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jsBank\'s Helpful JavaScript Shorthand Coding Techniques In the previous JavaScript articles, jsB@nk showed many very useful JavaScript tips & tricks:
- Essential Guidelines of Helpful JavaScript Shorthand codes
- Efficient and Helpful JavaScript/jQuery Tips and Tricks
- Some Basic JavaScript Guidelines for Accessibility

Today, in this JavaScript post, I would like to tell about JavaScript shorthand codes, JavaScript shorthand techniques that improve your awesome JavaScript coding skills, JavaScript application development. They're valuable JavaScript coding styles every JavaScript developer should master.

Are you ready to go? Please leave any suggestion you need in the comments.


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This really is a must read for any JavaScript based developer. I have made this post as a vital source of reference for learning shorthand JavaScript coding techniques. I have shown you the longhanded versions as well to give some coding perspective.

  • Step 1 – Learn the JavaScript shorthand techniques.
  • Step 2 – Save valuable coding time by keeping your code to a minimum.
  • Step 3 – Impress your colleagues with your awesome coding skills.

It’s as easy as 1,2,3. Here they are.


1. If true … else Shorthand

This is a great code saver for when you want to do something if the test is true, else do something else by using the ternary operator.

Longhand:

var big;
if (x > 10) {
    big = true;
}
else {
    big = false;
}

Shorthand:

var big = (x > 10) ? true : false;

If you rely on some of the weak typing characteristics of JavaScript, this can also achieve more concise code. For example, you could reduce the preceding code fragment to this:

var big = (x > 10);

2. Null, Undefined, ” Checks Shorthand

When creating new variables sometimes you want to check if the variable your referencing for it’s value isn’t null or undefined. I would say this is a very common check for JavaScript coders.

Longhand:

if (variable1 !== null || variable1 !== undefined || variable1 !== '') {
     var variable2 = variable1;
}

Shorthand:

var variable2 = variable1  || '';

Don’t believe me? Test it yourself (paste into Firebug and click run):

//null value example
var variable1 = null;
var variable2 = variable1  || '';
console.log(variable2);
//output: '' (an empty string)

//undefined value example
var variable1 = undefined;
var variable2 = variable1  || '';
console.log(variable2);
//output: '' (an empty string)

//normal value example
var variable1 = 'hi there';
var variable2 = variable1  || '';
console.log(variable2);
//output: 'hi there'

3. Object Array Notation Shorthand

Useful way of declaring small arrays on one line.

Longhand:

var a = new Array();
a[0] = "myString1";
a[1] = "myString2";
a[2] = "myString3";

Shorthand:

var a = ["myString1", "myString2", "myString3"];

4. Associative Array Notation Shorthand

The old school way of setting up an array was to create a named array and then add each named element one by one. A quicker and more readable way is to add the elements at the same time using the object literal notation.

Longhand:

var skillSet = new Array();
skillSet['Document language'] = 'HTML5';
skillSet['Styling language'] = 'CSS3';
skillSet['Javascript library'] = 'jQuery';
skillSet['Other'] = 'Usability and accessibility';

Shorthand:

var skillSet = {
    'Document language' : 'HTML5',
    'Styling language' : 'CSS3',
    'Javascript library' : 'jQuery',
    'Other' : 'Usability and accessibility'
};

Donít forget to omit the final comma otherwise certain browsers will complain (not naming any names, IE).


5. charAt() Shorthand

You can use the eval() function to do this but this bracket notation shorthand technique is much cleaner than an evaluation, and you will win the praise of colleagues who once scoffed at your amateur coding abilities!

Longhand:

"myString".charAt(0);

Shorthand:

"myString"[0]; // Returns 'm'

6. Assignment Operators Shorthand

Assignment operators are used to assign values to JavaScript variables and no doubt you use arithmetic everyday without thinking (no matter what programming language you use Java, PHP, C++ it’s essentially the same principle).

Longhand:

x=x+1;
minusCount = minusCount - 1;
y=y*10;

Shorthand:

x++;
minusCount --;
y*=10;

Other shorthand operators, given that x=10 and y=5, the table below explains the assignment operators:

x += y //result x=15
x -= y //result x=5
x *= y //result x=50
x /= y //result x=2
x %= y //result x=0

7. Regex Object Shorthand

In Javascript, a Regex object can be called like a function like so:

/test/("is test in here")

As opposed to the more verbose(but sometimes more appropriate in cases that you are reusing the Regex).

Longhand:

searchText = "padding 1234 rocket str austin TX 78704 more padding"
/\d+.+\n{0,2}.+\s+[A-Z]{2}\s+\d{5}/m(searchText)
//returns: ["1234 rocket str austin TX 78704"]

Shorthand:

var re = new RegExp(/\d+.+\n{0,2}.+\s+[A-Z]{2}\s+\d{5}/m);
re.exec(searchText);
//returns: ["1234 rocket str austin TX 78704"]

8. If Presence Shorthand

This might be trivial, but worth a mention. When doing “if checks” assignment operators can sometimes be ommited.

Longhand:

if (likeJavaScript == true)

Shorthand:

if (likeJavaScript)

Here is another example. If “a” is NOT equal to true, then do something.

Longhand:

var a;
if ( a != true ) {
// do something...
}

Shorthand:

var a;
if ( !a ) {
// do something...
}

9. Function Variable Arguments Shorthand

Object literal shorthand can take a little getting used to, but seasoned developers usually prefer it over a series of nested functions and variables. You can argue which technique is shorter, but I enjoy using object literal notation as a clean substitute to functions as constructors.

Longhand:

function myFunction( myString, myNumber, myObject, myArray, myBoolean ) {
	// do something...
}
myFunction( "String", 1, [], {}, true );

Shorthand (looks long but only because I have console.log’s in there!):

function myFunction() {
	console.log( arguments.length ); // Returns 5
	for ( i = 0; i < arguments.length; i++ ) {
		console.log( typeof arguments[i] ); // Returns string, number, object, object, boolean
	}
}
myFunction( "String", 1, [], {}, true );

10. JavaScript foreach Loop Shorthand

This little tip is really useful if you want plain JavaScript and hence can’t use the awesome jQuery.each.

Longhand:

for (var i = 0; i < allImgs.length; i++)

Shorthand:

for(var i in allImgs)

11. Suggest one?

I really do love these and would love to find more, please leave a comment!

JavaScript by day


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