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Polymorphism in JavaScript

bhagatparwinder profile image Parwinder 👨🏻‍💻 ・1 min read

Polymorphism is a concept from Object-Oriented Programming. It is the capability to create a property, a function, or an object that has more than one implementation.

It allows us to substitute properties or methods in classes that have common functionality. It is similar to method overriding. With polymorphism, we can implement a standard interface but still serve slightly different needs or scenarios.

function Employee(name) {
    this.name = name;
    this.getName = () => {
        return this.name;
    }
}

const employee = new Employee("Parwinder");

console.log(employee.getName()); // Parwinder

Employee.prototype.getDetails = function () {
    return this.name.toUpperCase();
}

console.log(employee.getDetails()); // PARWINDER

You can see how Employee will implement the standard interface but depending on where we use the instance of Employee we can change the behavior slightly to fit our needs. We could either get the name as is or get the name in all uppercase.

We can do the same with classes.

class Shape {
    area() {
        return 0;
    }
}

class Circle extends Shape {
    constructor (radius) {
        super(); // needed to use this
        this.radius = radius;
    }

    area() {
        return Math.PI * this.radius * this.radius;
    }
}

class Rectangle extends Shape {
    constructor (width, height) {
        super();
        this.width = width;
        this.height = height;
    }

    area() {
        return this.width * this.height;
    }
}

const circle = new Circle(2);
const rectangle = new Rectangle(5, 6);

console.log(circle.area());
console.log(rectangle.area());

Shape is the base class that we use to create Circle and Rectangle by extending it. They all have the area method but change the implementation based on the type of shape.

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