JavaScript Variable Lifecycle Explained

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[This post originally posted in my blog site]

Here I wrote my self note regarding JavaScript variable lifecycle. I hope this will make a quick recap to you.

Let’s consider below code block.

Simply this function identifier hoisted. That means every identifier created at the beginning of its scope. But there is another thing. Have you ever thought that however that sayMyName got the value when the relevant scope starts to run.

This is because of function hoisting. Whenever function’s name identifier registered on the top of the scope that it belongs, it will also initialize that moment.

Note: This will happen if you declare a function with function declaration. Not for the function assign to variable.

If you try below code you will get ReferenceError that saying Cannot access ‘sayMyName’ before initialization

If you use var instead const you will get a TypeError.

TypeError: sayMyName is not a function

Moreover, we are considering var scenario in here. Okay, with that error sayMyName have a value but it is not a function reference. That is what can we get from the error message.

Whenever we declared with function it will be hoisted and initialize the function value to itself.

function sayMyName(userName) { ... }

But…, if we define a var variable and assign an function expression it will hoised and assign undefined to the variable value. Until in the runtime that assignment happened, it will not have the function reference. (like below code block)

var sayMyname = function sayMyName(userName) { ... }

Hoisting rule is, hoist the function declaration first, the hoist variables.

As the example consider this example.

Basically, it will execute like this.

But if you use let or const this will not run the code. It will throw SyntaxError.

Consider the below example.

In here first, you will get the console output and then get the TypeError . NOT a SyntaxError .

Also in for loop, the inner variable will declare once per scope instance. Not a re-declaration.

for (let i = 0, i < 5, i++){// in here i will be declare in five separate scope instances }

Also, this is works with and for..of same like this.

But if you use const in for loop it will fail after the first iteration.

for (const i =0; i < 5 , i++) { }

But const will work with and for..of .

Temporal Dead Zone

Consider below code block.

console.log(myFavoriteFruit);let myFavoriteFruit = "Mango";

This will gives below error.

ReferenceError: Cannot access 'myFavoriteFruit' before initialization

So we can come to the conclusion that we cannot use a variable at any time prior to its initialization that if we are using let or const. Basically, this is referring to as Temporal Dead Zone (TDZ).

Make sure that let and const also, hoist the variable.

But it will not auto-initialize. It is basically auto-register the variable top of the scope.

We can avoid this TDZ by defining variables top of the scope.


The (Not So) Secret Lifecycle of Variables I highly encourage you to go and check this article.

MDN — var

MDN — let

MDN — const

If you have anything to ask regarding this please leave a comment here. Also, I wrote this according to my understanding. So if any point is wrong, don’t hesitate to correct me. I really appreciate you.

That’s for today friends. See you soon. Thank you

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Full Stack Developer | AWS Associate Solution Architect | Skater