JAVASCRIPT BASIC
JAVASCRIPT & DOM
JAVASCRIPT & BOM
JAVASCRIPT ADVANCED
JAVASCRIPT EXAMPLES
JAVASCRIPT REFERENCE

JavaScript Borrowing Methods

In this tutorial you will learn how to borrow functionality from existing objects in JavaScript.

Borrowing Methods from Objects

In JavaScript, you can borrow methods from other objects to build some functionality without inheriting all their properties and methods.

JavaScript provides two methods for all function objects, call() and apply(), that allow a function to be invoked as if it were a method of another object. Here's an example:

var objA = {
    name: "object A",
    say: function(greet) {
        alert(greet + ", " + this.name);
    }
}

objA.say("Hi"); // Displays: Hi, object A

var objB = {
    name: "object B"
}

/* The objA doesn't have say() method, but it can borrow it from objA */
objA.say.call(objB, "Hello"); // Displays: Hello, object B

Difference Between call() and apply() Methods

The syntax of the apply() method is almost identical to call(), the only difference is, the call() method takes a list of arguments like call(thisObj, arg1, arg2, ...), while the apply() method takes a single array of arguments like apply(thisObj, [argsArray]).

Notice the square brackets ([]), which denotes an array, in the last line of the following example:

var objA = {
    name: "object A",
    say: function(greet) {
        alert(greet + ", " + this.name);
    }
}

objA.say("Hi"); // Displays: Hi, object A

var objB = {
    name: "object B"
}

/* The objA doesn't have say() method, but it can borrow it from objA */
objA.say.apply(objB, ["Hello"]); // Displays: Hello, object B

Using Built-in Methods

The apply() method also allows you to use built-in methods for performing some tasks quickly and easily. One such example is using the Math.max()/Math.min() to find out the maximum or minimum value in an array, that would otherwise require looping over the array values.

As you already know from the previous chapters JavaScript arrays do not have a max() method, but Math has, so we can apply the Math.max() method, like this:

var numbers = [2, 5, 6, 4, 3, 7];

// Using Math.max apply
var max = Math.max.apply(null, numbers);
alert(max); // Outputs: 7

Note: The first argument to both call() and apply() is the object on which the function is to be invoked. Using null as the first argument is like calling the function without providing any object for the this pointer inside the function.

The new ES6 spread operator provides a shorter way to obtain the maximum or minimum value from an array without using the apply() method. Here's an example:

var numbers = [2, 5, 6, 4, 3, 7];

// Using spread operator
var max = Math.max(...numbers);
alert(max); // Outputs: 7

However, both spread (...) and apply() will either fail or return the incorrect result if the array has too many elements (e.g. tens of thousands). In that case you can use the Array.reduce() to find the maximum or minimum value in a numeric array, by comparing each value, like this:

var numbers = [2, 5, 6, 4, 3, 7];

// Using reduce method
var max = numbers.reduce(function(a, b) {
    return Math.max(a, b);
});
alert(max); // Outputs: 7

Your Feedback:

We would love to hear from you, please drop us a line.