You are previewing Professional: JavaScript® for Web Developers, Third Edition.

Professional: JavaScript® for Web Developers, Third Edition

  1. Cover
  2. Contents
  3. Introduction
  4. Chapter 1: What is Javascript?
    1. A Short History
    2. JavaScript Implementations
    3. JavaScript Versions
    4. Summary
  5. Chapter 2: Javascript in Html
    1. The <script> Element
    2. Inline Code versus External Files
    3. Document Modes
    4. The <noscript> Element
    5. Summary
  6. Chapter 3: Language Basics
    1. Syntax
    2. Keywords and Reserved Words
    3. Variables
    4. Data Types
    5. Operators
    6. Statements
    7. Functions
    8. Summary
  7. Chapter 4: Variables, Scope, and Memory
    1. Primitive and Reference Values
    2. Execution Context and Scope
    3. Garbage Collection
    4. Summary
  8. Chapter 5: Reference Types
    1. The Object Type
    2. The Array Type
    3. The Date Type
    4. The RegExp Type
    5. The Function Type
    6. Primitive Wrapper Types
    7. Singleton Built-in Objects
    8. Summary
  9. Chapter 6: Object-Oriented Programming
    1. Understanding Objects
    2. Object Creation
    3. Inheritance
    4. Summary
  10. Chapter 7: Function Expressions
    1. Recursion
    2. Closures
    3. Mimicking Block Scope
    4. Private Variables
    5. Summary
  11. Chapter 8: The Browser Object Model
    1. The window Object
    2. The location Object
    3. The Navigator Object
    4. The screen Object
    5. The history Object
    6. Summary
  12. Chapter 9: Client Detection
    1. Capability Detection
    2. Quirks Detection
    3. User-Agent Detection
    4. Summary
  13. Chapter 10: The Document Object Model
    1. Hierarchy of Nodes
    2. Working with the DOM
    3. Summary
  14. Chapter 11: Dom Extensions
    1. Selectors API
    2. Element Traversal
    3. HTML5
    4. Proprietary Extensions
    5. Summary
  15. Chapter 12: Dom Levels 2 and 3
    1. DOM Changes
    2. Styles
    3. Traversals
    4. Ranges
    5. Summary
  16. Chapter 13: Events
    1. Event Flow
    2. Event Handlers
    3. The Event Object
    4. Event Types
    5. Memory and Performance
    6. Simulating Events
    7. Summary
  17. Chapter 14: Scripting Forms
    1. Form Basics
    2. Scripting Text Boxes
    3. Scripting Select Boxes
    4. Form Serialization
    5. Rich Text Editing
    6. Summary
  18. Chapter 15: Graphics With Canvas
    1. Basic Usage
    2. The 2D Context
    3. WebGL
    4. Summary
  19. Chapter 16: Html5 Scripting
    1. Cross-Document Messaging
    2. Native Drag and Drop
    3. Media Elements
    4. History State Management
    5. Summary
  20. Chapter 17: Error Handling and Debugging
    1. Browser Error Reporting
    2. Error Handling
    3. Debugging Techniques
    4. Common Internet Explorer Errors
    5. Summary
  21. Chapter 18: Xml in Javascript
    1. XML DOM Support in Browsers
    2. XPath Support in Browsers
    3. XSLT Support in Browsers
    4. Summary
  22. Chapter 19: Ecmascript For Xml
    1. E4X Types
    2. General Usage
    3. Other Changes
    4. Enabling Full E4X
    5. Summary
  23. Chapter 20: JSON
    1. Syntax
    2. Parsing and Serialization
    3. Summary
  24. Chapter 21: Ajax and Comet
    1. The XMLHttpRequest Object
    2. XMLHttpRequest Level 2
    3. Progress Events
    4. Cross-Origin Resource Sharing
    5. Alternate Cross-Domain Techniques
    6. Security
    7. Summary
  25. Chapter 22: Advanced Techniques
    1. Advanced Functions
    2. Tamper-Proof Objects
    3. Advanced Timers
    4. Custom Events
    5. Drag and Drop
    6. Summary
  26. Chapter 23: Offline Applications and Client-Side Storage
    1. Offline Detection
    2. Application Cache
    3. Data Storage
    4. Summary
  27. Chapter 24: Best Practices
    1. Maintainability
    2. Performance
    3. Deployment
    4. Summary
  28. Chapter 25: Emerging APIS
    1. RequestAnimationFrame()
    2. Page Visibility API
    3. Geolocation API
    4. File API
    5. Web Timing
    6. Web Workers
    7. Summary
  29. Appendix A: Ecmascript Harmony
  30. Appendix B: Strict Mode
  31. Appendix C: Javascript Libraries
  32. Appendix D: Javascript TOOLS
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Chapter 4

Variables, Scope, and Memory

WHAT’S IN THIS CHAPTER?

  • Working with primitive and reference values in variables
  • Understanding execution context
  • Understanding garbage collection

The nature of variables in JavaScript, as defined in ECMA-262, is quite unique compared to that of other languages. Being loosely typed, a variable is literally just a name for a particular value at a particular time. Because there are no rules defining the type of data that a variable must hold, a variable’s value and data type can change during the lifetime of a script. Though this is an interesting, powerful, and problematic feature, there are many more complexities related to variables.

PRIMITIVE AND REFERENCE VALUES

ECMAScript variables may contain two different types of data: primitive values and reference values. Primitive values are simple atomic pieces of data, while reference values are objects that may be made up of multiple values.

When a value is assigned to a variable, the JavaScript engine must determine if it’s a primitive or a reference. The five primitive types were discussed in the previous chapter: Undefined, Null, Boolean, Number, and String. These variables are said to be accessed by value, because you are manipulating the actual value stored in the variable.

Reference values are objects stored in memory. Unlike other languages, JavaScript does not permit direct access of memory locations, so direct manipulation of the object’s memory space is not allowed. When you manipulate ...

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