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Brian Neville-O'Neill
Brian Neville-O'Neill

Posted on • Originally published at blog.logrocket.com on

New ES2019 JavaScript features every developer should be excited about

Written by Gbolahan Olagunju✏️

JavaScript has come a long way since its early days, with many new additions and features designed specifically to make the language more user-friendly and less verbose. Below are some recent additions to JavaScript that I find fascinating.

Some of these features are already available in Node, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, while others are still in the proposal stage.

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Optional chaining

Optional chaining is done using the ?. operator. It primarily ensures that the preceding value before the question mark is neither undefined nor null. This is really useful when assessing the properties of deeply nested objects.

There’s a need to be sure that the ?. operator exists before assessing the properties.

Consider the following example:

const users = [
  {
   name: "Olagunju Gbolahan",
   occupation: "Software Developer",
   sayName(){
    console.log(`my name is ${this.name}`);
   },
   address: { office: "New York" }
  },
  { name: "Olawaseyi Moses" },
  { name: "Tunde Ednut" }
];

Let’s consider the second user in the array of users:

const secondUser = users[1];

We may want to get the office address of this user. Before the advent of the optional chaining operator, we would have to go through a relatively inefficient process to obtain this information:

const theAddress = secondUser.address && secondUser.address.office;
console.log(theAddress); // undefined

If we had a deeply nested object, we would have to check that its value existed using && operator on each level.

But with the optional chaining, we simply do the following:

const theAddress = secondUser?.address?.office;
console.log(theAddress); // undefined

We can also use optional chaining with object methods to confirm they exist before execution:

const firstUser = users[0];
console.log(firstUser.sayName?.()); // my name is Olagunju Gbolahan

It will simply return undefined if a method with the given name doesn’t exist on the object.

console.log(firstUser.sayOccupation?.()); // undefined

Because the optional chaining operator hasn’t been added to the JavaScript specification yet, it is still in the proposal stage.

You can use it today with the babel-plugin-proposal-optional-chaining plugin.

Optional catch binding

This feature comes in handy when we know beforehand what our error will be, and we don’t want the redundancy of unused variables.

Consider the traditional try and catch block:

try {
  const parsedJsonData = JSON.parse(obj);
} catch (error) {
  //the variable error has to be declared weather used or unused
  console.log(obj);
}

But with the addition of optional catch binding, we don’t have to provide unused variables — especially when we have defaults for our try block.

function getName () {
  let name = "Gbolahan Olagunju";
  try {
    name = obj.details.name
  } catch {}
  console.log(name);
}

The pipeline operator

This is one of the proposed additions to Javascript and it is currently at stage 1.

It essentially helps make several function calls to the same argument readable.

It does this by piping the value of an expression as argument(s) to a function. Consider calling the following functions without the pipeline operator |>.

const capitalize = (input) =>  input[0].toUpperCase() + input.substring(1);
const removeSpaces = (input) => input.trim();
const repeat = (input) => `${input}, ${input}`;
const withoutpipe = repeat(capitalize(removeSpaces('    i am gbols    ')));
console.log(withoutpipe); // I am gbols, I am gbols

But with the pipeline operator, readability can be greatly improved:

const withpipe = '    i am gbols    '
                |> removeSpaces
                |> capitalize
                |> repeat;
console.log(withpipe); // // I am gbols, I am gbols

String.trimStart and String.trimEnd

This was formally named trimRight and trimLeft, but with ES2019 the names were changed to the aliases trimStart and trimEnd to make them more intuitive to users.

Consider the following example:

let massage = "     Welcome to LogRocket      ";
message.trimStart(); // "Welcome to LogRocket      "
message.trimEnd(); // "Welcome to LogRocket";

Object.fromEntries

Before talking about Object.fromEntries, it is important to talk about Object.entries.

The Object.entries method was added to the ES2017 specification to provide a way to convert an object into its array equivalent, thus granting it access to all array methods for processing.

Consider the following object:

const devs = {
  gbols: 5,
  andrew: 3,
  kelani: 10,
  dafe: 8,
};
const arrOfDevs = Object.entries(devs);
console.log(arrOfDevs);
//[
//  ["gbols", 5]
//  ["andrew", 3]
//  ["kelani", 10]
//  ["dafe", 8]
//]

Now, we can use the filter method on arrays to get devs that have more than 5 years experience:

const expDevs = arrOfDevs.filter(([name, yrsOfExp]) => yrsOfExp > 5);
console.log(expDevs);
//[
//  ["kelani", 10]
//  ["dafe", 8]
//]

Then a problem arises: there is no easy way to convert the results back into an object. Usually, we would write our own code to transform this back into an object:

const expDevsObj = {};
for (let [name, yrsOfExp] of expDevs) {
expDevsObj[name] = yrsOfExp;
}
console.log(expDevsObj);
//{
 //dafe: 8
 //kelani: 10
//}

But with the introduction of Object.fromEntries, we can do this in one swipe:

console.log(Object.fromEntries(expDevs));
//{
 //dafe: 8
 //kelani: 10
//}

Flat and FlatMap

Oftentimes, we have deeply nested arrays to deal with as a result of an API call. In this case, it’s especially important to flatten the array.

Consider the following example:

const developers = [
  {
    name: 'Gbolahan Olagunju',
    yrsOfExp: 6,
    stacks: ['Javascript', 'NodeJs', ['ReactJs', ['ExpressJs', 'PostgresSql']]]
  },
  {
    name: 'Daniel Show',
    yrsOfExp: 2,
    stacks: ['Ruby', 'Jest', ['Rails', ['JQuery', 'MySql']]]
  },
  {
    name: 'Edafe Emunotor',
    yrsOfExp: 9,
    stacks: ['PHP', 'Lumen', ['Angular', 'NgRx']]
  }
];
const allStacks = developers.map(({stacks}) => stacks);
console.log(allStacks);
// [
// ['Javascript', 'NodeJs', ['ReactJs', ['ExpressJs', 'PostgresSql']]]
// ['Ruby', 'Jest', ['Rails', ['JQuery', 'MySql']]]
// ['PHP', 'Lumen', ['Angular', 'NgRx']]
// ]

The allstacks variable contains deeply nested arrays. To flatten this array, we can use the Array.prototype.flat.

Here’s how:

const flatSingle = allStacks.flat();
console.log(flatSingle);
//[
// "JavaScript",
//  "NodeJs",
// ['ReactJs', ['ExpressJs', 'PostgresSql']]]
// "Ruby",
// "Jest",
// ['Rails', ['JQuery', 'MySql']]]
// "PHP",
// "Lumen"
// ["Angular", "NgRx"]
//]

We can deduce from the above that the array has been flattened one level deep, which is the default argument to array.prototype.flat.

We can pass an argument to the flat method to determine the degree to which we want to flatten.

The defaults argument is a value of 1. To completely flatten the array, we can pass an argument of Infinity. The Infinity argument flattens the array completely, irrespective of the depth of the array.

Here’s how:

const completelyFlat = allStacks.flat(Infinity);
console.log(completelyFlat);
//[
// "JavaScript",
// "NodeJs",
// "ReactJs",
// "ExpressJs",
// "PostgresSql",
// "Ruby",
// "Jest",
// "Rails",
// "JQuery",
// "MySql",
// "PHP",
// "Lumen",
// "Angular",
// "NgRx"
//]

FlatMap

FlatMap is a combination of calling the map method and the flat method with a depth of 1. It is often quite useful as it does the same thing in a very efficient manner.

Below is a simple example of using both map and flatMap:

let arr = ['my name is Gbols', ' ', 'and i am great developer']; 
console.log(arr.map(word => word.split(' ')));
//[
// ["my", "name", "is", "Gbols"],
// ["", ""],
// ["and", "i", "am", "great", "developer"]
//]
console.log(arr.flatMap(word => word.split(' ')));
//[ "my"
//  "name"
//  "is"
//  "Gbols"
//   ""
//   ""
//   "and"
//   "i"
//   "am"
//   "great"
//   "developer"
//]

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve counted the many benefits of new additions to JavaScript. These additions enhance the developer experience by reducing verbosity and increasing readability.

Below, check out a couple new features that we didn’t cover:

JSON.stringify

Sort stability


Editor's note: Seeing something wrong with this post? You can find the correct version here.

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The post New ES2019 JavaScript features every developer should be excited about appeared first on LogRocket Blog.

Discussion (14)

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thealiilman profile image
Ali Ilman

Optional chaining is something I'm so delighted to see.
All of us have written obj.property && obj.property.anotherProperty, and it's a pain to the eyes when the properties are long.

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victorcorcos profile image
Victor Cordeiro Costa

I hate to be that guy, but I need to nitpick some details of this article. My intention is just to help!

This section...

  • String.trimStart and String.trimEn

should be this

  • String.trimStart and String.trimEnd

Am I right?

And regarding the Optional catch binding, is the structure of both codes really similar?

Take a look at the below code, the console.log() line will only be executed if the try block fail

try {
  const parsedJsonData = JSON.parse(obj);
} catch (error) {
  //the variable error has to be declared weather used or unused
  console.log(obj);
}

Now, take a look at the below code, which have the optional catch binding ... the console.log() will be executed whether the try block fails or not. Not only when it fail, like the previous version.

function getName () {
  let name = "Gbolahan Olagunju";
  try {
    name = obj.details.name
  } catch {}
  console.log(name);
}

I am thinking here... maybe the similar structure will be something like this...

function getName () {
  let name = "Gbolahan Olagunju";
  try {
    name = obj.details.name
  } catch {
    console.log(name);
  }
}

Am I right?

Thanks!

Great article, I personally love the optional chaining operator ?., this makes the code so much more readable. However, it is good to mention that we need to avoid calling it when it it is not necessary, otherwise we can have unnecessary performance issues and unclear code behaviors. 👍

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tclain profile image
Timothée Clain

pipeline operator !! yay

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anshap1719 profile image
Anshul Sanghi

Wow, I am working on a project right now that could literally use all of these features on an extensive level. I’ve found ts-optichain for optional chaining very good for now but the rest, I would really love to see. Is there a way to use these features with babel maybe?

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samanocedillo profile image
Samano Cedillo

Buen post!

Gracias por el aporte.

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danielo515 profile image
Daniel Rodríguez Rivero

Is this real life? or is just fanta-sea?
By the way, I don't see why would we need to add an empty catch block, it will be better to make it entirely optional.

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mateiadrielrafael profile image
Matei Adriel

U should open a proposal or something, amazing idea

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gwigwam profile image
GWigWam

Hey, small detail:

In the code for trimStart/trimEnd you misspell 'massage'. Also, the output of message.trimEnd(); would still have the spaces at the start (left) of the string right?

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giancorzo profile image
Giancarlo Corzo

Nice article. Just a little bug. A quote is missing in the function sayName() console.log

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zooly profile image
Hugo Torzuoli

Indeed missing backtick at the start of the log

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manuelojeda profile image
Manuel Ojeda

Nested chaining 👌

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evolutionxbox profile image
Jonathan Cousins

Hasn’t ECMAScript 2019 already been released?

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mogery profile image
Gergő Móricz

WOOT FOR OPTIONAL CHAINING!

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nestordgs profile image
Nestor Gutiérrez

Can't wait to see Optional Chaining