JavaScript Constructor Function

In this tutorial, you will learn about JavaScript constructor function with the help of examples.

In JavaScript, a constructor function is used to create objects. For example,

// constructor function
function Person () {
    this.name = 'John',
    this.age = 23
}

// create an object
const person = new Person();

In the above example, function Person() is an object constructor function.

To create an object from a constructor function, we use the new keyword.

Note: It is considered a good practice to capitalize the first letter of your constructor function.


Create Multiple Objects with Constructor Function

In JavaScript, you can create multiple objects from a constructor function. For example,

// constructor function
function Person () {
    this.name = 'John',
    this.age = 23,

     this.greet = function () {
        console.log('hello');
    }
}

// create objects
const person1 = new Person();
const person2 = new Person();

// access properties
console.log(person1.name);  // John
console.log(person2.name);  // John

In the above program, two objects are created using the same constructor function.


JavaScript this Keyword

In JavaScript, when this keyword is used in a constructor function, this refers to the object when the object is created. For example,

// constructor function
function Person () {
    this.name = 'John',
}

// create object
const person1 = new Person();

// access properties
console.log(person1.name);  // John

Hence, when an object accesses the properties, it can directly access the property as person1.name.


JavaScript Constructor Function Parameters

You can also create a constructor function with parameters. For example,

// constructor function
function Person (person_name, person_age, person_gender) {

   // assigning  parameter values to the calling object
    this.name = person_name,
    this.age = person_age,
    this.gender = person_gender,

    this.greet = function () {
        return ('Hi' + ' ' + this.name);
    }
}


// creating objects
const person1 = new Person('John', 23, 'male');
const person2 = new Person('Sam', 25, 'female');

// accessing properties
console.log(person1.name); // "John"
console.log(person2.name); // "Sam"

In the above example, we have passed arguments to the constructor function during the creation of the object.

const person1 = new Person('John', 23, 'male');
const person2 = new Person('Sam', 25, 'male');

This allows each object to have different properties. As shown above,

console.log(person1.name); gives John

console.log(person2.name); gives Sam


Create Objects: Constructor Function Vs Object Literal

  • Object Literal is generally used to create a single object. The constructor function is useful if you want to create multiple objects. For example,
// using object literal
let person = {
    name: 'Sam'
}
// using constructor function
function Person () {
    this.name = 'Sam'
}

let person1 = new Person();
let person2 = new Person();
  • Each object created from the constructor function is unique. You can have the same properties as the constructor function or add a new property to one particular object. For example,
// using constructor function
function Person () {
    this.name = 'Sam'
}

let person1 = new Person();
let person2 = new Person();

// adding new property to person1
person1.age = 20;

Now this age property is unique to person1 object and is not available to person2 object.

However, if an object is created with an object literal, and if a variable is defined with that object value, any changes in variable value will change the original object. For example,

// using object lateral
let person = {
    name: 'Sam'
}

console.log(person.name); // Sam

let student = person;

// changes the property of an object
student.name = 'John';

// changes the origins object property
console.log(person.name); // John

When an object is created with an object literal, any object variable derived from that object will act as a clone of the original object. Hence, any change you make in one object will also reflect in the other object.


Adding Properties And Methods in an Object

You can add properties or methods in an object like this:

// constructor function
function Person () {
    this.name = 'John',
    this.age = 23
}

// creating objects
let person1 = new Person();
let person2 = new Person();

// adding property to person1 object
person1.gender = 'male';

// adding method to person1 object
person1.greet = function () {
    console.log('hello');
}

person1.greet();   // hello

// Error code
// person2 doesn't have greet() method
person2.greet();

Output

hello
Uncaught TypeError: person2.greet is not a function

In the above example, a new property gender and a new method greet() is added to the person1 object.

However, this new property and method is only added to object1. You cannot access gender or greet() from object2. Hence the program gives error when we try to access person2.greet();


JavaScript Object Prototype

You can also add properties and methods to a constructor function using a prototype. For example,

// constructor function
function Person () {
    this.name = 'John',
    this.age = 23
}

// creating objects
let person1 = new Person();
let person2 = new Person();

// adding new property to constructor function
Person.prototype.gender = 'Male';

console.log(person1.gender); // Male
console.log(person2.gender); // Male

To learn more about prototypes, visit JavaScript Prototype.


JavaScript Built-in Constructors

JavaScript also has built-in constructors. Some of them are:

let a = new Object();    // A new Object object
let b = new String();    // A new String object
let c = new Number();    // A new Number object
let d = new Boolean();   // A new Boolean object

In JavaScript, strings can be created as an object by:

const name = new String ('John');
console.log(name); // "John"

In JavaScript, numbers can be created as an object by:

const number = new Number (57);
console.log(number); // 57

In JavaScript, booleans can be created as an object by:

const count = new Boolean(true);
console.log(count); // true

Note: It is recommended to use primitive data types and create them in a normal way, such as const name = 'John';, const number = 57; and const count = true;

You should not declare strings, numbers, and boolean values as objects because they slow down the program.


Note: In JavaScript, the keyword class was introduced in ES6 (ES2015) that also allows us to create objects. Classes are similar to constructor functions in JavaScript. To learn more, visit JavaScript Classes.