scope.


Let's illustrate this with an example:

let x = 1;

const parentFunction = () => {
  let myValue = 2;
  console.log(x); // Accesses x from global scope
  console.log(myValue); // Accesses myValue from parent function scope
}

In this instance, the parent function can access the global variable x and the variable myValue defined within itself. However, attempting to access myValue from the global scope would result in a reference error.


The Power of Closure: Remembering and Accessing

Now, let's unlock the magic of closure! A function with closure has access to three scopes: its own, its parent's, and the global scope. This empowers the function to "remember" and utilize variables even after its parent function has executed.


Here's an example showcasing closure in action:

const parentFunction = () => {
  let x = 1;

  const childFunction = () => {
    x += 5;
    console.log(x);
  }

  return childFunction;
}

const result = parentFunction();
result();

In this scenario, the parent function returns the child function without immediately calling it. When we execute parentFunction() and assign the return value to the variable result, result essentially becomes a reference to the child function.


The interesting part comes when we call result(). Even though the parent function has completed its execution, result() can still access the variable x defined within its parent function's scope. This is closure at work!


Moreover, because the child function has closure over the parent function's scope, it can modify the value of x and increment it by 5 each time it's called. This creates a private variable, accessible only to the child function.


Immediately Invoked Function Expressions (IIFEs): Closure in Action

Another prevalent use case for closure involves Immediately Invoked Function Expressions (IIFEs). An IIFE is a function that executes as soon as it's defined.


Let's explore an example:

(() => {
  let privateCounter = 0;

  console.log(`Initial value: ${privateCounter}`);

  return () => {
    privateCounter++;
    console.log(privateCounter);
  };
})()();

Here, we define an anonymous function and execute it right away. This function returns another anonymous function. The returned function has closure over the variable privateCounter, allowing it to increment the counter with each call.


It's worth noting that the initial console log statement executes only once, while the logs within the returned function occur every time the function is called. This demonstrates how the returned function can access and modify the private variable defined in the IIFE.


The Final Takeaway

Closure is a potent concept in JavaScript. It grants functions the ability to hold onto variables even after their parent functions have finished executing. This enables the creation of private variables and encapsulation, leading to more modular and secure code.


By mastering lexical scope and closure, you'll be well on your way to writing cleaner, more maintainable JavaScript applications. If you'd like to delve deeper into the world of scope, be sure to check out my tutorial on the topic!


Feel free to leave any questions or your own definition of closure in the comments below. Happy coding!

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