Monday, April 23, 2007

Presto Expando

It's hard to know where to start, but you've got to start somewhere, right?

JavaScript is a very dynamic language. That basically means that objects can be created and modified at runtime. It is also very loosely-typed which means that you can treat a string variable as an integer or an integer as a date, or a date as a string, or... well, you get the point.

So what do I mean by "objects can be created and modified at runtime"? In static languages, the members (attributes, properties, methods, etc.) and behaviors of a type are explicitly defined at design-time and then compiled. After compilation you cannot add or remove any of the members. I suppose you've already guessed what i'm going to say next. In dynamic languages (depending on the degree of dynamicism), any member can be added, removed, or replaced at runtime. In Javascript, members you add at runtime are commonly called "expando properties".

   1: var someObject = new Object();
   2:  
   3: //calls builtin toString method
   4: alert(someObject.toString());
   5:  
   6: // adding an attribute
   7: someObject.myExpando = "hello expando";
   8:  
   9: // replaces builtin toString method
  10: someObject.toString = function()
  11: {
  12:     return this.myExpando;
  13: }
  14:  
  15: // notice how the toString method has been replaced
  16: alert(someObject.toString());
  17:  
  18: // adding a new method to the new object
  19: someObject.tellTime = function()
  20: {
  21:     alert(new Date());
  22: }
  23:  
  24: someObject.tellTime();
  25:  
  26: //removing the method we just added
  27: delete someObject.tellTime;
  28:  
  29: //calling the method now will be an error
  30: try
  31: {
  32:     someObject.tellTime();
  33: }
  34: catch(e)
  35: {
  36:     alert(e.message);
  37: }

Additional Info:

5 comments:

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Anonymous said...

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