JavaScript override methods

Let's say you have the below code:

function A() {
    function modify() {
       x = 300;
       y = 400;
    }

    var c = new C();
}

function B() {
    function modify(){
       x = 3000;
       y = 4000;
    }

    var c = new C();
}

C = function () {
   var x = 10;
   var y = 20;

   function modify() {
      x = 30;
      y = 40;
   };

   modify();
   alert("The sum is: " + (x+y));
}

Now the question is, if there is any way in which I can override the method modify from C with the methods that are in A and B. In Java you would use the super-keyword, but how can you achieve something like this in JavaScript?

Answers:

Answer

Edit: It's now six years since the original answer was written and a lot has changed!

  • If you're using a newer version of JavaScript, possibly compiled with a tool like Babel, you can use real classes.
  • If you're using the class-like component constructors provided by Angular or React, you'll want to look in the docs for that framework.
  • If you're using ES5 and making "fake" classes by hand using prototypes, the answer below is still as right as it ever was.

Good luck!


JavaScript inheritance looks a bit different from Java. Here is how the native JavaScript object system looks:

// Create a class
function Vehicle(color){
  this.color = color;
}

// Add an instance method
Vehicle.prototype.go = function(){
  return "Underway in " + this.color;
}

// Add a second class
function Car(color){
  this.color = color;
}

// And declare it is a subclass of the first
Car.prototype = new Vehicle();

// Override the instance method
Car.prototype.go = function(){
  return Vehicle.prototype.go.call(this) + " car"
}

// Create some instances and see the overridden behavior.
var v = new Vehicle("blue");
v.go() // "Underway in blue"

var c = new Car("red");
c.go() // "Underway in red car"

Unfortunately this is a bit ugly and it does not include a very nice way to "super": you have to manually specify which parent classes' method you want to call. As a result, there are a variety of tools to make creating classes nicer. Try looking at Prototype.js, Backbone.js, or a similar library that includes a nicer syntax for doing OOP in js.

Answer

Since this is a top hit on Google, I'd like to give an updated answer.

Using ES6 classes makes inheritance and method overriding a lot easier:

'use strict';

class A {
    speak() {
        console.log("I'm A");
    }
}

class B extends A {
    speak() {
        super.speak();

        console.log("I'm B");
    }
}

var a = new A();
a.speak();
// Output:
// I'm A

var b = new B();
b.speak();
// Output:
// I'm A
// I'm B

The super keyword refers to the parent class when used in the inheriting class. Also, all methods on the parent class are bound to the instance of the child, so you don't have to write super.method.apply(this);.

As for compatibility: the ES6 compatibility table shows only the most recent versions of the major players support classes (mostly). V8 browsers have had them since January of this year (Chrome and Opera), and Firefox, using the SpiderMonkey JS engine, will see classes next month with their official Firefox 45 release. On the mobile side, Android still does not support this feature, while iOS 9, release five months ago, has partial support.

Fortunately, there is Babel, a JS library for re-compiling Harmony code into ES5 code. Classes, and a lot of other cool features in ES6 can make your Javascript code a lot more readable and maintainable.

Answer

Once should avoid emulating classical OO and use prototypical OO instead. A nice utility library for prototypical OO is traits.

Rather then overwriting methods and setting up inheritance chains (one should always favour object composition over object inheritance) you should be bundling re-usable functions into traits and creating objects with those.

Live Example

var modifyA = {
    modify: function() {
        this.x = 300;
        this.y = 400;
    }
};

var modifyB = {
    modify: function() {
        this.x = 3000;
        this.y = 4000;
    }
};

C = function(trait) {
    var o = Object.create(Object.prototype, Trait(trait));

    o.modify();
    console.log("sum : " + (o.x + o.y));

    return o;
}

//C(modifyA);
C(modifyB);
Answer

modify() in your example is a private function, that won't be accessible from anywhere but within your A, B or C definition. You would need to declare it as

this.modify = function(){}

C has no reference to its parents, unless you pass it to C. If C is set up to inherit from A or B, it will inherit its public methods (not its private functions like you have modify() defined). Once C inherits methods from its parent, you can override the inherited methods.

Answer

the method modify() that you called in the last is called in global context if you want to override modify() you first have to inherit A or B.

Maybe you're trying to do this:

In this case C inherits A

function A() {
    this.modify = function() {
        alert("in A");
    }
}

function B() {
    this.modify = function() {
        alert("in B");
    }
}

C = function() {
    this.modify = function() {
        alert("in C");
    };

    C.prototype.modify(); // you can call this method where you need to call modify of the parent class
}

C.prototype = new A();
Answer

Not unless you make all variables "public", i.e. make them members of the Function either directly or through the prototype property.

var C = function( ) {
    this.x = 10 , this.y = 20 ;
    this.modify = function( ) {
        this.x = 30 , this.y = 40 ;
        console.log("(!) C >> " + (this.x + this.y) ) ;
    } ;
} ;

var A = function( ) {
    this.modify = function( ) {
       this.x = 300 , this.y = 400 ;
       console.log("(!) A >> " + (this.x + this.y) ) ;
    } ;
} ;
    A.prototype = new C ;

var B = function( ) {
    this.modify = function( ) {
       this.x = 3000 , this.y = 4000 ;
       console.log("(!) B >> " + (this.x + this.y) ) ;
    } ;
} ;


new C( ).modify( ) ;
new A( ).modify( ) ;
new B( ).modify( ) ; 

You will notice a few changes.

Most importantly the call to the supposed "super-classes" constructor is now implicit within this line:

<name>.prototype = new C ;

Both A and B will now have individually modifiable members x and y which would not be the case if we would have written ... = C instead.

Then, x, y and modify are all "public" members so that assigning a different Function to them

 <name>.prototype.modify = function( ) { /* ... */ }

will "override" the original Function by that name.

Lastly, the call to modify cannot be done in the Function declaration because the implicit call to the "super-class" would then be executed again when we set the supposed "super-class" to the prototype property of the supposed "sub-classes".

But well, this is more or less how you would do this kind of thing in JavaScript.

HTH,

FK

Answer

function A() {
    var c = new C();
	c.modify = function(){
		c.x = 123;
		c.y = 333;
	}
	c.sum();
}

function B() {
    var c = new C();
	c.modify = function(){
		c.x = 999;
		c.y = 333;
	}
	c.sum();
}


C = function () {
   this.x = 10;
   this.y = 20;

   this.modify = function() {
      this.x = 30;
      this.y = 40;
   };
   
   this.sum = function(){
	this.modify();
	console.log("The sum is: " + (this.x+this.y));
   }
}

A();
B();

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