Tag Archives: ECMAScript 6

Overview of ECMAScript 6 features

Introduction

ECMAScript 6, also known as ECMAScript 2015, is the latest version of the ECMAScript standard. ES6 is a significant update to the language, and the first update to the language since ES5 was standardized in 2009. Implementation of these features in major JavaScript engines is underway now.

See the ES6 standard for full specification of the ECMAScript 6 language.

ES6 includes the following new features:

ECMAScript 6 Features

Arrows

Arrows are a function shorthand using the => syntax. They are syntactically similar to the related feature in C#, Java 8 and CoffeeScript. They support both statement block bodies as well as expression bodies which return the value of the expression. Unlike functions, arrows share the same lexical this as their surrounding code.

More info: MDN Arrow Functions

Classes

ES6 classes are a simple sugar over the prototype-based OO pattern. Having a single convenient declarative form makes class patterns easier to use, and encourages interoperability. Classes support prototype-based inheritance, super calls, instance and static methods and constructors.

More info: MDN Classes

Enhanced Object Literals

Object literals are extended to support setting the prototype at construction, shorthand for foo: foo assignments, defining methods, making super calls, and computing property names with expressions. Together, these also bring object literals and class declarations closer together, and let object-based design benefit from some of the same conveniences.

More info: MDN Grammar and types: Object literals

Template Strings

Template strings provide syntactic sugar for constructing strings. This is similar to string interpolation features in Perl, Python and more. Optionally, a tag can be added to allow the string construction to be customized, avoiding injection attacks or constructing higher level data structures from string contents.

More info: MDN Template Strings

Destructuring

Destructuring allows binding using pattern matching, with support for matching arrays and objects. Destructuring is fail-soft, similar to standard object lookup foo["bar"], producing undefined values when not found.

More info: MDN Destructuring assignment

Default + Rest + Spread

Callee-evaluated default parameter values. Turn an array into consecutive arguments in a function call. Bind trailing parameters to an array. Rest replaces the need for arguments and addresses common cases more directly.

More MDN info: Default parameters, Rest parameters, Spread Operator

Let + Const

Block-scoped binding constructs. let is the new var. const is single-assignment. Static restrictions prevent use before assignment.

More MDN info: let statement, const statement

Iterators + For..Of

Iterator objects enable custom iteration like CLR IEnumerable or Java Iterable. Generalize for..in to custom iterator-based iteration with for..of. Don’t require realizing an array, enabling lazy design patterns like LINQ.

Iteration is based on these duck-typed interfaces (using TypeScript type syntax for exposition only):

More info: MDN for…of

Generators

Generators simplify iterator-authoring using function* and yield. A function declared as function* returns a Generator instance. Generators are subtypes of iterators which include additional next and throw. These enable values to flow back into the generator, so yield is an expression form which returns a value (or throws).

Note: Can also be used to enable ‘await’-like async programming, see also ES7 await proposal.

The generator interface is (using TypeScript type syntax for exposition only):

More info: MDN Iteration protocols

Unicode

Non-breaking additions to support full Unicode, including new Unicode literal form in strings and new RegExp u mode to handle code points, as well as new APIs to process strings at the 21bit code points level. These additions support building global apps in JavaScript.

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