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OOP is better with stamps: Composable object factories.
JavaScript CSS Other



Create objects from reusable, composable behaviors. Stampit uses three different kinds of prototypal OO to let you inherit behavior in a way that is much more powerful and flexible than classical OO.

Looking for a deep dive into prototypal OO, stamps, and the Two Pillars of JavaScript? Learn JavaScript with Eric Elliott.


Stable, in production use with millions of monthly users. There will be no breaking changes in the 1.x line.

Stampit was written as an example for the book, "Programming JavaScript Applications" (O'Reilly).

Known Issues


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Stampit can be installed via npm

npm install stampit

or bower

bower install stampit

or gem install

gem install stampitjs-rails

or by downloading the latest release.


  • Create factory functions (called stamps) which stamp out new objects. All of the new objects inherit all of the prescribed behavior.

  • Compose stamps together to create new stamps.

  • Inherit methods and default state.

  • Supports composable private state and privileged methods.

  • State is cloned for each instance, so it won't be accidentally shared.

  • For the curious - it's great for learning about prototypal OO. It mixes three major types of prototypes:

    1. differential inheritance, aka delegation (for methods),
    2. cloning, aka concatenation/exemplar prototypes (for state),
    3. functional / closure inheritance (for privacy / encapsulation)

What's the Point?

Prototypal OO is great, and JavaScript's capabilities give us some really powerful tools to explore it, but it could be easier to use.

Basic questions like "how do I inherit privileged methods and private data?" and "what are some good alternatives to inheritance hierarchies?" are stumpers for many JavaScript users.

Let's answer both of these questions at the same time. First, we'll use a closure to create data privacy:

var a = stampit().enclose(function () {
  var a = 'a';
  this.getA = function () {
    return a;

It uses function scope to encapsulate private data. Note that the getter must be defined inside the function in order to access the closure variables.

Let's see if that worked:

a(); // Object -- so far so good.
a().getA(); // "a"

Yes. Got it. In both of these instances, we actually created a brand new object, and then immediately threw it away, because we didn't assign it to anything. Don't worry about that.

Here's another:

var b = stampit().enclose(function () {
  var a = 'b';
  this.getB = function () {
    return a;

Those a's are not a typo. The point is to demonstrate that a and b's private variables won't clash.

But here's the real treat:

var c = stampit.compose(a, b);

var foo = c(); // we won't throw this one away...

foo.getA(); // "a"
foo.getB(); // "b"

WAT? Yeah. You just inherited privileged methods and private data from two sources at the same time.

But that's boring. Let's see what else is on tap:

// Some more privileged methods, with some private data.
// Use stampit.mixIn() to make this feel declarative:
var availability = stampit().enclose(function () {
  var isOpen = false; // private

  return stampit.mixIn(this, {
    open: function open() {
      isOpen = true;
      return this;
    close: function close() {
      isOpen = false;
      return this;
    isOpen: function isOpenMethod() {
      return isOpen;

// Here's a mixin with public methods, and some state:
var membership = stampit({
    add: function (member) {
      this.members[] = member;
      return this;
    getMember: function (name) {
      return this.members[name];
    members: {}

// Let's set some defaults:
var defaults = stampit().state({
      name: 'The Saloon',
      specials: 'Whisky, Gin, Tequila'

// Classical inheritance has nothing on this. No parent/child coupling. No deep inheritance hierarchies.
// Just good, clean code reusability.
var bar = stampit.compose(defaults, availability, membership);

// Note that you can override state on instantiation:
var myBar = bar({name: 'Moe\'s'});

// Silly, but proves that everything is as it should be.
myBar.add({name: 'Homer' }).open().getMember('Homer');

More chaining

You can change the stamp in question (this) using chaining methods.

Chain .methods() ...

var myStamp = stampit().methods({
  foo: function () {
    return 'foo';
  methodOverride: function () {
    return false;
  bar: function () {
    return 'bar'
  methodOverride: function () {
    return true;

And .state() ...

  foo: {bar: 'bar'},
  stateOverride: false
  bar: 'bar',
  stateOverride: true

And .enclose() ...

myStamp.enclose(function () {
  var secret = 'foo';

  this.getSecret = function () {
    return secret;
}).enclose(function () {
  this.a = true;
  bar: function bar() {
    this.b = true;
}, {
  baz: function baz() {
    this.c = true;

var obj = myStamp.create();
obj.getSecret && obj.a && obj.b && obj.c; // true

And .compose(). But unlike the other chaining methods this one creates a new stamp object.

var newStamp = baseStamp.compose(myStamp);

Pass multiple objects into .methods(), .state(), .enclose(), or .compose().

Stampit mimics the behavior of _.extend(), $.extend() when you pass multiple objects into one of the prototype methods. In other words, it will copy all of the properties from those objects to the .methods, .state, or .enclose prototype for the stamp. The properties from later arguments in the list will override the same named properties of previously passed in objects.

  var obj = stampit().methods({
    a: function () { return 'a'; }
  }, {
    b: function () { return 'b'; }

Or .state() ...

  var obj = stampit().state({
    a: 'a'
  }, {
    b: 'b'

Or even .compose() ...

  var obj = abstractStamp.compose(concreteStamp, additionalStamp, utilityStamp).create();

Stampit API

Source: stampit.js


Return a factory function (called a stamp) that will produce new objects using the prototypes that are passed in or composed.

  • @param {Object} [methods] A map of method names and bodies for delegation.
  • @param {Object} [state] A map of property names and values to clone for each new object.
  • @param {Function} [enclose] A closure (function) used to create private data and privileged methods.
  • @return {Function} stamp A factory to produce objects using the given prototypes.
  • @return {Function} stamp.create Chaining sugar that invokes the stamp.
  • @return {Object} stamp.fixed An object map containing the fixed prototypes.
  • @return {Function} stamp.methods Add methods to the methods prototype. Chainable.
  • @return {Function} stamp.state Add properties to the state prototype. Chainable.
  • @return {Function} stamp.enclose Add or replace the closure prototype. Chainable.
  • @return {Function} stamp.compose Add stamp to stamp. Chainable.

The stamp object


Take n objects and add them to the methods prototype. Changes this object.

  • @return {Object} stamp The stamp in question (this).


Take n objects and add them to the state prototype. Changes this object.

  • @return {Object} stamp The stamp in question (this).

stamp.enclose([arg1] [,arg2] [,arg3...])

Take n functions, an array of functions, or n objects and add the functions to the enclose prototype. Changes this object.

  • @return {Object} stamp The stamp in question (this).

Functions passed into .enclose() are called any time an object is instantiated. That happens when the stamp function is invoked, or when the .create() method is called.

stamp.compose([arg1] [,arg2] [,arg3...])

Take one or more factories produced from stampit() and combine them with this to produce and return a new factory object. Combining overrides properties with last-in priority.

  • @return {Function} A new stampit factory composed from arguments.

stamp.create([properties] [,arg2] [,arg3...])

Just like calling stamp(), stamp.create() invokes the stamp and returns a new instance. The first argument is an object containing properties you wish to set on the new objects.

The remaining arguments are passed to all .enclose() functions. WARNING Avoid using two different .enclose() functions that expect different arguments. .enclose() functions that take arguments should not be considered safe to compose with other .enclose() functions that also take arguments. Taking arguments with an .enclose() function is an anti-pattern that should be avoided, when possible.

Utility methods


Take two or more stamps produced from stampit() and combine them to produce a new stamp. Combining overrides properties with last-in priority.

  • @param {...Function} stamp any number of stamps.
  • @return {Function} A new stamp composed from arguments.

stampit.mixIn(destObj, source1 [, sourc2] [, source3]...)

Take a destination object followed by one or more source objects, and copy the source object properties to the destination object, with last in priority overrides.

  • @param {Object} destination An object to copy properties to.
  • @param {...Object} source An object to copy properties from.
  • @returns {Object}


Alias for mixIn.


Take an object and return true if it's a stamp, false otherwise.

  • @param {Object} destination An object to copy properties to.
  • @returns {Boolean}


Take an old-fashioned JS constructor and return a stamp that you can freely compose with other stamps. It is possible to use constructors that take arguments. Simply pass the arguments into the returned stamp after the properties object: var myInstance = myStamp(props, arg1, arg2);

Note that if you use this feature, it is not safe to compose the resulting stamp with other stamps willy-nilly, because if two different stamps depend on the argument passing feature, the arguments will probably clash with each other, producing very unexpected results.

  • @param {Function} Constructor
  • @return {Function} A composable stampit factory (aka stamp).
  // The old constructor / class thing...
  var Constructor = function Constructor() {
    this.thing = 'initialized';
  }; = function foo() { return 'foo'; };

  // The conversion
  var oldskool = stampit.convertConstructor(Constructor);

  // A new stamp to compose with...
  var newskool = stampit().methods({
      bar: function bar() { return 'bar'; }
     // your methods here...
    }).enclose(function () {
      this.baz = 'baz';

  // Now you can compose those old constructors just like you could
  // with any other stamp...
  var myThing = stampit.compose(oldskool, newskool);

  var t = myThing();

  t.thing; // 'initialized',; // 'foo',; // 'bar'
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