How to get class object's name as a string in Javascript?

Let's say I instantiate an object in Javascript like this:

var myObj = new someObject();

Now, is it possible to obtain the var object's name as string 'myObj' from within one of the class methods?


Additional details (edited):

The reason why I would like to get the name of the variable holding reference to the object is that my new myObj would create a new clickable DIV on the page that would need to call a function myObj.someFunction(). As I insert the new DIV I need to know the name of the variable holding reference to the object. Is there maybe a better way of doing this?


You are right, sorry for the mixup in terminology.

The reason why I would like to get the name of the variable holding reference to the object is that my new myObj would create a new clickable DIV on the page that would need to call a function myObj.someFunction(). As I insert the new DIV I need to know the name of the variable holding reference to the object. Is there maybe a better way of doing this?

Answers:

Answer

Shog9 is right that this doesn't make all that much sense to ask, since an object could be referred to by multiple variables. If you don't really care about that, and all you want is to find the name of one of the global variables that refers to that object, you could do the following hack:

function myClass() { 
  this.myName = function () { 
    // search through the global object for a name that resolves to this object
    for (var name in this.global) 
      if (this.global[name] == this) 
        return name 
  } 
}
// store the global object, which can be referred to as this at the top level, in a
// property on our prototype, so we can refer to it in our object's methods
myClass.prototype.global = this
// create a global variable referring to an object
var myVar = new myClass()
myVar.myName() // returns "myVar"

Note that this is an ugly hack, and should not be used in production code. If there is more than one variable referring to an object, you can't tell which one you'll get. It will only search the global variables, so it won't work if a variable is local to a function. In general, if you need to name something, you should pass the name in to the constructor when you create it.

edit: To respond to your clarification, if you need to be able to refer to something from an event handler, you shouldn't be referring to it by name, but instead add a function that refers to the object directly. Here's a quick example that I whipped up that shows something similar, I think, to what you're trying to do:

function myConstructor () {
  this.count = 0
  this.clickme = function () {
    this.count += 1
    alert(this.count)
  }

  var newDiv = document.createElement("div")
  var contents = document.createTextNode("Click me!")

  // This is the crucial part. We don't construct an onclick handler by creating a
  // string, but instead we pass in a function that does what we want. In order to
  // refer to the object, we can't use this directly (since that will refer to the 
  // div when running event handler), but we create an anonymous function with an 
  // argument and pass this in as that argument.
  newDiv.onclick = (function (obj) { 
    return function () {
      obj.clickme()
    }
  })(this)

  newDiv.appendChild(contents)
  document.getElementById("frobnozzle").appendChild(newDiv)

}
window.onload = function () {
  var myVar = new myConstructor()
}
Answer

You can do it converting by the constructor to a string using .toString() :

function getObjectClass(obj){
   if (typeof obj != "object" || obj === null) return false;
   else return /(\w+)\(/.exec(obj.constructor.toString())[1];}
Answer

As a more elementary situation it would be nice IF this had a property that could reference it's referring variable (heads or tails) but unfortunately it only references the instantiation of the new coinSide object.

javascript:  /* it would be nice but ... a solution NOT! */
function coinSide(){this.ref=this};
/* can .ref be set so as to identify it's referring variable? (heads or tails) */
heads = new coinSide();
tails = new coinSide();
toss = Math.random()<0.5 ? heads : tails;
alert(toss.ref);
alert(["FF's Gecko engine shows:\n\ntoss.toSource()  is  ", toss.toSource()])

which always displays

[object Object]

and Firefox's Gecko engine shows:

toss.toSource()  is  ,#1={ref:#1#}

Of course, in this example, to resolve #1, and hence toss, it's simple enough to test toss==heads and toss==tails. This question, which is really asking if javascript has a call-by-name mechanism, motivates consideration of the counterpart, is there a call-by-value mechanism to determine the ACTUAL value of a variable? The example demonstrates that the "values" of both heads and tails are identical, yet alert(heads==tails) is false.

The self-reference can be coerced as follows:
(avoiding the object space hunt and possible ambiguities as noted in the How to get class object's name as a string in Javascript? solution)

javascript:
function assign(n,v){ eval( n +"="+ v ); eval( n +".ref='"+ n +"'" ) }
function coinSide(){};
assign("heads", "new coinSide()");
assign("tails", "new coinSide()");
toss = Math.random()<0.5 ? heads : tails;
alert(toss.ref);

to display heads or tails.

It is perhaps an anathema to the essence of Javascript's language design, as an interpreted prototyping functional language, to have such capabilities as primitives.

A final consideration:

 javascript:
     item=new Object(); refName="item"; deferAgain="refName";
     alert([deferAgain,eval(deferAgain),eval(eval(deferAgain))].join('\n'));

so, as stipulated ...

javascript:
  function bindDIV(objName){ 
    return eval( objName +'=new someObject("'+objName+'")' )
  };
  function someObject(objName){
    this.div="\n<DIV onclick='window.opener."+   /* window.opener - hiccup!! */
               objName+
             ".someFunction()'>clickable DIV</DIV>\n";
    this.someFunction=function(){alert(['my variable object name is ',objName])}
  };
  with(window.open('','test').document){         /*     see above hiccup    */
    write('<html>'+
      bindDIV('DIVobj1').div+
      bindDIV('DIV2').div+
      (alias=bindDIV('multiply')).div+
      'an aliased DIV clone'+multiply.div+
      '</html>');
    close();
  };
  void (0);

Is there a better way ... ?

"better" as in easier? Easier to program? Easier to understand? Easier as in faster execution? Or is it as in "... and now for something completely different"?

Answer

Immediately after the object is instantiatd, you can attach a property, say name, to the object and assign the string value you expect to it:

var myObj = new someClass();
myObj.name="myObj";

document.write(myObj.name);

Alternatively, the assignment can be made inside the codes of the class, i.e.

var someClass = function(P)
{ this.name=P;
  // rest of the class definition...
};

var myObj = new someClass("myObj");
document.write(myObj.name);
Answer

Some time ago, I used this.

Perhaps you could try:

+function(){
    var my_var = function get_this_name(){
        alert("I " + this.init());
    };
    my_var.prototype.init = function(){
        return my_var.name;
    }
    new my_var();
}();

Pop an Alert: "I get_this_name".

Answer

This is pretty old, but I ran across this question via Google, so perhaps this solution might be useful to others.

function GetObjectName(myObject){
    var objectName=JSON.stringify(myObject).match(/"(.*?)"/)[1];
    return objectName;
}

It just uses the browser's JSON parser and regex without cluttering up the DOM or your object too much.

Answer

Short answer: No. myObj isn't the name of the object, it's the name of a variable holding a reference to the object - you could have any number of other variables holding a reference to the same object.

Now, if it's your program, then you make the rules: if you want to say that any given object will only be referenced by one variable, ever, and diligently enforce that in your code, then just set a property on the object with the name of the variable.

That said, i doubt what you're asking for is actually what you really want. Maybe describe your problem in a bit more detail...?


Pedantry: JavaScript doesn't have classes. someObject is a constructor function. Given a reference to an object, you can obtain a reference to the function that created it using the constructor property.


In response to the additional details you've provided:

The answer you're looking for can be found here: JavaScript Callback Scope (and in response to numerous other questions on SO - it's a common point of confusion for those new to JS). You just need to wrap the call to the object member in a closure that preserves access to the context object.

Answer

You might be able to achieve your goal by using it in a function, and then examining the function's source with toString():

var whatsMyName;

  // Just do something with the whatsMyName variable, no matter what
function func() {var v = whatsMyName;}

// Now that we're using whatsMyName in a function, we could get the source code of the function as a string:
var source = func.toString();

// Then extract the variable name from the function source:
var result = /var v = (.[^;]*)/.exec(source);

alert(result[1]); // Should alert 'whatsMyName';
Answer

If you don't want to use a function constructor like in Brian's answer you can use Object.create() instead:-

var myVar = {
count: 0
}

myVar.init = function(n) {
    this.count = n
    this.newDiv()
}

myVar.newDiv = function() {
    var newDiv = document.createElement("div")
    var contents = document.createTextNode("Click me!")
    var func = myVar.func(this)
    newDiv.addEventListener ? 
        newDiv.addEventListener('click', func, false) : 
        newDiv.attachEvent('onclick', func)
    newDiv.appendChild(contents)
    document.getElementsByTagName("body")[0].appendChild(newDiv)
}

myVar.func = function (thys) {
   return function() {
      thys.clickme()
   }
} 

myVar.clickme = function () {
   this.count += 1
   alert(this.count)
}

myVar.init(2)

var myVar1 = Object.create(myVar)
myVar1.init(55) 

var myVar2 = Object.create(myVar)
myVar2.init(150) 

// etc

Strangely, I couldn't get the above to work using newDiv.onClick, but it works with newDiv.addEventListener / newDiv.attachEvent.

Since Object.create is newish, include the following code from Douglas Crockford for older browsers, including IE8.

if (typeof Object.create !== 'function') {
    Object.create = function (o) {
        function F() {}
        F.prototype = o
        return new F()
    }
}

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