Proper use of const for defining functions in JavaScript

I am interested if there are any limits to what types of values can be set using const in JavaScript—in particular functions. Is this valid? Granted it does work, but is it considered bad practice for any reason?

const doSomething = () => {
   ...
}

Should all functions be defined this way in ES6? It does not seem like this has caught on, if so.



Answer

There’s no problem with what you’ve done, but you must remember the difference between function declarations and function expressions.

A function declaration, that is:

function doSomething () {}

Is hoisted entirely to the top of the scope (and like let and const they are block scoped as well).

This means that the following will work:

doSomething() // works!
function doSomething() {}

A function expression, that is:

[const | let | var] = function () {} (or () =>

Is the creation of an anonymous function (function () {}) and the creation of a variable, and then the assignment of that anonymous function to that variable.

So the usual rules around variable hoisting within a scope — block-scoped variables (let and const) do not hoist as undefined to the top of their block scope.

This means:

if (true) {
    doSomething() // will fail
    const doSomething = function () {}
}

Will fail since doSomething is not defined. (It will throw a ReferenceError)

If you switch to using var you get your hoisting of the variable, but it will be initialized to undefined so that block of code above will still not work. (This will throw a TypeError since doSomething is not a function at the time you call it)

As far as standard practices go, you should always use the proper tool for the job.

Axel Rauschmayer has a great post on scope and hoisting including es6 semantics: Variables and Scoping in ES6

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *