JavaScript Node JS / Javascript: “this” is hidden in callback? [duplicate] javascript node this

I have noticed that there doesn't appear to be a clear explanation of what the this keyword is and how it is correctly (and incorrectly) used in JavaScript on the Stack Overflow site.

I have witnessed some very strange behaviour with it and have failed to understand why it has occurred.

How does this work and when should it be used?

Answer:1

Javascript's this

Simple function invocation

Consider the following function:

function foo() {
    console.log("bar");
    console.log(this);
}
foo(); // calling the function

Note that we are running this in the normal mode, i.e. strict mode is not used.

When running in a browser, the value of this would be logged as window. This is because window is the global variable in a web browser's scope.

If you run this same piece of code in an environment like node.js, this would refer to the global variable in your app.

Now if we run this in strict mode by adding the statement "use strict"; to the beginning of the function declaration, this would no longer refer to the global variable in either of the environments. This is done to avoid confusions in strict mode. this would, in this case just log undefined, because that is what it is, it is not defined.

In the following cases, we would see how to manipulate the value of this.

Calling a function on an object

There are different ways to do this. If you have called native methods in Javascript like forEach and slice, you should already know that the this variable in that case refers to the Object on which you called that function (Note that in javascript, just about everything is an Object, including Arrays and Functions). Take the following code for example.

var myObj = {key: "Obj"};
myObj.logThis = function () {
    // I am a method
    console.log(this);
}
myObj.logThis(); // myObj is logged

If an Object contains a property which holds a Function, the property is called a method. This method, when called, will always have it's this variable set to the Object it is associated with. This is true for both strict and non-strict modes.

Note that if a method is stored (or rather, copied) in another variable, the reference to this is no longer preserved in the new variable. For example:

// continuing with the previous code snippet

var myVar = myObj.thisMethod;
myVar();
// logs either of window/global/undefined based on mode of operation

Considering a more commonly practical scenario:

var el = document.getElementById('idOfEl');
el.addEventListener('click', function() { console.log(this) });
// the function called by addEventListener contains this as the reference to the element
// so clicking on our element would log that element itself

The new keyword

Consider a constructor function in Javascript:

function Person (name) {
    this.name = name;
    this.sayHello = function () {
        console.log ("Hello", this);
    }
}

var awal = new Person("Awal");
awal.sayHello();
// In `awal.sayHello`, `this` contains the reference to the variable `awal`

How does this work? Well, let's see what happens when we use the new keyword.

  1. Calling the function with the new keyword would immediately initialize an Object of type Person.
  2. The constructor of this Object has its constructor set to Person. Also, note that typeof awal would return Object only.
  3. This new Object would be assigned the prototype of Person.prototype. This means that any method or property in the Person prototype would be available to all instances of Person, including awal.
  4. The function Person itself is now invoked; this being a reference to the newly constructed object awal.

Pretty straightforward, eh?

Note that the official ECMAScript spec nowhere states that such types of functions are actual constructor functions. They are just normal functions, and new can be used on any function. It's just that we use them as such, and so we call them as such only.

Calling functions on Functions: call and apply

So yeah, since functions are also Objects (and in-fact first class variables in Javascript), even functions have methods which are... well, functions themselves.

All functions inherit from the global Function, and two of its many methods are call and apply, and both can be used to manipulate the value of this in the function on which they are called.

function foo () { console.log (this, arguments); }
var thisArg = {myObj: "is cool"};
foo.call(thisArg, 1, 2, 3);

This is a typical example of using call. It basically takes the first parameter and sets this in the function foo as a reference to thisArg. All other parameters passed to call is passed to the function foo as arguments.
So the above code will log {myObj: "is cool"}, [1, 2, 3] in the console. Pretty nice way to change the value of this in any function.

apply is almost the same as call accept that it takes only two parameters: thisArg and an array which contains the arguments to be passed to the function. So the above call call can be translated to apply like this:

foo.apply(thisArg, [1,2,3])

Note that call and apply can override the value of this set by dot method invocation we discussed in the second bullet. Simple enough :)

Presenting.... bind!

bind is a brother of call and apply. It is also a method inherited by all functions from the global Function constructor in Javascript. The difference between bind and call/apply is that both call and apply will actually invoke the function. bind, on the other hand, returns a new function with the thisArg and arguments pre-set. Let's take an example to better understand this:

function foo (a, b) {
    console.log (this, arguments);
}
var thisArg = {myObj: "even more cool now"};
var bound = foo.bind(thisArg, 1, 2);
console.log (typeof bound); // logs `function`
console.log (bound);
/* logs `function () { native code }` */

bound(); // calling the function returned by `.bind`
// logs `{myObj: "even more cool now"}, [1, 2]`

See the difference between the three? It is subtle, but they are used differently. Like call and apply, bind will also over-ride the value of this set by dot-method invocation.

Also note that neither of these three functions do any change to the original function. call and apply would return the value from freshly constructed functions while bind will return the freshly constructed function itself, ready to be called.

Extra stuff, copy this

Sometimes, you don't like the fact that this changes with scope, especially nested scope. Take a look at the following example.

var myObj = {
    hello: function () {
        return "world"
        },
    myMethod: function () {
        // copy this, variable names are case-sensitive
        var that = this;
        // callbacks ftw \o/
        foo.bar("args", function () {
            // I want to call `hello` here
            this.hello(); // error
            // but `this` references to `foo` damn!
            // oh wait we have a backup \o/
            that.hello(); // "world"
        });
    }
  };

In the above code, we see that the value of this changed with the nested scope, but we wanted the value of this from the original scope. So we 'copied' this to that and used the copy instead of this. Clever, eh?

Index:

  1. What is held in this by default?
  2. What if we call the function as a method with Object-dot notation?
  3. What if we use the new keyword?
  4. How do we manipulate this with call and apply?
  5. Using bind.
  6. Copying this to solve nested-scope issues.
Answer:2

Since this thread has bumped up, I have compiled few points for readers new to this topic.

How is the value of this determined?

We use this similar to the way we use pronouns in natural languages like English: “John is running fast because he is trying to catch the train.” Instead we could have written “… John is trying to catch the train”.

var person = {    
    firstName: "Penelope",
    lastName: "Barrymore",
    fullName: function () {

    // We use "this" just as in the sentence above:
       console.log(this.firstName + " " + this.lastName);

    // We could have also written:
       console.log(person.firstName + " " + person.lastName);
    }
}

this is not assigned a value until an object invokes the function where it is defined. In the global scope, all global variables and functions are defined on the window object. Therefore, this in a global function refers to (and has the value of) the global window object.

When use strict, this in global and in anonymous functions that are not bound to any object holds a value of undefined.

The this keyword is most misunderstood when: 1) we borrow a method that uses this, 2) we assign a method that uses this to a variable, 3) a function that uses this is passed as a callback function, and 4) this is used inside a closure — an inner function. (2)

table

What holds the future

Defined in ECMA Script 6, arrow-functions adopt the this binding from the enclosing (function or global) scope.

function foo() {
     // return an arrow function
     return (a) => {
     // `this` here is lexically inherited from `foo()`
     console.log(this.a);
  };
}
var obj1 = { a: 2 };
var obj2 = { a: 3 };

var bar = foo.call(obj1);
bar.call( obj2 ); // 2, not 3!

While arrow-functions provide an alternative to using bind(), it’s important to note that they essentially are disabling the traditional this mechanism in favor of more widely understood lexical scoping. (1)


References:

  1. this & Object Prototypes, by Kyle Simpson. © 2014 Getify Solutions.
  2. javascriptissexy.com - http://goo.gl/pvl0GX
  3. Angus Croll - http://goo.gl/Z2RacU
Answer:3

this in JavaScript always refers to the 'owner' of the function that is being executed.

If no explicit owner is defined, then the top most owner, the window object, is referenced.

So if I did

function someKindOfFunction() {
   this.style = 'foo';
}

element.onclick = someKindOfFunction;

this would refer to the element object. But be careful, a lot of people make this mistake.

<element onclick="someKindOfFunction()">

In the latter case, you merely reference the function, not hand it over to the element. Therefore, this will refer to the window object.

Answer:4

Here is one good source of this in JavaScript.

Here is the summary:

  • global this

    In a browser, at the global scope, this is the windowobject

    <script type="text/javascript">
      console.log(this === window); // true
      var foo = "bar";
      console.log(this.foo); // "bar"
      console.log(window.foo); // "bar"
    

    In node using the repl, this is the top namespace. You can refer to it as global.

    >this
      { ArrayBuffer: [Function: ArrayBuffer],
        Int8Array: { [Function: Int8Array] BYTES_PER_ELEMENT: 1 },
        Uint8Array: { [Function: Uint8Array] BYTES_PER_ELEMENT: 1 },
        ...
    >global === this
     true
    

    In node executing from a script, this at the global scope starts as an empty object. It is not the same as global

    \\test.js
    console.log(this);  \\ {}
    console.log(this === global); \\ fasle
    
  • function this

Except in the case of DOM event handlers or when a thisArg is provided (see further down), both in node and in a browser using this in a function that is not called with new references the global scope…

<script type="text/javascript">
    foo = "bar";

    function testThis() {
      this.foo = "foo";
    }

    console.log(this.foo); //logs "bar"
    testThis();
    console.log(this.foo); //logs "foo"
</script>

If you use use strict;, in which case this will be undefined

<script type="text/javascript">
    foo = "bar";

    function testThis() {
      "use strict";
      this.foo = "foo";
    }

    console.log(this.foo); //logs "bar"
    testThis();  //Uncaught TypeError: Cannot set property 'foo' of undefined 
</script>

If you call a function with new the this will be a new context, it will not reference the global this.

<script type="text/javascript">
    foo = "bar";

    function testThis() {
      this.foo = "foo";
    }

    console.log(this.foo); //logs "bar"
    new testThis();
    console.log(this.foo); //logs "bar"

    console.log(new testThis().foo); //logs "foo"
</script>
  • prototype this

Functions you create become function objects. They automatically get a special prototype property, which is something you can assign values to. When you create an instance by calling your function with new you get access to the values you assigned to the prototype property. You access those values using this.

function Thing() {
  console.log(this.foo);
}

Thing.prototype.foo = "bar";

var thing = new Thing(); //logs "bar"
console.log(thing.foo);  //logs "bar"

It is usually a mistake to assign arrays or objects on the prototype. If you want instances to each have their own arrays, create them in the function, not the prototype.

function Thing() {
    this.things = [];
}

var thing1 = new Thing();
var thing2 = new Thing();
thing1.things.push("foo");
console.log(thing1.things); //logs ["foo"]
console.log(thing2.things); //logs []
  • object this

You can use this in any function on an object to refer to other properties on that object. This is not the same as an instance created with new.

var obj = {
    foo: "bar",
    logFoo: function () {
        console.log(this.foo);
    }
};

obj.logFoo(); //logs "bar"
  • DOM event this

In an HTML DOM event handler, this is always a reference to the DOM element the event was attached to

function Listener() {
    document.getElementById("foo").addEventListener("click",
       this.handleClick);
}
Listener.prototype.handleClick = function (event) {
    console.log(this); //logs "<div id="foo"></div>"
}

var listener = new Listener();
document.getElementById("foo").click();

Unless you bind the context

function Listener() {
    document.getElementById("foo").addEventListener("click", 
        this.handleClick.bind(this));
}
Listener.prototype.handleClick = function (event) {
    console.log(this); //logs Listener {handleClick: function}
}

var listener = new Listener();
document.getElementById("foo").click();
  • HTML this

Inside HTML attributes in which you can put JavaScript, this is a reference to the element.

<div id="foo" onclick="console.log(this);"></div>
<script type="text/javascript">
document.getElementById("foo").click(); //logs <div id="foo"...
</script>
  • eval this

You can use eval to access this.

function Thing () {
}
Thing.prototype.foo = "bar";
Thing.prototype.logFoo = function () {
    eval("console.log(this.foo)"); //logs "bar"
}

var thing = new Thing();
thing.logFoo();
  • with this

You can use with to add this to the current scope to read and write to values on this without referring to this explicitly.

function Thing () {
}
Thing.prototype.foo = "bar";
Thing.prototype.logFoo = function () {
    with (this) {
        console.log(foo);
        foo = "foo";
    }
}

var thing = new Thing();
thing.logFoo(); // logs "bar"
console.log(thing.foo); // logs "foo"
  • jQuery this

the jQuery will in many places have this refer to a DOM element.

<div class="foo bar1"></div>
<div class="foo bar2"></div>
<script type="text/javascript">
$(".foo").each(function () {
    console.log(this); //logs <div class="foo...
});
$(".foo").on("click", function () {
    console.log(this); //logs <div class="foo...
});
$(".foo").each(function () {
    this.click();
});
</script>
Answer:5

Daniel, awesome explanation! A couple of words on this and good list of this execution context pointer in case of event handlers.

In two words, this in JavaScript points the object from whom (or from whose execution context) the current function was run and it's always read-only, you can't set it anyway (such an attempt will end up with 'Invalid left-hand side in assignment' message.

For event handlers: inline event handlers, such as <element onclick="foo">, override any other handlers attached earlier and before, so be careful and it's better to stay off of inline event delegation at all. And thanks to Zara Alaverdyan who inspired me to this list of examples through a dissenting debate :)

  • el.onclick = foo; // in the foo - obj
  • el.onclick = function () {this.style.color = '#fff';} // obj
  • el.onclick = function() {doSomething();} // In the doSomething - Window
  • el.addEventListener('click',foo,false) // in the foo - obj
  • el.attachEvent('onclick, function () { // this }') // window, all the compliance to IE :)
  • <button onclick="this.style.color = '#fff';"> // obj
  • <button onclick="foo"> // In the foo - window, but you can <button onclick="foo(this)">
Answer:6

There is a lot of confusion regarding how "this" keyword is interpreted in JavaScript. Hopefully this article will lay all those to rest once and for all. And a lot more. Please read the entire article carefully. Be forewarned that this article is long.

Irrespective of the context in which it is used, "this" always references the "current object" in Javascript. However, what the "current object" is differs according to context. The context may be exactly 1 of the 6 following:

  1. Global (i.e. Outside all functions)
  2. Inside Direct "Non Bound Function" Call (i.e. a function that has not been bound by calling functionName.bind)
  3. Inside Indirect "Non Bound Function" Call through functionName.call and functionName.apply
  4. Inside "Bound Function" Call (i.e. a function that has been bound by calling functionName.bind)
  5. While Object Creation through "new"
  6. Inside Inline DOM event handler

The following describes each of this contexts one by one:

  1. Global Context (i.e. Outside all functions):

    Outside all functions (i.e. in global context) the "current object" (and hence the value of "this") is always the "window" object for browsers.

  2. Inside Direct "Non Bound Function" Call:

    Inside a Direct "Non Bound Function" Call, the object that invoked the function call becomes the "current object" (and hence the value of "this"). If a function is called without a explicit current object, the current object is either the "window" object (For Non Strict Mode) or undefined (For Strict Mode) . Any function (or variable) defined in Global Context automatically becomes a property of the "window" object.For e.g Suppose function is defined in Global Context as

    function UserDefinedFunction(){
        alert(this)
        }
    

    it becomes the property of the window object, as if you have defined it as

    window.UserDefinedFunction=function(){
      alert(this)
    }  
    

    In "Non Strict Mode", Calling/Invoking this function directly through "UserDefinedFunction()" will automatically call/invoke it as "window.UserDefinedFunction()" making "window" as the "current object" (and hence the value of "this") within "UserDefinedFunction".Invoking this function in "Non Strict Mode" will result in the following

    UserDefinedFunction() // displays [object Window]  as it automatically gets invoked as window.UserDefinedFunction()
    

    In "Strict Mode", Calling/Invoking the function directly through "UserDefinedFunction()" will "NOT" automatically call/invoke it as "window.UserDefinedFunction()".Hence the "current object" (and the value of "this") within "UserDefinedFunction" shall be undefined. Invoking this function in "Strict Mode" will result in the following

    UserDefinedFunction() // displays undefined
    

    However, invoking it explicitly using window object shall result in the following

    window.UserDefinedFunction() // "always displays [object Window]   irrespective of mode."
    

    Let us look at another example. Please look at the following code

     function UserDefinedFunction()
        {
            alert(this.a + ","  + this.b + ","  + this.c  + ","  + this.d)
        }
    
    var o1={
                a:1,
                b:2,
                f:UserDefinedFunction
          }
    var o2={
                c:3,
                d:4,
                f:UserDefinedFunction
           }
    
    o1.f() // Shall display 1,2,undefined,undefined
    o2.f() // Shall display undefined,undefined,3,4
    

    In the above example we see that when "UserDefinedFunction" was invoked through o1, "this" takes value of o1 and the value of its properties "a" and "b" get displayed. The value of "c" and "d" were shown as undefined as o1 does not define these properties

    Similarly when "UserDefinedFunction" was invoked through o2, "this" takes value of o2 and the value of its properties "c" and "d" get displayed.The value of "a" and "b" were shown as undefined as o2 does not define these properties.

  3. Inside Indirect "Non Bound Function" Call through functionName.call and functionName.apply:

    When a "Non Bound Function" is called through functionName.call or functionName.apply, the "current object" (and hence the value of "this") is set to the value of "this" parameter (first parameter) passed to call/apply. The following code demonstrates the same.

    function UserDefinedFunction()
    {
        alert(this.a + ","  + this.b + ","  + this.c  + ","  + this.d)
    }
    var o1={
                a:1,
                b:2,
                f:UserDefinedFunction
           }
    var o2={
                c:3,
                d:4,
                f:UserDefinedFunction
           }
    
    UserDefinedFunction.call(o1) // Shall display 1,2,undefined,undefined
    UserDefinedFunction.apply(o1) // Shall display 1,2,undefined,undefined
    
    UserDefinedFunction.call(o2) // Shall display undefined,undefined,3,4
    UserDefinedFunction.apply(o2) // Shall display undefined,undefined,3,4
    
    o1.f.call(o2) // Shall display undefined,undefined,3,4
    o1.f.apply(o2) // Shall display undefined,undefined,3,4
    
    o2.f.call(o1) // Shall display 1,2,undefined,undefined
    o2.f.apply(o1) // Shall display 1,2,undefined,undefined
    

    The above code clearly shows that the "this" value for any "NON Bound Function" can be altered through call/apply. Also,if the "this" parameter is not explicitly passed to call/apply, "current object" (and hence the value of "this") is set to "window" in Non strict mode and "undefined" in strict mode.

  4. Inside "Bound Function" Call (i.e. a function that has been bound by calling functionName.bind):

    A bound function is a function whose "this" value has been fixed. The following code demonstrated how "this" works in case of bound function

    function UserDefinedFunction()
    {
        alert(this.a + ","  + this.b + ","  + this.c  + ","  + this.d)
    }
    var o1={
              a:1,
              b:2,
              f:UserDefinedFunction,
              bf:null
           }
    var o2={
               c:3,
               d:4,
               f:UserDefinedFunction,
               bf:null
            }
    
    var bound1=UserDefinedFunction.bind(o1); // permanantly fixes "this" value of function "bound1" to Object o1
    bound1() // Shall display 1,2,undefined,undefined
    
    var bound2=UserDefinedFunction.bind(o2); // permanantly fixes "this" value of function "bound2" to Object o2
    bound2() // Shall display undefined,undefined,3,4
    
    var bound3=o1.f.bind(o2); // permanantly fixes "this" value of function "bound3" to Object o2
    bound3() // Shall display undefined,undefined,3,4
    
    var bound4=o2.f.bind(o1); // permanantly fixes "this" value of function "bound4" to Object o1
    bound4() // Shall display 1,2,undefined,undefined
    
    o1.bf=UserDefinedFunction.bind(o2) // permanantly fixes "this" value of function "o1.bf" to Object o2
    o1.bf() // Shall display undefined,undefined,3,4
    
    o2.bf=UserDefinedFunction.bind(o1) // permanantly fixes "this" value of function "o2.bf" to Object o1
    o2.bf() // Shall display 1,2,undefined,undefined
    
    bound1.call(o2) // Shall still display 1,2,undefined,undefined. "call" cannot alter the value of "this" for bound function
    
    bound1.apply(o2) // Shall still display 1,2,undefined,undefined. "apply" cannot alter the value of "this" for bound function
    
    o2.bf.call(o2) // Shall still display 1,2,undefined,undefined. "call" cannot alter the value of "this" for bound function
    o2.bf.apply(o2) // Shall still display 1,2,undefined,undefined."apply" cannot alter the value of "this" for bound function
    

    As given in the code above, "this" value for any "Bound Function" CANNOT be altered through call/apply. Also, if the "this" parameter is not explicitly passed to bind, "current object" (and hence the value of "this" ) is set to "window" in Non strict mode and "undefined" in strict mode. One more thing. Binding an already bound function does not change the value of "this". It remains set as the value set by first bind function.

  5. While Object Creation through "new":

    Inside a constructor function, the "current object" (and hence the value of "this") references the object that is currently being created through "new" irrespective of the bind status of the function. However if the constructor is a bound function it shall get called with predefined set of arguments as set for the bound function.

  6. Inside Inline DOM event handler:

    Please look at the following HTML Snippet

    <button onclick='this.style.color=white'>Hello World</button>
    <div style='width:100px;height:100px;' onclick='OnDivClick(event,this)'>Hello World</div>
    

    The "this" in above examples refer to "button" element and the "div" element respectively.

    In the first example, the font color of the button shall be set to white when it is clicked.

    In the second example when the "div" element is clicked it shall call the OnDivClick function with its second parameter referencing the clicked div element. However the value of "this" within OnDivClick SHALL NOT reference the clicked div element. It shall be set as the "window object" or "undefined" in Non strict and Strict Modes respectively (if OnDivClick is an unbound function) or set to a predefined Bound value (if OnDivClick is a bound function)

The following summarizes the entire article

  1. In Global Context "this" always refers to the "window" object

  2. Whenever a function is invoked, it is invoked in context of an object ("current object"). If the current object is not explicitly provided, the current object is the "window object" in NON Strict Mode and "undefined" in Strict Mode by default.

  3. The value of "this" within a Non Bound function is the reference to object in context of which the function is invoked ("current object")

  4. The value of "this" within a Non Bound function can be overriden by call and apply methods of the function.

  5. The value of "this" is fixed for a Bound function and cannot be overriden by call and apply methods of the function.

  6. Binding and already bound function does not change the value of "this". It remains set as the value set by first bind function.

  7. The value of "this" within a constructor is the object that is being created and initialized

  8. The value of "this" within an inline DOM event handler is reference to the element for which the event handler is given.

Answer:7

Probably the most detailed and comprehensive article on this is the following:

Gentle explanation of 'this' keyword in JavaScript

The idea behind this is to understand that the function invocation types have the significant importance on setting this value.


When having troubles identifying this, do not ask yourself:

Where is this taken from?

but do ask yourself:

How is the function invoked?

For an arrow function (special case of context transparency) ask yourself:

What value has this where the arrow function is defined?

This mindset is correct when dealing with this and will save you from headache.

Answer:8

This is the best explanation I've seen: Understand JavaScripts this with Clarity

The this reference ALWAYS refers to (and holds the value of) an object—a singular object—and it is usually used inside a function or a method, although it can be used outside a function in the global scope. Note that when we use strict mode, this holds the value of undefined in global functions and in anonymous functions that are not bound to any object.

There are Four Scenarios where this can be confusing:

  1. When we pass a method (that uses this) as an argument to be used as a callback function.
  2. When we use an inner function (a closure). It is important to take note that closures cannot access the outer function’s this variable by using the this keyword because the this variable is accessible only by the function itself, not by inner functions.
  3. When a method which relies on this is assigned to a variable across contexts, in which case this references another object than originally intended.
  4. When using this along with the bind, apply, and call methods.

He gives code examples, explanations, and solutions, which I thought was very helpful.

Answer:9

It is difficult to get a good grasp of JS, or write more than anything trivial in it, if you don't understand it thoroughly. You cannot just afford to take a quick dip :) I think the best way to get started with JS is to first watch these video lectures by Douglas Crockford - http://yuiblog.com/crockford/, which covers this and that, and everything else about JS.

Answer:10

In pseudoclassical terms, the way many lectures teach the 'this' keyword is as an object instantiated by a class or object constructor. Each time a new object is constructed from a class, imagine that under the hood a local instance of a 'this' object is created and returned. I remember it taught like this:

function Car(make, model, year) {
var this = {}; // under the hood, so to speak
this.make = make;
this.model = model;
this.year = year;
return this; // under the hood
}

var mycar = new Car('Eagle', 'Talon TSi', 1993);
// ========= under the hood
var this = {};
this.make = 'Eagle';
this.model = 'Talon TSi';
this.year = 1993;
return this;
Answer:11

this is one of the misunderstood concept in JavaScript because it behaves little differently from place to place. Simply, this refers to the "owner" of the function we are currently executing.

this helps to get the current object (a.k.a. execution context) we work with. If you understand in which object the current function is getting executed, you can understand easily what current this is

var val = "window.val"

var obj = {
    val: "obj.val",
    innerMethod: function () {
        var val = "obj.val.inner",
            func = function () {
                var self = this;
                return self.val;
            };

        return func;
    },
    outerMethod: function(){
        return this.val;
    }
};

//This actually gets executed inside window object 
console.log(obj.innerMethod()()); //returns window.val

//Breakdown in to 2 lines explains this in detail
var _inn = obj.innerMethod();
console.log(_inn()); //returns window.val

console.log(obj.outerMethod()); //returns obj.val

Above we create 3 variables with same name 'val'. One in global context, one inside obj and the other inside innerMethod of obj. JavaScript resolves identifiers within a particular context by going up the scope chain from local go global.


Few places where this can be differentiated

Calling a method of a object

var status = 1;
var helper = {
    status : 2,
    getStatus: function () {
        return this.status;
    }
};

var theStatus1 = helper.getStatus(); //line1
console.log(theStatus1); //2

var theStatus2 = helper.getStatus;
console.log(theStatus2()); //1

When line1 is executed, JavaScript establishes an execution context (EC) for the function call, setting this to the object referenced by whatever came before the last ".". so in the last line you can understand that a() was executed in the global context which is the window.

With Constructor

this can be used to refer to the object being created

function Person(name){
    this.personName = name;
    this.sayHello = function(){
        return "Hello " + this.personName;
    }
}

var person1 = new Person('Scott');
console.log(person1.sayHello()); //Hello Scott

var person2 = new Person('Hugh');
var sayHelloP2 = person2.sayHello;
console.log(sayHelloP2()); //Hello undefined

When new Person() is executed, a completely new object is created. Person is called and its this is set to reference that new object.

Function call

function testFunc() {
    this.name = "Name";
    this.myCustomAttribute = "Custom Attribute";
    return this;
}

var whatIsThis = testFunc();
console.log(whatIsThis); //window

var whatIsThis2 = new testFunc();
console.log(whatIsThis2);  //testFunc() / object

console.log(window.myCustomAttribute); //Custom Attribute 

If we miss new keyword, whatIsThis referes to the most global context it can find(window)

With event handlers

If the event handler is inline, this refers to global object

<script type="application/javascript">
    function click_handler() {
        alert(this); // alerts the window object
    }
</script>

<button id='thebutton' onclick='click_handler()'>Click me!</button>

When adding event handler through JavaScript, this refers to DOM element that generated the event.


  • You can also manipulate the context using .apply() .call() and .bind()
  • JQuery proxy is another way you can use to make sure this in a function will be the value you desire. (Check Understanding $.proxy(), jQuery.proxy() usage)
  • What does var that = this means in JavaScript
Answer:12

The value of "this" depends on the "context" in which the function is executed. The context can be any object or the global object, i.e., window.

So the Semantic of "this" is different from the traditional OOP languages. And it causes problems: 1. when a function is passed to another variable (most likely, a callback); and 2. when a closure is invoked from a member method of a class.

In both cases, this is set to window.

Answer:13

Whould this help? (Most confusion of 'this' in javascript is coming from the fact that it generally is not linked to your object, but to the current executing scope -- that might not be exactly how it works but is always feels like that to me -- see the article for a complete explanation)

Answer:14

A little bit info about this keyword

Let's log this keyword to the console in global scope without any more code but

console.log(this)

In Client/Browser this keyword is a global object which is window

console.log(this === window) // true

and

In Server/Node/Javascript runtime this keyword is also a global object which is module.exports

console.log(this === module.exports) // true
console.log(this === exports) // true

Keep in mind exports is just a reference to module.exports

Answer:15

this use for Scope just like this

  <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">
$('#tbleName tbody tr').each(function{
var txt='';
txt += $(this).find("td").eq(0).text();
\\same as above but synatx different
var txt1='';
 txt1+=$('#tbleName tbody tr').eq(0).text();
alert(txt1)
});
</script>

value of txt1 and txt is same in Above example $(this)=$('#tbleName tbody tr') is Same

Answer:16

I have a different take on this from the other answers that I hope is helpful.

One way to look at JavaScript is to see that there are only 1 way to call a function1. It is

functionObject.call(objectForThis, arg0, arg1, arg2, ...);

There is always some value supplied for objectForThis.

Everything else is syntactic sugar for functionObject.call

So, everything else can be described by how it translates into functionObject.call.

If you just call a function then this is the "global object" which in the browser is the window

function foo() {
  console.log(this);
}

foo();  // this is the window object
Answer:17

Summary this Javascript:

  • The value of this is determined by how the function is invoked not, where it was created!
  • Usually the value of this is determined by the Object which is left of the dot. (window in global space)
  • In event listeners the value of this refers to the DOM element on which the event was called.
  • When in function is called with the new keyword the value of this refers to the newly created object
  • You can manipulate the value of this with the functions: call, apply, bind

Example:

let object = {
  prop1: function () {console.log(this);}
}

object.prop1();   // object is left of the dot, thus this is object

const myFunction = object.prop1 // We store the function in the variable myFunction

myFunction(); // Here we are in the global space
              // myFunction is a property on the global object
              // Therefore it logs the window object
              
             
Answer:18

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