Quiz Questions

What advantage is there for using the arrow syntax for a method in a constructor?

Quiz Topics

The main advantage of using an arrow function as a method inside a constructor is that the value of this gets set at the time of the function creation and can't change after that. So, when the constructor is used to create a new object, this will always refer to that object. For example, let's say we have a Person constructor that takes a first name as an argument has two methods to console.log that name, one as a regular function and one as an arrow function:

const Person = function (firstName) {
this.firstName = firstName;
this.sayName1 = function () {
this.sayName2 = () => {
const john = new Person('John');
const dave = new Person('Dave');
john.sayName1(); // John
john.sayName2(); // John
// The regular function can have its 'this' value changed, but the arrow function cannot
john.sayName1.call(dave); // Dave (because "this" is now the dave object)
john.sayName2.call(dave); // John
john.sayName1.apply(dave); // Dave (because 'this' is now the dave object)
john.sayName2.apply(dave); // John
john.sayName1.bind(dave)(); // Dave (because 'this' is now the dave object)
john.sayName2.bind(dave)(); // John
var sayNameFromWindow1 = john.sayName1;
sayNameFromWindow1(); // undefined (because 'this' is now the window object)
var sayNameFromWindow2 = john.sayName2;
sayNameFromWindow2(); // John

The main takeaway here is that this can be changed for a normal function, but the context always stays the same for an arrow function. So even if you are passing around your arrow function to different parts of your application, you wouldn't have to worry about the context changing.

This can be particularly helpful in React class components. If you define a class method for something such as a click handler using a normal function, and then you pass that click handler down into a child component as a prop, you will need to also bind this in the constructor of the parent component. If you instead use an arrow function, there is no need to also bind "this", as the method will automatically get its "this" value from its enclosing lexical context. (See this article for an excellent demonstration and sample code: https://medium.com/@machnicki/handle-events-in-react-with-arrow-functions-ede88184bbb)