I've got a simple JavaScript function that takes multiple types of arguments. Inside the function I'm doing a check on the arguments to determine which way the user called the function:

var build = function() {
    var args = Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments)
    var options = {
        to: {},
        from: {},
        relationship: null

    if (_.isString(args[3]) && !_.isUuid(args[3]) && _.isString(args[4])) {
        options.to.type = args[3]
    } else if (_.isString(args[2]) && !_.isUuid(args[2]) && _.isString(args[3])) {
        options.to.type = args[2]

// called like:
build(client, dataObj, 'relationship', 'type', 'name')
// or
build(client, dataObj, 'relationship', '<uuid>')

This looks messy and isn't really scalable. Is there a more succinct way I can write this (perhaps using .map(), .filter(), or .reduce())?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This looks hypothetical to me. to.type? args? Is this real code, or is this example code? \$\endgroup\$ – SirPython Jan 5 '16 at 0:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Real code. args being an array of arguments to the function from Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments). \$\endgroup\$ – brandonscript Jan 5 '16 at 1:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay. However, as it stands, it looks hypothetical. Perhaps if you included more code, such as (at least) the beginning of the function along with this options object, you may see some better feedback. \$\endgroup\$ – SirPython Jan 5 '16 at 1:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alright, I did that. Frankly it's not a difficult bit of code, I just would like to write it more cleanly if there's a way. \$\endgroup\$ – brandonscript Jan 5 '16 at 1:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! Your post looks much better now. I understand its fairly simple code, but if we see the full scope, perhaps better alternatives can be proposed. \$\endgroup\$ – SirPython Jan 5 '16 at 1:44

Define the functions that correspond to a given argument configuration separately:

const processStringNumber = (string, number) => console.log(number + ' is a number')
const processStringString= (string, string2) => console.log(string2+ ' is a string')

Put the argument configurations and the corresponding functions in a data structure:

const processingObj = [
    argsTypes: ['string', 'number'],
    process: processStringNumber
    argsTypes: ['string', 'string'],
    process: processStringString

Write a helper that does the checks and dispatches the corresponding function:

//Retrieve the types of an array of args (can have different implementations)
const getTypes = (args) => args.map((arg) => typeof arg)

//Calls the appropriate function from 'processingObj'
const process = (args, processingObj) =>
    .find((process) => _.isEqual(process.argsTypes, getTypes(args)))


process(["aaa", 1], processingObj) // 1 is a number
process(["aaa", "aaa"], processingObj) // aaa is a string

Here is also an ES5 version (via Babel)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Bobby - would be great to have a non ES6 option too? \$\endgroup\$ – brandonscript Jan 5 '16 at 14:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Added a comment \$\endgroup\$ – Bobby Marinoff Jan 5 '16 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice! Thanks a lot. I like that solution. \$\endgroup\$ – brandonscript Jan 5 '16 at 15:37

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