We happen to guess that the this keyword’s usage is same to the ones in Java or C# or any other OOP language. But it’s not true. I’ve been following the book series You Don’t Know JS, and i gotta say using this is not that easy as it looks.

What We Normally Assume

We think that it refers to the function that it resides in. For example think about this C# code:

public class Foo
    int id;
    public Foo(int id){
        this.id = id;

After using this like this, we assume that we can use in a function in JavaScript like this:

// Global Scope
function foo() {
	console.log( this.a );
var a = 2;

foo(); // 2

Why that logs 2 instead of undefined you’d ask, well because this does not belong to the enclosing function.

this Should be Bound to Something

If we bind this it should work the way we want. For example, i want this refer to my object, how we can achieve this?

var obj = {

function foo(){

foo.call(obj); // 2

We explicitly bind this to refer to my object. You can also use apply() instead of call(), they do the same work.

Using the new Keyword

Normally, we initialize our string or number objects with primitive values, or when defining an object we use (generally) the literal syntax. But if we want to use this, we can construct our object using new keyword and overrides the mechanism so that we can use this safely on our object.

function useNew(a) {
    this.a = a;

var obj = new useNew(12);

Using with Arrow-Function

In my previous post i talked about the scoping in a setTimeout() function, that it does not have it’s own scope, instead it’s scope becomes stuck at the global scope. ES6 introduces a new function, arrow function and it has it’s own scope. If we want to use this in an arrow function, we can access to our objects properties:

function foo() {
     for (let index = 0; index < 10; index++) {
        setTimeout(() => {
            this.a += index;
        }, 100)

var obj = {
    a: 2

foo.call(obj); // 2, 3, 5, 8 etc.

Because the arrow-function defines it’s own lexical scope, the usage of this is achieved. Also, normally the variable index value would be stuck at 10. With using let keyword,we solve this problem, too.

To Sum Up

There are many ways of using this, and it’s an important part of JavaScript, I’m following the great book series You Don’t Know JS, and if you wanna have a look at more at this keyword, you should go for the 3rd book of this series. Thanks for reading.