Arrow Functions

    Declaring Functions

    There are two syntaxes for declaring functions:

    • The function keyword
    • Arrow (=>) function expressions

    The => syntax is a newer, more lightweight syntax for defining functions. However, these syntaxes have somewhat different behavior, so arrow functions are more than just a new syntax.

    Arrow syntax

    Arrow function syntax can vary a bit.

    If the function takes exactly one parameter, the parentheses can be omitted: x => Math.pow(x, 2). Any other number of arguments will need parentheses: (x, y) => Math.pow(x, y).

    If the function body is not wrapped in curly braces (as in the previous sentences), it is executed as an expression, and the return value of the function is the value of the expression. The function body can be wrapped in curly braces to make it a block, in which case you will need to explicitly return a value, if you want something returned.

    Behavior Differences

    this Binding

    For functions defined with =>, the binding for the keyword this is the same inside and outside the function. This is different than functions declared with function, which can bind this to another object upon invocation. Maintaining the this binding is very convenient for operations like mapping: => this.doSomethingWith(x)).


    Arrow functions don't have an arguments object defined. We can achieve the same thing using the spread syntax: (...args) => doSomething(args[0], args[1]).


    Functions defined with => are always anonymous, while functions defined with function can optionally be named. Naming can be very helpful in stack traces when debugging, so I recommend using named functions when exporting a function from a file with the export keyword.

    A named function foo is defined as function foo(), which simultaneously introduces the variable name foo into scope. This is different than const foo = () => {}, which introduces the variable name foo pointing to an anonymous function.

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