What is the preferred syntax for defining enums in JavaScript?



Answers

This isn't much of an answer, but I'd say that works just fine, personally

Having said that, since it doesn't matter what the values are (you've used 0, 1, 2), I'd use a meaningful string in case you ever wanted to output the current value.

Question

What is the preferred syntax for defining enums in JavaScript? Something like:

my.namespace.ColorEnum = {
    RED : 0,
    GREEN : 1,
    BLUE : 2
}

// later on

if(currentColor == my.namespace.ColorEnum.RED) {
   // whatever
}

Or is there a more preferable idiom?




I came up with this approach which is modeled after enums in Java. These are type-safe, and so you can perform instanceof checks as well.

You can define enums like this:

var Days = Enum.define("Days", ["Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday", "Saturday", "Sunday"]);

Days now refers to the Days enum:

Days.Monday instanceof Days; // true

Days.Friday.name(); // "Friday"
Days.Friday.ordinal(); // 4

Days.Sunday === Days.Sunday; // true
Days.Sunday === Days.Friday; // false

Days.Sunday.toString(); // "Sunday"

Days.toString() // "Days { Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday } "

Days.values().map(function(e) { return e.name(); }); //["Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday", "Saturday", "Sunday"]
Days.values()[4].name(); //"Friday"

Days.fromName("Thursday") === Days.Thursday // true
Days.fromName("Wednesday").name() // "Wednesday"
Days.Friday.fromName("Saturday").name() // "Saturday"

The implementation:

var Enum = (function () {
    /**
     * Function to define an enum
     * @param typeName - The name of the enum.
     * @param constants - The constants on the enum. Can be an array of strings, or an object where each key is an enum
     * constant, and the values are objects that describe attributes that can be attached to the associated constant.
     */
    function define(typeName, constants) {

        /** Check Arguments **/
        if (typeof typeName === "undefined") {
            throw new TypeError("A name is required.");
        }

        if (!(constants instanceof Array) && (Object.getPrototypeOf(constants) !== Object.prototype)) {

            throw new TypeError("The constants parameter must either be an array or an object.");

        } else if ((constants instanceof Array) && constants.length === 0) {

            throw new TypeError("Need to provide at least one constant.");

        } else if ((constants instanceof Array) && !constants.reduce(function (isString, element) {
                return isString && (typeof element === "string");
            }, true)) {

            throw new TypeError("One or more elements in the constant array is not a string.");

        } else if (Object.getPrototypeOf(constants) === Object.prototype && !Object.keys(constants).reduce(function (isObject, constant) {
                return Object.getPrototypeOf(constants[constant]) === Object.prototype;
            }, true)) {

            throw new TypeError("One or more constants do not have an associated object-value.");

        }

        var isArray = (constants instanceof Array);
        var isObject = !isArray;

        /** Private sentinel-object used to guard enum constructor so that no one else can create enum instances **/
        function __() { };

        /** Dynamically define a function with the same name as the enum we want to define. **/
        var __enum = new Function(["__"],
            "return function " + typeName + "(sentinel, name, ordinal) {" +
                "if(!(sentinel instanceof __)) {" +
                    "throw new TypeError(\"Cannot instantiate an instance of " + typeName + ".\");" +
                "}" +

                "this.__name = name;" +
                "this.__ordinal = ordinal;" +
            "}"
        )(__);

        /** Private objects used to maintain enum instances for values(), and to look up enum instances for fromName() **/
        var __values = [];
        var __dict = {};

        /** Attach values() and fromName() methods to the class itself (kind of like static methods). **/
        Object.defineProperty(__enum, "values", {
            value: function () {
                return __values;
            }
        });

        Object.defineProperty(__enum, "fromName", {
            value: function (name) {
                var __constant = __dict[name]
                if (__constant) {
                    return __constant;
                } else {
                    throw new TypeError(typeName + " does not have a constant with name " + name + ".");
                }
            }
        });

        /**
         * The following methods are available to all instances of the enum. values() and fromName() need to be
         * available to each constant, and so we will attach them on the prototype. But really, they're just
         * aliases to their counterparts on the prototype.
         */
        Object.defineProperty(__enum.prototype, "values", {
            value: __enum.values
        });

        Object.defineProperty(__enum.prototype, "fromName", {
            value: __enum.fromName
        });

        Object.defineProperty(__enum.prototype, "name", {
            value: function () {
                return this.__name;
            }
        });

        Object.defineProperty(__enum.prototype, "ordinal", {
            value: function () {
                return this.__ordinal;
            }
        });

        Object.defineProperty(__enum.prototype, "valueOf", {
            value: function () {
                return this.__name;
            }
        });

        Object.defineProperty(__enum.prototype, "toString", {
            value: function () {
                return this.__name;
            }
        });

        /**
         * If constants was an array, we can the element values directly. Otherwise, we will have to use the keys
         * from the constants object.
         */
        var _constants = constants;
        if (isObject) {
            _constants = Object.keys(constants);
        }

        /** Iterate over all constants, create an instance of our enum for each one, and attach it to the enum type **/
        _constants.forEach(function (name, ordinal) {
            // Create an instance of the enum
            var __constant = new __enum(new __(), name, ordinal);

            // If constants was an object, we want to attach the provided attributes to the instance.
            if (isObject) {
                Object.keys(constants[name]).forEach(function (attr) {
                    Object.defineProperty(__constant, attr, {
                        value: constants[name][attr]
                    });
                });
            }

            // Freeze the instance so that it cannot be modified.
            Object.freeze(__constant);

            // Attach the instance using the provided name to the enum type itself.
            Object.defineProperty(__enum, name, {
                value: __constant
            });

            // Update our private objects
            __values.push(__constant);
            __dict[name] = __constant;
        });

        /** Define a friendly toString method for the enum **/
        var string = typeName + " { " + __enum.values().map(function (c) {
                return c.name();
            }).join(", ") + " } ";

        Object.defineProperty(__enum, "toString", {
            value: function () {
                return string;
            }
        });

        /** Freeze our private objects **/
        Object.freeze(__values);
        Object.freeze(__dict);

        /** Freeze the prototype on the enum and the enum itself **/
        Object.freeze(__enum.prototype);
        Object.freeze(__enum);

        /** Return the enum **/
        return __enum;
    }

    return {
        define: define
    }

})();



I've modified the solution of Andre 'Fi':

  function Enum() {
    var that = this;
    for (var i in arguments) {
        that[arguments[i]] = i;
    }
    this.name = function(value) {
        for (var key in that) {
            if (that[key] == value) {
                return key;
            }
        }
    };
    this.exist = function(value) {
        return (typeof that.name(value) !== "undefined");
    };
    if (Object.freeze) {
        Object.freeze(that);
    }
  }

Test:

var Color = new Enum('RED', 'GREEN', 'BLUE');
undefined
Color.name(Color.REDs)
undefined
Color.name(Color.RED)
"RED"
Color.exist(Color.REDs)
false
Color.exist(Color.RED)
true



This is the solution that I use.

function Enum() {
    this._enums = [];
    this._lookups = {};
}

Enum.prototype.getEnums = function() {
    return _enums;
}

Enum.prototype.forEach = function(callback){
    var length = this._enums.length;
    for (var i = 0; i < length; ++i){
        callback(this._enums[i]);
    }
}

Enum.prototype.addEnum = function(e) {
    this._enums.push(e);
}

Enum.prototype.getByName = function(name) {
    return this[name];
}

Enum.prototype.getByValue = function(field, value) {
    var lookup = this._lookups[field];
    if(lookup) {
        return lookup[value];
    } else {
        this._lookups[field] = ( lookup = {});
        var k = this._enums.length - 1;
        for(; k >= 0; --k) {
            var m = this._enums[k];
            var j = m[field];
            lookup[j] = m;
            if(j == value) {
                return m;
            }
        }
    }
    return null;
}

function defineEnum(definition) {
    var k;
    var e = new Enum();
    for(k in definition) {
        var j = definition[k];
        e[k] = j;
        e.addEnum(j)
    }
    return e;
}

And you define your enums like this:

var COLORS = defineEnum({
    RED : {
        value : 1,
        string : 'red'
    },
    GREEN : {
        value : 2,
        string : 'green'
    },
    BLUE : {
        value : 3,
        string : 'blue'
    }
});

And this is how you access your enums:

COLORS.BLUE.string
COLORS.BLUE.value
COLORS.getByName('BLUE').string
COLORS.getByValue('value', 1).string

COLORS.forEach(function(e){
    // do what you want with e
});

I usually use the last 2 methods for mapping enums from message objects.

Some advantages to this approach:

  • Easy to declare enums
  • Easy to access your enums
  • Your enums can be complex types
  • The Enum class has some associative caching if you are using getByValue a lot

Some disadvantages:

  • Some messy memory management going on in there, as I keep the references to the enums
  • Still no type safety



If you're using Backbone, you can get full-blown enum functionality (find by id, name, custom members) for free using Backbone.Collection.

// enum instance members, optional
var Color = Backbone.Model.extend({
    print : function() {
        console.log("I am " + this.get("name"))
    }
});

// enum creation
var Colors = new Backbone.Collection([
    { id : 1, name : "Red", rgb : 0xFF0000},
    { id : 2, name : "Green" , rgb : 0x00FF00},
    { id : 3, name : "Blue" , rgb : 0x0000FF}
], {
    model : Color
});

// Expose members through public fields.
Colors.each(function(color) {
    Colors[color.get("name")] = color;
});

// using
Colors.Red.print()



In most modern browsers, there is a symbol primitive data type which can be used to create an enumeration. It will ensure type safety of the enum as each symbol value is guaranteed by JavaScript to be unique, i.e. Symbol() != Symbol(). For example:

const COLOR = Object.freeze({RED: Symbol(), BLUE: Symbol()});

To simplify debugging, you can add a description to enum values:

const COLOR = Object.freeze({RED: Symbol("RED"), BLUE: Symbol("BLUE")});

Plunker demo

On GitHub you can find a wrapper that simplifies the code required to initialize the enum:

const color = new Enum("RED", "BLUE")

color.RED.toString() // Symbol(RED)
color.getName(color.RED) // RED
color.size // 2
color.values() // Symbol(RED), Symbol(BLUE)
color.toString() // RED,BLUE



I had done it a while ago using a mixture of __defineGetter__ and __defineSetter__ or defineProperty depending on the JS version.

Here's the enum generating function I made: https://gist.github.com/gfarrell/6716853

You'd use it like this:

var Colours = Enum('RED', 'GREEN', 'BLUE');

And it would create an immutable string:int dictionary (an enum).




your answers are far too complicated

var buildSet = function(array) {
  var set = {};
  for (var i in array) {
    var item = array[i];
    set[item] = item;
  }
  return set;
}

var myEnum = buildSet(['RED','GREEN','BLUE']);
// myEnum.RED == 'RED' ...etc



Here's a couple different ways to implement TypeScript enums.

The easiest way is to just iterate over an object, adding inverted key-value pairs to the object. The only drawback is that you must manually set the value for each member.

function _enum(list) {       
  for (var key in list) {
    list[list[key] = list[key]] = key;
  }
  return Object.freeze(list);
}

var Color = _enum({
  Red: 0,
  Green: 5,
  Blue: 2
});

// Color → {0: "Red", 2: "Blue", 5: "Green", "Red": 0, "Green": 5, "Blue": 2}
// Color.Red → 0
// Color.Green → 5
// Color.Blue → 2
// Color[5] → Green
// Color.Blue > Color.Green → false


And here's a lodash mixin to create an enum using a string. While this version is a little bit more involved, it does the numbering automatically for you. All the lodash methods used in this example have a regular JavaScript equivalent, so you can easily switch them out if you want.

function enum() {
    var key, val = -1, list = {};
    _.reduce(_.toArray(arguments), function(result, kvp) {    
        kvp = kvp.split("=");
        key = _.trim(kvp[0]);
        val = _.parseInt(kvp[1]) || ++val;            
        result[result[val] = key] = val;
        return result;
    }, list);
    return Object.freeze(list);
}    

// Add enum to lodash 
_.mixin({ "enum": enum });

var Color = _.enum(
    "Red",
    "Green",
    "Blue = 5",
    "Yellow",
    "Purple = 20",
    "Gray"
);

// Color.Red → 0
// Color.Green → 1
// Color.Blue → 5
// Color.Yellow → 6
// Color.Purple → 20
// Color.Gray → 21
// Color[5] → Blue



I wrote enumerationjs a very tiny library to address the issue which ensures type safety, allow enum constants to inherit from a prototype, guaranties enum constants and enum types to be immutable + many little features. It allows to refactor a lot of code and move some logic inside the enum definition. Here is an example :

var CloseEventCodes = new Enumeration("closeEventCodes", {
  CLOSE_NORMAL:          { _id: 1000, info: "Connection closed normally" },
  CLOSE_GOING_AWAY:      { _id: 1001, info: "Connection closed going away" },
  CLOSE_PROTOCOL_ERROR:  { _id: 1002, info: "Connection closed due to protocol error"  },
  CLOSE_UNSUPPORTED:     { _id: 1003, info: "Connection closed due to unsupported operation" },
  CLOSE_NO_STATUS:       { _id: 1005, info: "Connection closed with no status" },
  CLOSE_ABNORMAL:        { _id: 1006, info: "Connection closed abnormally" },
  CLOSE_TOO_LARGE:       { _id: 1009, info: "Connection closed due to too large packet" }
},{ talk: function(){
    console.log(this.info); 
  }
});


CloseEventCodes.CLOSE_TOO_LARGE.talk(); //prints "Connection closed due to too large packet"
CloseEventCodes.CLOSE_TOO_LARGE instanceof CloseEventCodes //evaluates to true

Enumeration is basically a factory.

Fully documented guide available here. Hope this helps.




You can do something like this

function Enum(){
  this.add.apply(this,arguments);
}

Enum.prototype.add = function(){
  for (var i in arguments) {
    this[arguments[i]] = new String(arguments[i]);
  }
};
Enum.prototype.toList = function(){
  return Object.keys(this)
};

var STATUS = new Enum("CLOSED","PENDING");


var STATE = new Enum("CLOSED","PENDING");

STATE.CLOSED === STATUS.CLOSED  // false;
STATE.CLOSED === "CLOSED"  // false;
STATE.CLOSED.toString() === "CLOSED"  // true;

As defined in this library. https://github.com/webmodule/foo/blob/master/foo.js#L217




es7 way, (iterator, freeze), usage:

const ThreeWiseMen = new Enum('Melchior', 'Caspar', 'Balthazar')

for (let name of ThreeWiseMen)
    console.log(name)


// with a given key
let key = ThreeWiseMen.Melchior

console.log(key in ThreeWiseMen) // true (string conversion, also true: 'Melchior' in ThreeWiseMen)

for (let entry from key.enum)
     console.log(entry)


// prevent alteration (throws TypeError in strict mode)
ThreeWiseMen.Me = 'Me too!'
ThreeWiseMen.Melchior.name = 'Foo'

code:

class EnumKey {

    constructor(props) { Object.freeze(Object.assign(this, props)) }

    toString() { return this.name }

}

export class Enum {

    constructor(...keys) {

        for (let [index, key] of keys.entries()) {

            Object.defineProperty(this, key, {

                value: new EnumKey({ name:key, index, enum:this }),
                enumerable: true,

            })

        }

        Object.freeze(this)

    }

    *[Symbol.iterator]() {

        for (let key of Object.keys(this))
            yield this[key]

    }

    toString() { return [...this].join(', ') }

}



As of writing, October 2014 - so here is a contemporary solution. Am writing the solution as a Node Module, and have included a test using Mocha and Chai, as well as underscoreJS. You can easily ignore these, and just take the Enum code if preferred.

Seen a lot of posts with overly convoluted libraries etc. The solution to getting enum support in Javascript is so simple it really isn't needed. Here is the code:

File: enums.js

_ = require('underscore');

var _Enum = function () {

   var keys = _.map(arguments, function (value) {
      return value;
   });
   var self = {
      keys: keys
   };
   for (var i = 0; i < arguments.length; i++) {
      self[keys[i]] = i;
   }
   return self;
};

var fileFormatEnum = Object.freeze(_Enum('CSV', 'TSV'));
var encodingEnum = Object.freeze(_Enum('UTF8', 'SHIFT_JIS'));

exports.fileFormatEnum = fileFormatEnum;
exports.encodingEnum = encodingEnum;

And a test to illustrate what it gives you:

file: enumsSpec.js

var chai = require("chai"),
    assert = chai.assert,
    expect = chai.expect,
    should = chai.should(),
    enums = require('./enums'),
    _ = require('underscore');


describe('enums', function () {

    describe('fileFormatEnum', function () {
        it('should return expected fileFormat enum declarations', function () {
            var fileFormatEnum = enums.fileFormatEnum;
            should.exist(fileFormatEnum);
            assert('{"keys":["CSV","TSV"],"CSV":0,"TSV":1}' === JSON.stringify(fileFormatEnum), 'Unexpected format');
            assert('["CSV","TSV"]' === JSON.stringify(fileFormatEnum.keys), 'Unexpected keys format');
        });
    });

    describe('encodingEnum', function () {
        it('should return expected encoding enum declarations', function () {
            var encodingEnum = enums.encodingEnum;
            should.exist(encodingEnum);
            assert('{"keys":["UTF8","SHIFT_JIS"],"UTF8":0,"SHIFT_JIS":1}' === JSON.stringify(encodingEnum), 'Unexpected format');
            assert('["UTF8","SHIFT_JIS"]' === JSON.stringify(encodingEnum.keys), 'Unexpected keys format');
        });
    });

});

As you can see, you get an Enum factory, you can get all the keys simply by calling enum.keys, and you can match the keys themselves to integer constants. And you can reuse the factory with different values, and export those generated Enums using Node's modular approach.

Once again, if you are just a casual user, or in the browser etc, just take the factory part of the code, potentially removing underscore library too if you don't wish to use it in your code.




I've made an Enum class that can fetch values AND names at O(1). It can also generate an Object Array containing all Names and Values.

function Enum(obj) {
    // Names must be unique, Values do not.
    // Putting same values for different Names is risky for this implementation

    this._reserved = {
        _namesObj: {},
        _objArr: [],
        _namesArr: [],
        _valuesArr: [],
        _selectOptionsHTML: ""
    };

    for (k in obj) {
        if (obj.hasOwnProperty(k)) {
            this[k] = obj[k];
            this._reserved._namesObj[obj[k]] = k;
        }
    }
}
(function () {
    this.GetName = function (val) {
        if (typeof this._reserved._namesObj[val] === "undefined")
            return null;
        return this._reserved._namesObj[val];
    };

    this.GetValue = function (name) {
        if (typeof this[name] === "undefined")
            return null;
        return this[name];
    };

    this.GetObjArr = function () {
        if (this._reserved._objArr.length == 0) {
            var arr = [];
            for (k in this) {
                if (this.hasOwnProperty(k))
                    if (k != "_reserved")
                        arr.push({
                            Name: k,
                            Value: this[k]
                        });
            }
            this._reserved._objArr = arr;
        }
        return this._reserved._objArr;
    };

    this.GetNamesArr = function () {
        if (this._reserved._namesArr.length == 0) {
            var arr = [];
            for (k in this) {
                if (this.hasOwnProperty(k))
                    if (k != "_reserved")
                        arr.push(k);
            }
            this._reserved._namesArr = arr;
        }
        return this._reserved._namesArr;
    };

    this.GetValuesArr = function () {
        if (this._reserved._valuesArr.length == 0) {
            var arr = [];
            for (k in this) {
                if (this.hasOwnProperty(k))
                    if (k != "_reserved")
                        arr.push(this[k]);
            }
            this._reserved._valuesArr = arr;
        }
        return this._reserved._valuesArr;
    };

    this.GetSelectOptionsHTML = function () {
        if (this._reserved._selectOptionsHTML.length == 0) {
            var html = "";
            for (k in this) {
                if (this.hasOwnProperty(k))
                    if (k != "_reserved")
                        html += "<option value='" + this[k] + "'>" + k + "</option>";
            }
            this._reserved._selectOptionsHTML = html;
        }
        return this._reserved._selectOptionsHTML;
    };
}).call(Enum.prototype);

You can init'd it like this:

var enum1 = new Enum({
    item1: 0,
    item2: 1,
    item3: 2
});

To fetch a value (like Enums in C#):

var val2 = enum1.item2;

To fetch a name for a value (can be ambiguous when putting the same value for different names):

var name1 = enum1.GetName(0);  // "item1"

To get an array with each name & value in an object:

var arr = enum1.GetObjArr();

Will generate:

[{ Name: "item1", Value: 0}, { ... }, ... ]

You can also get the html select options readily:

var html = enum1.GetSelectOptionsHTML();

Which holds:

"<option value='0'>item1</option>..."



Bottom line: You can't.

You can fake it, but you won't get type safety. Typically this is done by creating a simple dictionary of string values mapped to integer values. For example:

var DaysEnum = {"monday":1, "tuesday":2, "wednesday":3, ...}

Document.Write("Enumerant: " + DaysEnum.tuesday);

The problem with this approach? You can accidentally redefine your enumerant, or accidentally have duplicate enumerant values. For example:

DaysEnum.monday = 4; // whoops, monday is now thursday, too

Edit

What about Artur Czajka's Object.freeze? Wouldn't that work to prevent you from setting monday to thursday? – Fry Quad

Absolutely, Object.freeze would totally fix the problem I complained about. I would like to remind everyone that when I wrote the above, Object.freeze didn't really exist.

Now.... now it opens up some very interesting possibilities.

Edit 2
Here's a very good library for creating enums.

http://www.2ality.com/2011/10/enums.html

While it probably doesn't fit every valid use of enums, it goes a very long way.






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