Working with Objects in JavaScript

by Hexagon, 4 minutes read javascript guide

After mastering control structures and arrays, the next step is to understand another cornerstone of JavaScript: objects. Objects are essential for bundling related data and functions together, which makes your code more organized and manageable. This extended article will explore objects in more depth, covering not just the basics but also advanced concepts like JSON, object constructors, prototypes, inheritance, and ES6 features for objects.

What Are Objects?

Think of an object as a container that holds related data and functions. Technically, an object is a collection of key-value pairs where each key is unique.

let person = {
  name: "Alice",
  age: 30,
  greet: function () {
    console.log("Hello, my name is " +;

In this example, person is an object. It has properties like name and age, and methods like greet. A method is simply a function that is a property of an object.

Note: This article focuses on the foundational aspects of working with objects in JavaScript. For a deep dive into Prototypes and Inheritance, which are advanced topics related to objects, you can skip to my specialized article on Prototypes and Inheritance in JavaScript.

Object Properties

Properties in an object can be of any data type: numbers, strings, arrays, functions, and even other objects. This flexibility allows you to model a wide range of real-world entities.

let car = {
  brand: "Toyota",
  model: "Camry",
  year: 2022,
  features: ["Air Conditioning", "Remote Start"],
  owner: {
    name: "John",
    age: 30,

Nested Objects

Objects within objects are known as nested objects. They are useful for organizing complex data structures. For example, the owner property in the above car object is itself an object.

console.log(; // Output: "John"

You can access nested objects' properties using chained dot notation, as shown above.

Accessing Object Properties

You can access properties of an object using dot notation or bracket notation.

Dot Notation
console.log(; // Output: "Alice"

Dot notation is straightforward and commonly used. However, it's not always feasible if the property name is stored in a variable.

Bracket Notation
console.log(person["name"]); // Output: "Alice"

Bracket notation is more flexible. It allows you to access properties dynamically.

Dynamic Property Access
let propertyName = "age";
console.log(person[propertyName]); // Output: 30

With bracket notation, you can use variables to dynamically access object properties. This is useful when you don't know which property you'll need to access ahead of time.

Adding and Updating Properties

You can easily add new properties to an object or update existing ones.

// Adding a new property
person.job = "Engineer";

// Updating an existing property
person.age = 31;

Both adding and updating properties can be done using either dot notation or bracket notation.

Deleting Properties

If you want to remove a property from an object, you can do so using the delete operator.

delete person.job;

After deleting a property, attempting to access it will return undefined.

Methods in Objects

Methods are functions that are properties of an object. They can perform actions that are specific to the object.

person.greet(); // Output: "Hello, my name is Alice"

The this Keyword in Methods

The this keyword refers to the object itself when used within a method. This allows you to access other properties of the object from within the method.

let student = {
  name: "Bob",
  age: 20,
  scores: [85, 90, 78],
  getAverageScore: function () {
    let sum = 0;
    for (let i = 0; i < this.scores.length; i++) {
      sum += this.scores[i];
    return sum / this.scores.length;

console.log(student.getAverageScore()); // Output: 84.33333333333333

In the example above, the this keyword is used to access the scores property of the student object within the getAverageScore method.

Object Constructors

An object constructor is a function that creates an object. It defines the properties and methods that will belong to the object.

function Person(name, age) { = name;
  this.age = age;
  this.greet = function () {
    console.log("Hello, my name is " +;

let alice = new Person("Alice", 30);
let bob = new Person("Bob", 40);

When you create a new object using new, the constructor function is called, and this refers to the new object.

ES6 Features for Objects

JavaScript ES6 introduced several new features to make object manipulation easier and more intuitive.

Object Destructuring

You can extract properties from an object and assign them to variables in a single line.

const { name, age } = person;
Spread Operator

The spread operator allows you to create a new object by spreading the properties of an existing object.

let newPerson = { ...person, job: "Engineer" };

The Object.assign() method is used to copy properties from one object to another.

let anotherPerson = Object.assign({}, person, { job: "Engineer" });

These ES6 features make it easier to work with objects, helping you write cleaner and more efficient code.


Understanding objects is crucial for effective JavaScript programming. This article has covered the basics like object properties, methods, and ES6 features. For those interested in diving deeper into advanced topics like prototypes and inheritance, check out my dedicated article on Prototypes and Inheritance in JavaScript. Mastering these concepts will enable you to write more organized, reusable, and maintainable code.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced developer, a deep understanding of objects will enhance your JavaScript coding skills. Keep practicing and experimenting to become more proficient with objects in JavaScript.

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