Skip to content

HTTPS clone URL

Subversion checkout URL

You can clone with HTTPS or Subversion.

Download ZIP

Loading…

IIFE Parentheses #21

Closed
jcutrell opened this Issue · 4 comments

4 participants

Jonathan Cutrell Matt Baker Harrison Shoff Égon Yuri Costa Lima
Jonathan Cutrell

Could this:

(function() {
  console.log('Welcome to the Internet. Please follow me.');
})();

Be this? :

// Crockford's preference - parens on the inside
(function() {
  console.log('Welcome to the Internet. Please follow me.');
}());
Matt Baker
Collaborator

For modules we've decided on this:

!function() {
  console.log('Welcome to the Internet. Please follow me.');
}();

...But I have no particular preference on where parens should go for IIFEs that aren't also modules. Usually they're not very useful -- if it needs to be hidden, make it its own module -- but in the cases where they are it doesn't really matter to me. Both seem equally readable.

Is there enough of a difference to make this worth codifying?

Harrison Shoff
Owner

If you don't care about the return value of the IIFE, it could also be any of the following:

!function(){}();  // => true
~function(){}(); // => -1
+function(){}(); // => NaN
-function(){}();  // => NaN

Let's explore this a bit more.

// module1.js
(function() {
  console.log('module1');
})();

// module2.js
(function() {
  console.log('module2');
})();
// production.min.js
(function(){console.log('module1');})();(function(){console.log('module2');})();
// => module1
// => module2

// crockford production.min.js
(function(){console.log('module1');}());(function(){console.log('module2');}());
// => module1
// => module2

Both work the same. It starts to get interesting when one of the modules is missing a trailing semicolon:

// problem
(function(){console.log('module1');})()(function(){console.log('module2');})();
// => module1
// => TypeError: undefined is not a function

// crockford problem
(function(){console.log('module1');}())(function(){console.log('module2');}());
// => module1
// => module2
// => TypeError: undefined is not a function

With a missing semicolon, each set of parens is trying to immediately-invoke the preceding expression. That would be the return value of the preceding IIFE.

(function(){ return undefined; })()();
// => TypeError: undefined is not a function

// equivalent
(undefined)();

(function(){ return undefined; }())(); // crockford
// => TypeError: undefined is not a function

// equivalent
(undefined());

So the difference is when the TypeError happens. Let's check out what the arguments are up to. Note that console.log() returns undefined:

// new module1.js
(function() {
  console.log('module1');

  // return a function that logs it's
  // arguments when invoked
  return function(){
    console.log(arguments);
  };
})()
// new production.js
// unminified problem for readability
(function() {
  console.log('module1');

  // return a function that logs it's
  // arguments when invoked
  return function(){
    console.log(arguments);
  };
})()(function() {
  console.log('module2');
})();
// => module1
// => [function() {
//      console.log('module2');
//    }]
// => TypeError: undefined is not a function

// the first step is to invoke the first module
(function(){console.log('module1');return function(){console.log(arguments)};})()
// => module1

// then it invokes the return value
// with module2 as arguments
(function(){ console.log(arguments) })(function() {console.log('module2');});
// => [function() {
//      console.log('module2');
//    }]

// then it tries to invoke the return value.
// console.log returns undefined so:
(undefined)();
// => TypeError: undefined is not a function

Now let's do that same example with the crockford way:

// new crockford module1.js
(function(){
  console.log('module1');

  // return a function that logs it's
  // arguments when invoked
  return function(){
    console.log(arguments);
  };
}())
// new production.js
// unminified problem for readability
(function(){
  console.log('module1');

  // return a function that logs it's
  // arguments when invoked
  return function(){
    console.log(arguments);
  };
}())(function(){
  console.log('module2');
}());
// => module1
// => module2
// => [undefined]

But wait, there's no TypeError here...

// it invokes module1
(function(){ console.log('module1'); return function(){ console.log(arguments); };}())
// => module1

//it invokes module2
(function(){ console.log('module2'); }());
// => module2

// equivalent
(function(){ console.log(arguments); })(undefined)
// => [undefined]

There's no TypeError because of the returned function. The returned function that logs the arguments is then getting invoked with the return value of module2, which is undefined.
With that understanding, let's go back to the original example, where there was a TypeError:

// crockford problem
(function(){console.log('module1');}())(function(){console.log('module2');}());
// => module1
// => module2
// => TypeError: undefined is not a function

// it invokes module1
(function(){ console.log('module1'); }())
// => module1

//it invokes module2
(function(){ console.log('module2'); }());
// => module2

// equivalent
(undefined(undefined))
// => TypeError: undefined is not a function

Conclusion
The (function{})(); and (function(){}()); IIFEs can act differently in the missing semicolon situation.

Use linter or a tool to make sure modules aren't missing trailing semicolons when working on modules.

To be extra safe add a leading semicolon to the IIFE:

// module1.js
;(function() {
  console.log('module1');
})()

// crockford module1.js
;(function(){
  console.log('module1');
}())

// module2.js
;(function() {
  console.log('module2');
})();

// crockford module2.js
;(function() {
  console.log('module2');
}());

// production.min.js
;(function(){ console.log('module1'); })();(function(){ console.log('module2'); })();
// => module1
// => module2

// crockford production.min.js
;(function(){ console.log('module1'); }());(function(){ console.log('module2'); }());
// => module1
// => module2

Hope that helps!

Jonathan Cutrell

A fantastically thorough explanation.

Harrison Shoff hshoff closed this
Égon Yuri Costa Lima

Incredible explanation.

Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment
Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.