Understanding JavaScript - Scope - Part 3

April 14,2020☕️ 5 min read

This is the final part of Understanding JavaScript - Scope Series.

You can read the first two parts of the blog using the below link

Part 1 of this blog available at - Understanding JavaScript - Scope - Part 1

Part 2 of this blog available at - Understanding JavaScript - Scope - Part 2

this keyword in JavaScript?

So, if we talk about the JavaScript Scope, the most important keyword will be this . We can define this keyword as, for each and every function, while executing, has a reference to its current execution context, which is called this.

Value of this depends on two important factors,

  • Where the function is being called/executed?
  • How the function is being executed?

There are four different ways that can determine the value of this.

  • is new keyword used while calling the function?
  • is the function called using bind or apply or call keyword?
  • is the function called via a existing/owning context?
  • default context(global) if the mode is not-strict.

    using new keyword
function bar() { 
  this.foo = "baz";
  console.log(this); //line 4
console.log(new bar());

We can use new keyword to call any function, irrespective of a class or function.(Fun Fact: There is nothing actually called class in JavaScript).

If we use new to reference a function, it will automatically create a new,empty object, which is passed as this to the respective function, this will work in the same way as calling the constructor.

In addition to this, if the function doesn’t have a return it will automatically add a return at the end of the function and return the value of this.

In the above snippet, return statement will be added at end of line 4. So if we use new keyword, the value of this will be a new,empty object.

using bind, call or apply keyword to invoke a function
function foo() {
var bar = "bar1";
var obj = {bar: "bar2"};


As we can see that by using call we can able to control the execution context explicitly, we can use apply to set the execution context.

apply(), call() and bind() all take a this argument as a context to execute a function in, but call() and apply() invoke the function immediately where bind() returns a function that we can pass around or store as needed. When invoked, the bound function will always execute in the context provided as the this argument.

function bind(func, object) {
    return function() {
function foo() {

function foo1() {
var obj = {
    bar: "bar"
var obj1 = {
    bar: "bar1"

foo = bind(foo, obj);
foo1 = bind(foo1, obj1);

foo() // bar
foo.call(obj1) //bar
foo1() // bar1
foo1.call(obj) //bar1

If we use bind, apply or call to trigger a function, we can able to explicitly call a function and set the value of this if we use any of these methods.

Function.prototype.bind is available in ES6 and available in most of the browsers, The best polyfill for bind is available in MDN - Polyfill for bind

function called via containing/owning object(context)
function foo() {
var bar = "bar1";
var object1 = { bar: "bar2" , foo: foo }; //line 5
var object2 = { bar: "bar3" , foo: foo }; //line 6

foo(); // bar1 - line 8
object1.foo(); // bar2 - line 9
object2.foo(); // bar3 - line 10

As you can see, if we call the function foo from line 8, which is at global scope, so the value of this is set at global scope, hnce the value of bar will be bar1.

In line 9 & 10, we’re having different objects and at line 5 and 6 and using the same way we’re referencing the function foo inside the objects.

And in line 9 and 10, we’re invoking function from object, hence the value will be from the place it called, so it will print bar2 and bar3 respectively.

global context or strict mode
function foo() {
foo(); // Window or global

If we see in the above snippet, the value of this inside the function foo, because it is not in strict mode, so the context passed is the global or window object.

'use strict'
function foo() {
foo(); // undefined

If we use the same in strict mode, then it will be undefined.

We don’t have to use these methods to set the context of the function, we can simply take advantage of JavaScript Scope, as in our previous blogs and get the same results in a better optimized way and more easily.

The ultimate goal of this series is to understand this and JavaScript Scope in a better way and effectively write the JavaScript code for the better web.

In the next post we will be exploring more about Closure in JavaScript.