JavaScript | Hoisting

In JavaScript, Hoisting is the default behavior of moving all the declarations at the top of the scope before code execution. Basically, it gives us an advantage that no matter where functions and variables are declared, they are moved to the top of their scope regardless of whether their scope is global or local.
It allows us to call functions before even writing them in our code.

Note: JavaScript only hoists declarations, not the initialisations.

Let us understand what exactly this is:
The following is the sequence in which variable declaration and initalisation occurs.

Declaration –> Initialisation/Assignment –> Usage

// Variable lifecycle
let a;        // Declaration
a = 100;      // Assignment
console.log(a);  // Usage

However, since JavaScript allows us to both declare and initialize our variables simultaneously, this is the most used pattern:



let a = 100;

Note: Always remember that in the background the Javascript is first declaring the variable and then initializing them. It is also good to know that variable declarations are processed before any code is executed.

However, in javascript, undeclared variables do not exist until code assigning them is executed. Therefore, assigning a value to an undeclared variable implicitly creates it as a global variable when the assignment is executed. This means that all undeclared variables are global variables.

// hoisting
function codeHoist(){
a = 10;
let b = 50;
}
codeHoist();

console.log(a); // 10
console.log(b); // ReferenceError : b is not defined

Output:

Explaination: In the above code sample we created a function called codeHoist() and in there we have a variable which we didn’t declare using let/var/const and a let variable b. The undeclared variable is assigned the global scope by javascript hence we are able to print it outside the function, but in case of the variable b the scope is confined and it is not available outside and we get a ReferenceError.

Note: There’s a difference between ReferenceError and undefined error. An undefined error occurs when we have a variable which is either not defined or explicitly defined as type undefined. ReferenceError is thrown when trying to access a previously undeclared variable.

ES5

When we talk about ES5,the variable that comes into our minds is var. Hoisting with var is somewhat different as when compared to let/const. Let’s make use of var and see how hoisting works:

// var code (global)
console.log(name); // undefined
var name = ‘Mukul Latiyan’;

Output:

Explaination: In the above code we tried to console the variable name which was declared and assigned later then using it,the compiler gives us undefined which we didn’t expected as we should have got ReferenceError as we were trying to use name variable even before declaring it.
But the interpreter sees this differently,the above code is seen like this:

//how interpreter sees the above code
var name;
console.log(name); // undefined
name = ‘Mukul Latiyan’;

Output:



Function scoped variable

Let’s look at how function scoped variables are hoisted.

//function scoped
function fun(){
console.log(name);
var name = ‘Mukul Latiyan’;
}
fun(); // undefined

Output:

There is no difference here as when compared to the code where we declared the variable globally, we get undefined as the code seen by the interpreter is:

//function scoped
function fun(){
var name;
console.log(name);
name = ‘Mukul Latiyan’;
}
fun(); // undefined

Output:

In order to avoid this pitfall,we can make sure to declare and assign the variable at the same time,before using it. Something like this:

//in order to avoid it
function fun(){
var name = ‘Mukul Latiyan’;
console.log(name); // Mukul Latiyan
}
fun();

Output:

ES6

Let
We know that variables declared with let keywords are block scoped not function scoped and hence it is not any kind of problem when it comes to hoisting.
Example:

//let example(global)
console.log(name);
let name=’Mukul Latiyan’; // ReferencError: name is not defined

Output:

Like before, for the var keyword, we expect the output of the log to be undefined. However, since the es6 let doesn’t take kindly on us using undeclared variables, the interpreter explicitly spits out a Reference error. This ensures that we always declare our variable first.
const behaves similar to let when it comes to hoisting.



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