Function overloading in Javascript – Best practices

Function overloading in Javascript – Best practices

The best way to do function overloading with parameters is not to check the argument length or the types; checking the types will just make your code slow and you have the fun of Arrays, nulls, Objects, etc.

What most developers do is tack on an object as the last argument to their methods. This object can hold anything.

function foo(a, b, opts) {
  // ...
  if (opts[test]) { } //if test param exists, do something.. 
}


foo(1, 2, {method:add});
foo(3, 4, {test:equals, bar:tree});

Then you can handle it anyway you want in your method. [Switch, if-else, etc.]

I often do this:

C#:

public string CatStrings(string p1)                  {return p1;}
public string CatStrings(string p1, int p2)          {return p1+p2.ToString();}
public string CatStrings(string p1, int p2, bool p3) {return p1+p2.ToString()+p3.ToString();}

CatStrings(one);        // result = one
CatStrings(one,2);      // result = one2
CatStrings(one,2,true); // result = one2true

JavaScript Equivalent:

function CatStrings(p1, p2, p3)
{
  var s = p1;
  if(typeof p2 !== undefined) {s += p2;}
  if(typeof p3 !== undefined) {s += p3;}
  return s;
};

CatStrings(one);        // result = one
CatStrings(one,2);      // result = one2
CatStrings(one,2,true); // result = one2true

This particular example is actually more elegant in javascript than C#. Parameters which are not specified are undefined in javascript, which evaluates to false in an if statement. However, the function definition does not convey the information that p2 and p3 are optional. If you need a lot of overloading, jQuery has decided to use an object as the parameter, for example, jQuery.ajax(options). I agree with them that this is the most powerful and clearly documentable approach to overloading, but I rarely need more than one or two quick optional parameters.

EDIT: changed IF test per Ians suggestion

Function overloading in Javascript – Best practices

There is no real function overloading in JavaScript since it allows to pass any number of parameters of any type. You have to check inside the function how many arguments have been passed and what type they are.

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