Are there any pitfalls in changing the prototype of the String object? I'd like to change the word substr to "left":

String.prototype.left = function(n) {
    return this.substr(0,n)

Is this ok, or should I just get over it?

Next, I'm going to write a .right(), a .mid(), a .val() and a .int().

  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't do it, extending builtin objects is an anti-pattern IMO. \$\endgroup\$ – elclanrs Oct 24 '14 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @elclanrs that could be a fine answer if you also propose an alternative with sample code \$\endgroup\$ – janos Oct 24 '14 at 19:24

Extending native objects is bad practice.

  • When you're expecting nothing, then something shows up. That's natural behavior of prototypes.

  • Forwards compatibility. The same reason why Object.keys(someObjectInstance) is designed that way instead of someObjectInstance.keys() - because some implementations may already have used keys as a property. So what if ECMAScript 9 wants to use left() and right() for some string operation, your app will break.

For alternatives:

  • You can create your own functions in a separate namespace, that looks like the native functions. For instance, the native forEach looks like array.forEach(fn). Underscore writes it differently with _.forEach(array,fn).

  • You can extend native objects. Mileage may vary on this one as some (not sure which, but most) native objects are not subclassable.

  • You could create "wrapper objects" that just wrap the object into another object, who has methods that operate on the wrapped object. A good example is jQuery which wraps an array of stuff in a "jQuery object" which hosts a myriad of DOM manipulation methods that operate on that set.

  • Create a custom object that doesn't necessarily extend/inherit/wrap anything. Something like var string = new CustomString('hello world').


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