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JavaScript: Introduction to Scope (function scope, block scope)

sandy8111112004 profile image Ming-Shiuan Tsai ・2 min read

What is Scope?

Scope determines the visibility or accessibility of a variable or other resource in the area of your code.

Global Scope

There's only one Global scope in the JavaScript document. The area outside all the functions is consider the global scope and the variables defined inside the global scope can be accessed and altered in any other scopes.

//global scope
var fruit = 'apple'
console.log(fruit);        //apple

function getFruit(){
    console.log(fruit);    //fruit is accessible here
}

getFruit();                //apple

Local Scope

Variables declared inside the functions become Local to the function and are considered in the corresponding local scope. Every Functions has its own scope. Same variable can be used in different functions because they are bound to the respective functions and are not mutual visible.

//global scope
function foo1(){
    //local scope 1
    function foo2(){
        //local scope 2
    }
}

//global scope
function foo3(){
    //local scope 3
}

//global scope


Local scope can be divided into function scope and block scope. The concept of block scope is introduced in ECMA script 6 (ES6) together with the new ways to declare variables -- const and let.

Function Scope

Whenever you declare a variable in a function, the variable is visible only within the function. You can't access it outside the function. var is the keyword to define variable for a function-scope accessibility.

function foo(){
    var fruit ='apple';
    console.log('inside function: ',fruit);
}

foo();                    //inside function: apple
console.log(fruit);       //error: fruit is not defined 


Block Scope

A block scope is the area within if, switch conditions or for and while loops. Generally speaking, whenever you see {curly brackets}, it is a block. In ES6, const and let keywords allow developers to declare variables in the block scope, which means those variables exist only within the corresponding block.

function foo(){
    if(true){
        var fruit1 = 'apple';        //exist in function scope
        const fruit2 = 'banana';     //exist in block scope
        let fruit3 = 'strawberry';   //exist in block scope

    }
    console.log(fruit1);
    console.log(fruit2);
    console.log(fruit3);
}

foo();
//result:
//apple
//error: fruit2 is not defined
//error: fruit3 is not defined

Lexical Scope

Another point to mention is the lexical scope. Lexical scope means the children scope have the access to the variables defined in the parent scope. The children functions are lexically bound to the execution context of their parents.

function foo1(){
    var fruit1 = 'apple';        
    const fruit2 = 'banana';     
    let fruit3 = 'strawberry';
    function foo2(){
        console.log(fruit1);
        console.log(fruit2);
        console.log(fruit3);
    }
    foo2();
}

foo1();

//result:
//apple
//banana
//strawberry

For detailed comparison between var, let and const, take a look of JavaScript: var, let, const!

Discussion

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sashankramaraju profile image
Sashank Ramaraju

Very nice article on scopes !!!

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tmsravan profile image
TMsravan

Nice explanation

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drgreatwonder profile image
Dr Great Wonder

Great article. Really helped me with understanding the block scope

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nvs16 profile image
N V S ABHISHEK

Nice article.

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nguyentuan1696 profile image
Tuan Nguyen

Great clear explain !!!

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mdsameershaikh profile image
mdsameershaikh

Hi if you not have written {curly brackets} for explaining block scope, I could not understand it.

thanyou verymych for expaining in such easy language.

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caffro profile image
caffro

Thanks a mill, extremely helpful!

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timrodz profile image
Juan Alejandro Morais

Great article - thanks for sharing! :)

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gidoskales profile image
GidoSkales

Well Orchestrated ....

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sanjarcode profile image
Muhammad Sanjar Afaq

This is really helpful, embed this picture as a summary if you want.