Whenever I needed something similar like a "Class" in JavaScript, I wrote it like this:

function Point(x, y){
    var self = this;
    self.x = x;
    self.y = y;
    self.dist = function(){
        return Math.sqrt( (self.x*self.x) + (self.y*self.y) );

var p = new Point(10, 20);
p.x = 30;

I declared a function and wrote the constructor directly into it. Public variables and methods have the self.-operator in front of it.

Now I took a look at TypeScript, which declares the exact same function this way:

var Point = ( function(){
    function Point(x, y) {
        this.x = x;
        this.y = y;
    Point.prototype.dist = function(){
        return Math.sqrt( (this.x*this.x) + (this.y*this.y) );
    return Point;

var p = new Point(10, 20);
p.x = 30;

This definition makes use of a closure, and uses prototype.

My Questions:

  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of the 2 definitions?
  • Which method is more efficient?
  • Which method should I prefer to use (when I don't use TypeScript)?
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This question seems offtopic, and there many duplicates on StackOveflow. Bottomline, the first one duplicates methods for each new instance, while the second one shares prototype methods between instances. \$\endgroup\$
    – elclanrs
    Jun 14, 2014 at 19:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. I'd just add that the IIFE in the second example is completely unnecessary. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dagg
    Jun 14, 2014 at 23:12

1 Answer 1

  1. Using prototype is useful for polymorphism. If you want to create another class, eg. ColourfulPoint, you can use this code:

    ColourfulPoint.prototype = Object.create(Point.prototype);

    to make your new class inherit all the methods of Point.

  2. The first method (using only a constructor) is a way faster (at least in Firefox and Chrome) than the prototype one. Take a look at the test.

  3. Unless you intend to create polymorphic classes, use the first one.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's really a huge performance difference. Now I'm not sure anymore, if switching/porting to TypeScript is the best choice \$\endgroup\$
    – maja
    Jun 15, 2014 at 9:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ But in another test by @DaggNabbit, prototype reaches similar results or even wins: jsperf.com/construct-proto/2 - strange... \$\endgroup\$
    – m93a
    Jun 15, 2014 at 12:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @maja check this in chrome! jsperf.com/construct-proto/8 \$\endgroup\$ Jul 28, 2014 at 20:50

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