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Getting The Type Of An Interface Property In Typescript

Simon
Originally published at simondosda.github.io Updated on ・2 min read

Problem

The problem is quite simple, but its solution is not obvious.

Imagine that we are working on a Typescript project, and we have defined an interface with several fields using different types.
Let's take as an example a simple interface representing a blog post.

interface BlogPost {
  title: string;
  content: string;
  publishDate: Date | null;
  isDraft: boolean;
}
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Let's say now that we would like to provide a simple setter that will allow us to update a blog post while running some custom logic. For instance, let's consider that our setter will allow updating a post only if it is a draft.

In Typescript, we would write something like this.

function updatePost(post: BlogPost, property: keyof BlogPost, value): boolean {
  if (!post.isDraft) {
    return false;
  }
  post[property] = value; // error: Type 'any' is not assignable to type 'never'.
  return true;
}
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While the types of post and property are easy to define, the one for value is a bit more tricky, as it will depend on the property to update.

Currently, Typescript considers it as any as we don't provide any type hint, which gives us the error Type 'any' is not assignable to type 'never'. when we try to update our property. But even if we put the error aside, we are losing the type checking capability of Typescript here.

What we would like to do is to set the type of value to the type of the corresponding property from BlogPost. Let's see now how we can implement that.

Solution

In Typescript, we can access the value of the property of an interface using brackets.

For instance, the following code works perfectly.

function updateDate(post: BlogPost, value: BlogPost["publishDate"]): boolean {
  if (!post.isDraft) {
    return false;
  }
  post.publishDate = value;
  return true;
}

updateDate(post, 42);
// error: Argument of type '42' is not assignable to parameter of type 'Date | null'.

updateDate(post, new Date());
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In our case, we want a generic function that will work with any given property of our interface.

To do so, we need to use a type variable for the property.

function updatePost<BlogPostKey extends keyof BlogPost>(
  post: BlogPost,
  property: BlogPostKey,
  value: BlogPost[BlogPostKey]
): boolean {
  if (!post.isDraft) {
    return false;
  }
  post[property] = value;
  return true;
}

const post: BlogPost = {
  title: "my post",
  content: "my awesome content",
  publishDate: null,
  isDraft: true,
};

updatePost(post, "publishedDate", null);
// error: Argument of type '"publishedDate"' is not assignable to parameter of type 'keyof BlogPost'.

updatePost(post, "publishDate", 42);
// error: Argument of type '42' is not assignable to parameter of type 'Date | null'.

updatePost(post, "publishDate", new Date());
// ok
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Adding the type variable BlogPostKey for the property type allows us to use it for the value type while still ensuring that the property is a key of BlogPost using extends keyof BlogPost.

I hope that trick can be helpful to you!

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