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Closure in javascript


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    started a blog post Closure in javascript

    Closure in javascript

    Closure in javascript:

    Overview of Closures

    Sharing Variables Between Tasks
    * Simply speaking, closures configure variables to be shared between stack frames in JavaScript
    * Generally, the sharing occurs between stack frames from two different tasks
    * Closures configure this sharing through the use of lexical scope

    * A variable defined in an outer lexical scope of a function can be referenced within the
    function scope either within the same task or between different tasks

    In order to fully understand closures, a number of JavaScript concepts need to be defined and
    * Tasks and JavaScript Execution
    * Variables & Stack Frames
    * Lexical Scope

    Tasks and JavaScript Execution
    * JavaScript has a simple execution model, it does one task at a time

    + JavaScript runs a task until it completes, then it starts a new task

    + JavaScript does not switch between tasks when in the middle of a task, and it is single-
    threaded so it cannot do multiple tasks at the same time

    * A task is always created by the surrounding environment invoking a function (think clicking a
    button in a web browser, and the event handler function registered with the click event being

    * Each task is completely independent of another, except they can share variables through the
    use of closures

    * Primarily, closures are used to share variables between tasks, and most other uses are really

    Variables and Stack Frames
    * When a function is invoked a new stack frame is created

    * Stack frames serve several purposes, but for this course, think of a stack frame as a place for
    a function to store its variables when executing

    * The variables can hold primitive values or object references

    * Object references point to data on the heap which is not tied to a particular stack frame (and
    by extension a particular function invocation)

    * While heap data is not tied to a particular stack frame, heap frame data can only be accessed
    through variables that are tied to a stack frame

    * Therefore, closures allow for variables on a previously executed stack frame to be utilized by
    a function executing with a different stack frame

    Lexical Scope
    * There are many kinds of scope in JavaScript:
    * Global Scope
    * Function Scope
    * Block Scope
    * Lexical Scope

    * Global, Function, and Block Scope focus on memory organization

    * Lexical Scope focuses on the structure of source code

    * Lexical Scope is configured by defining program elements inside of other program elements,
    in this case the nesting of function declarations

    * Closures depend upon lexical scope to share variables between functions, which is why
    functions are defined inside of other functions

    Purpose of Closures: Good and Bad
    * Closures are a powerful tool, but a tool that causes a performance hit on an application

    * Closures require more memory because stack frames are retained in memory after the initial
    the function which created the frame has completed executing

    * Closures are slow because they require the reloading of stack frames to access a variable
    instead of directly accessing it in the same stack frame

    * Closures must be used to share variables between different tasks, there is no other way to
    share data, so for this purpose closures are good and necessary

    * Commonly, developers will use closures to simulate private variables, this is bad
    + JavaScript has no concept of private and trying to hack support for private variables into the
    language yields little benefit and comes at the cost of performance
    + Finally, closures can be used to maintain function context, when needed this is good, but
    unnecessary use once again comes at the cost of performance

    Understanding Lexical Scope Structuring Source Code
    + Function outer wraps function inner

    * Because function inner is defined within the curly braces
    of function outer, function inner is within the lexical
    scope of function outer, and can reference the variable t
    defined within function outer

    * When function outer is invoked, a new stack frame is
    created, and t is defined with the stack frame, and
    assigned the value of 2

    * When function inner is invoked, another new stack frame
    is created, but t is not defined on function inner's stack
    frame; therefore, when function inner needs to reference
    variable t, it must reload the original stack frame of the outer
    to reference it

    const outer = () => {
    let t = 2;
    // defined within the
    // lexical scope of outer
    const inner = () => {
    // t is accessible within the
    // lexical scope of outer
    console. log(t);

    Creating a Closure Nesting Functions
    * To create a closure, a function must be nested inside of another function, and the inner
    the function must reference a variable declared in the outer function

    * Technically speaking, referencing a global variable inside a function is not a closure, it's a
    global variable reference

    * Also, accessing a variable defined in an outer block scope from within an inner block scope is
    not a closure

    * The key to closure is the lexical scope of the inner function accessing the lexical scope of an
    outer function which wraps it
    * Another way to describe closures would be, one function scope is accessing a variable

    defined in another function scope where the source code for the function accessing the
    variable is defined in the same lexical scope where the variable is defined

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