WDI Fundamentals

WDI Fundamentals Unit 9

Functions Cheat Sheet

Here are some notes on what's been covered in this unit. Feel free to copy this and extend it to make your own cheat sheet.

Defining and Calling JavaScript Functions

  • In JavaScript, a function can be:

    • Made up of either a single reusable statement or a group of reusable statements.
    • Called from anywhere in the program, which allows for the statements inside a function to not be written over and over again.
  • To define a function, use the following syntax:

      var myFunctionName = function() {
        // Body of the function
  • To use, or call, a function, simply type the name of your function, followed by () (plus any inputs you might be passing in).


Parameters and Arguments

  • Parameters are the variables that are defined in the function's declaration when the function is defined. They allow us to provide some extra information for a function.

    • In the following function example, firstName, lastName, year and city in the parentheses that follow the word function are the parameters:

        var greetUser = function (firstName, lastName, year, city) {
          console.log("Hello " + firstName + " " + lastName + " born in "+ year + " from " + city + "!" );
  • Arguments are the actual values passed to the function when the function is called.

    • In the following example, "Bruce", "Wayne", 1939 and "Gotham" are the arguments:

        greetUser("Bruce", "Wayne", 1939, "Gotham");

Return Statements

  • Return statements allow us to "spit out" or "hand back" a value to the line where we called the function.

    • We can then store that value that we returned in a variable, or work with it:

        var addBonusPoints = function (score) {
            if (score > 50) {
                return score + (score * .10);
                  // if score is 55, then 60.5 will be returned
            return score;
        var totalPoints = addBonusPoints(55);
        // => 60.5
        // The variable totalPoints will now hold 60.5
  • Additionally, a return statement will cause the function that contains it to immediately end when that line is run. In the example below, we are simply using return to exit the function if muted is equal to true, instead of returning a value:

      var rockAndRoll = function (muted) {
         var song = "It's only Rock 'N' Roll";
         var artist = "Rolling Stones";
         if (muted === true) {
             return; // Here we use return as a way to exit a function, instead of returning any value
          console.log("Now playing: " + song + " by " + artist);

Variable Scope

  • When we declare variables inside a function, those variables will only be accessible from within that function. This is known as scope.
  • If a variable is declared inside a function, it is local to that function and therefore referred to as a local variable.
    • This also means it has local scope. When we have a variable with local scope, it cannot be referenced outside of that function, which means it cannot be called or used outside of the brackets in which it's contained.
  • When a variable is declared outside a function, it is referred to as a global variable. A global variable has global scope, which means all scripts and functions on a web page can access it.

Let's put this into practice!