Cover by David Flanagan

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Closures

Like most modern programming languages, JavaScript uses lexical scoping. This means that functions are executed using the variable scope that was in effect when they were defined, not the variable scope that is in effect when they are invoked. In order to implement lexical scoping, the internal state of a JavaScript function object must include not only the code of the function but also a reference to the current scope chain. (Before reading the rest of this section, you may want to review the material on variable scope and the scope chain in Variable Scope and The Scope Chain.) This combination of a function object and a scope (a set of variable bindings) in which the function’s variables are resolved is called a closure in the computer science literature.[13]

Technically, all JavaScript functions are closures: they are objects, and they have a scope chain associated with them. Most functions are invoked using the same scope chain that was in effect when the function was defined, and it doesn’t really matter that there is a closure involved. Closures become interesting when they are invoked under a different scope chain than the one that was in effect when they were defined. This happens most commonly when a nested function object is returned from the function within which it was defined. There are a number of powerful programming techniques that involve this kind of nested function closures, and their use has become relatively common in JavaScript programming. Closures ...

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