CodeNewbie Community 🌱

Cover image for Understanding JS getters and setters
Drac
Drac

Posted on

Understanding JS getters and setters

Let's dive to understand getters and setters from a 10x newbie. You should have a basic knowledge of JavaScript objects and classes to go on with this tutorial.

get

What is get in JavaScript?
get is a syntax that binds an object property to function, that will be called when that property is looked up.

Using get in objects

//  Object example with a getter
const obj = {
name: 'John',
surname: 'Doe',
age: 32,
get intro() {
return `Hello there, my name is ${this.name} and I am ${this.age} years old`;
  }
}

console.log(obj.intro) 
// OUTPUT: Hello there, my name is John and I am 32 years old
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

So a get is used to look into a function code and run it. Without the get syntax the output will be the whole function intro() { /* ... */} because calling our obj.intro won't know what to do with our function call and hence it returns the whole function.

  • get can bind property names of the function. Example;
const obj = {
/* code... */
get prop() { /* code to be executed when calling obj.prop */ }
}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode
  • Also get can use computed property names (expression). Example;
const obj = {
/* code... */
get [expression]() { /* code to be executed when calling obj.[expression] */ }
}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Using get in classes

In classes get is used the same as in objects but since getter properties are defined on the prototype property of the class unlike in object you need to instantiate the class with the new keyword, otherwise calling raw class will return undefined. Example;

class WithGet {
  text = "Hi there";

  get greeting() {
    return this.text;
  }
}

// Without instantiation
console.log(WithGet.greeeting)
// OUTPUT: undefined

// With instantiation
const greet = new WithGet()
console.log(greet.greeting) 
// OUTPUT: Hi there
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

That's it on understanding getters. Some advanced concepts on static and private getters, deleting a getter, defining a getter on an existing object are discussed here.

  • get is useful because it provides encapsulation, allowing you to control access to the internal properties of an object.
  • get is used for lazy evaluation, where a value is only computed the first time it is accessed.
  • get provide a clean and readable way to access properties.

set

What is set in JavaScript?
set syntax binds an object property to a function to be called when there is an attempt to set that property.

Using set in objects

// Object example with a setter

const score = {
  sheet: [],
  set grade(passmark) {
    this.sheet.push(passmark);
  }
}

score.grade = 'A';
score.grade = 'B';

console.log(score.sheet);
// OUTPUT: ["A", "B"]
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

So a set is used to set put into a property some value defined in the setter eg. in our score object, set is used to put grades in the sheet array property. Without the setter set our code would run but it would return an empty array [] because the grade function method won't know what to do with sheet array property.

  • set can bind a function method. Example;
const obj = {
/* code... */
set prop(val) { /* code to be executed when calling obj.prop */ }
}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Where the val parameter is the value which you want to set on the object.

  • Also set can use computed property names (expression). Example;
const obj = {
/* code... */
get [expression](val) { /* code to be executed when calling obj.[expression] */ }
}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Using set in classes

In classes set has the same syntax but commas are not needed between methods. Example;

class WithSet {
  text = "Hi there";
  get greeting() {
    return this.text;
  }

  set greeting(name) {
     this.text = `Hello ${name}`;
  }
}

// Without instantiation
console.log(WithSet.greeting)
// OUTPUT: undefined

// With instantiation
const greet = new WithSet()
greet.greeting  = 'John';
console.log(greet.greeting) 
// OUTPUT: Hello John

Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Note In classes, to return the code which the setter (for this example greeting setter) has done action on, you need a getter otherwise, you need to explicitly define a function method that will return the greeting or use a constructor.

That's it on understanding setters. Some advanced concepts on static and private setters, deleting a setter, defining a setter on an existing object are discussed here.

  • set allows you to control how properties of an object are modified thus offering control and encapsulation of code.
  • set help maintain the integrity of the object's data by ensuring that any changes are validated and processed correctly before being applied.
  • set centralize the logic for updating a property, which makes the code easier to maintain and refactor.

Thanks for reading this tutorial and I hope you understood what are getters and setters. For any queries, corrections or suggestion please comment so we can all level up to 10x newbiesπŸ˜‰.

Top comments (0)