Modern JavaScript

Best of Modern JavaScript — Handler Methods

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Since 2015, JavaScript has improved immensely.

It’s much more pleasant to use it now than ever.

In this article, we’ll look at how to control JavaScript object operations.

Make Objects Non-Configurable

We can make objects non-configurable.

This means that we can’t change the property descriptor of an object.

The property descriptors include the property value, whether the property is writable, or whether it’s configurable.

Configurable means the ability to change the property descriptions of an object.

To disable configurability, we can write:

const obj = {};  
Object.defineProperty(obj, 'foo', {  
  value: 'bar',  
  writable: false,  
  configurable: false  

We defined the property with the Object.defineProperty method.

The 3rd argument has the property descriptors.

configurable set to false lets us disable changing property descriptors.

We also set writable to false so that we can’t change the value of the foo property’s value.

The enumerate Trap

ES6 proxies was originally going to include the enumerate trap to lets us change the behavior of the for-in loop.

But it’s removed to simplified proxies.

The Proxy API

There’re 2 ways to create proxies.

One way is to use the Proxy constructor.

We can write:

const proxy = new Proxy(target, handler)

The Proxy constructor takes a target object and the handler object to let trap the object operations.

Another way is to use the Proxy.revocable factory function.

We can write:

const {  
} = Proxy.revocable(target, handler)

to use it.

The difference is that there’s the revoke function to let us revoke access to the proxy.

Handler Methods

The handler object can have various methods to let us control various object operations.

defineProperty(target, propKey, propDesc) lets us control how properties are defined with Object.defineProperty .

target is the target object that the proxy controls.

propKey has the property key.

propDesc is an object with property descriptors.

It returns a boolean.

deleteProperty(target, propKey) lets us control how properties are defined.

They have the same first 2 parameters as defineProperty .

It lets us control how the delete operator works.

get(target, propKey, receiver) lets us control how properties are retrieved.

receiver is the proxy object.

It returns the property value that we want to return.

getOwnPropertyDescriptor(target, propKey) lets us control how property descriptors are returned.

We can use it to return it our way.

It controls how Object.getOwnPropertyDescriptor(proxy, propKey) acts.

getPrototypeOf(target) returns the prototype of the target object.

It controls how Object.getPrototypeOf(proxy) acts.

has(target, propKey) lets us control how the in operator acts.

It should return a boolean.

isExtensible(target) lets us modify the behavior of the Object.isExtensible(proxy) method.

It should return a boolean.

ownKeys(target) can change the behavior of several methods.

It returns an array of property keys.

It controls the behavior of Object.getOwnPropertyPropertyNames(proxy) to return string keys.

Also, it can control the behavior of Object.getOwnPropertyPropertySymbols(proxy) to return symbol keys.

And, it can control how the Object.keys(proxy) method behaves.

preventExtensions(target) lets us change the behavior of Object.preventExtensions(proxy) .

It returns boolean.

set(target, propKey, value, receiver) controls how object properties are set.

It also returns a boolean.

setPrototypeOf(target, proto) lets us change the behavior of the Object.setPrototypeOf(proxy, proto) method.


We can control many object operations with proxy handler methods.

Object static methods can also be controlled with proxy handler methods.

By John Au-Yeung

Web developer specializing in React, Vue, and front end development.

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