Object Instance Methods

A method is a function attached to an object as a property.

let stringUtils = {
  capitalize: function(word) {
    return word.charAt(0).toUpperCase() +
      word.slice(1).toLowerCase();
  },
  yell: function(opinion) {
    return opinion.toUpperCase() + '!!!';
  }
}

stringUtils.yell('i love pizza') //=> 'I LOVE PIZZA!!!'

Methods Can Access Object Properties

let rectangle = {
  height: 10,
  width: 8,
  area: function() {
    return this.height * this.width;
  }
}

rectangle.height   //=> 10
rectangle.area()   //=> 80

The keyword this means "this object I'm in right now"

The this Keyword is Special

The this keyword is a special value that is a reference to the object that it is used within

let cardinal = {
  color: 'red',
  describe: function() {
    return 'I am a ' + this.color + ' bird';
  }
}

let blueJay = {
  color: 'blue',
  describe: function() {
    return 'I am a ' + this.color + ' bird';
  }
}


console.log(cardinal.describe());
// 'I am a red bird'
console.log(blueJay.describe());
// 'I am a blue bird'

Extending Objects with Methods

Since JavaScript is a dynamic language, you can add methods to any object.

let rectangle = {
  height: 10,
  width: 8,
}

rectangle.area()   //=> TypeError: rectangle.area is not a function

rectangle.area = function() {
  return this.height * this.width;
}

rectangle.area()   //=> 80

Lab: Speak

Using the following definition:

let dog = {
  name: 'Fido',
  paws: 4
}

Please add a method to dog called speak so the following code:

console.log(dog.speak())

prints the following line:

My name is Fido and I have 4 paws!

Speak solution

Solution

let dog = {
  name: 'Abby',
  paws: 4
}

dog.speak = function() {
  return "My name is " + this.name + " and I have " + this.paws + "paws"
}

A Clever Trick: Extending System Classes

You can add methods to all objects of the same type like this:

'banana'.capitalize() 
//=> TypeError: 'banana'.capitalize is not a function

String.prototype.capitalize = function() {
  return this.charAt(0).toUpperCase() +
    this.slice(1).toLowerCase();
}

'banana'.capitalize() //=> "Banana"

String.prototype is a special object whose properties (including methods!) are made available to all strings.

Clever = Danger

This clever trick is useful but dangerous. Don't outsmart yourself!

"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." - Brian Kernighan

Specifically, if you change the definition of basic types, you might introduce bugs somewhere else in your program -- possibly in code that you didn't even write yourself!

That's why extending system classes is sometimes called by the derogatory term "monkey patching".

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