Deciphering ‘this’ in JavaScript: 5 Rules Every Developer Should Know

Essential Rules for ‘this’ Mastery: Enhance Your JavaScript Development

When writing JavaScript functions, understanding the behavior of the “this” keyword is crucial for effective programming. “this” can dynamically change its value based on how a function is invoked. Let’s explore four fundamental rules that govern the value of “this” and how they impact your code.

Rule 1: The New Kid on the Block — “new” Keyword

When a function is called with the “new” keyword, a new object is created, and “this” inside the function refers to that newly minted object.

function ConstructorFunction() { = "I am a property";
console.log(this); // Outputs: ConstructorFunction { property: 'I am a property' }
const newInstance = new ConstructorFunction();
console.log(; // Outputs: "I am a property"

// Example 2

function AnotherFunction() {
console.log(this); // Outputs: AnotherFunction {}
const anotherInstance = new AnotherFunction();

Rule 2: Call, Bind, Apply — The Direct Influence

When a function is invoked using `call`, `bind`, or `apply`, “this” is explicitly set to the object passed as an argument.

const myObject = {
greeting: "Hello",
greet: function (name) {
console.log(`${this.greeting}, ${name}!`);

const anotherObject = {
greeting: "Bonjour"
};, "Alice");
// Outputs: "Bonjour, Alice!"

// Example 2

function customFunction() {
console.log(this); // Outputs: { customProperty: 'I am custom property' }
const customObject = { customProperty: "I am custom property" };;

Rule 3: Object Method Invocation

In JavaScript, objects often have methods, and when a method is invoked, “this” inside the method refers to the object containing the method.

When a method is invoked on an object, “this” inside the method is bound to that object.

const car = {
brand: "Tesla",
start: function () {
console.log(`${this.brand} is starting…`);

car.start(); // Outputs: "Tesla is starting…"

// Example 2

const person = {
name: "John",
introduce: function () {
console.log(`Hi, I'm ${}.`);
person.introduce(); // Outputs: "Hi, I'm John."

Window of Opportunities — Global Object and Strict Mode

If a function is called directly on the window (global object), “this” inside the function is the window object. In strict mode, it becomes undefined.

function globalFunction() {
console.log(this); // Outputs: Window object

// Example 2

"use strict";
function strictFunction() {
console.log(this); // Outputs: undefined

Rule 5 — The Contextual Shift — “this” in Event Handlers

In event handlers, “this” often refers to the element that triggered the event.

When a function is used as an event handler, “this” inside the function refers to the element that triggered the event.

<button id="myButton">Click me</button>
document.getElementById("myButton").addEventListener("click", function () {
console.log(this); // Outputs: <button id="myButton">Click me</button>

// Example 2

<a href="#" id="myLink">Visit me</a>
document.getElementById("myLink").addEventListener("click", function () {
console.log(this); // Outputs: <a href="#" id="myLink">Visit me</a>

Conclusion: Navigating “this” with Confidence

Mastering the behavior of “this” in JavaScript functions empowers you to write more maintainable and predictable code. By adhering to these fve rules, you’ll find yourself confidently steering through the intricacies of “this” in various scenarios. Happy coding!