|Previous Contents Index Next|
Chapter 7 Working with Objects
Objects and Properties
Both the object name and property name are case sensitive. You define a property by assigning it a value. For example, suppose there is an object named myCar (for now, just assume the object already exists). You can give it properties named make, model, and year as follows:
This type of array is known as an associative array, because each index element is also associated with a string value. To illustrate how this works, the following function displays the properties of the object when you pass the object and the object's name as arguments to the function:
Creating New Objects
Using Object Initializers
In addition to creating objects using a constructor function, you can create objects using an object initializer. Using object initializers is sometimes referred to as creating objects with literal notation. "Object initializer" is consistent with the terminology used by C++.
where objectName is the name of the new object, each propertyI is an identifier (either a name, a number, or a string literal), and each valueI is an expression whose value is assigned to the propertyI. The objectName and assignment is optional. If you do not need to refer to this object elsewhere, you do not need to assign it to a variable.
You can also use object initializers to create arrays. See "Array Literals" on page 28.
Define the object type by writing a constructor function. To define an object type, create a function for the object type that specifies its name, properties, and methods. For example, suppose you want to create an object type for cars. You want this type of object to be called car, and you want it to have properties for make, model, year, and color. To do this, you would write the following function:
Notice that instead of passing a literal string or integer value when creating the new objects, the above statements pass the objects rand and ken as the arguments for the owners. Then if you want to find out the name of the owner of car2, you can access the following property:
adds a property color to car1, and assigns it a value of "black." However, this does not affect any other objects. To add the new property to all objects of the same type, you have to add the property to the definition of the car object type.
Indexing Object Properties
This applies when you create an object and its properties with a constructor function, as in the above example of the Car object type, and when you define individual properties explicitly (for example, myCar.color = "red"). So if you define object properties initially with an index, such as myCar = "25 mpg", you can subsequently refer to the property as myCar.
The exception to this rule is objects reflected from HTML, such as the forms array. You can always refer to objects in these arrays by either their ordinal number (based on where they appear in the document) or their name (if defined). For example, if the second <FORM> tag in a document has a NAME attribute of "myForm", you can refer to the form as document.forms or document.forms["myForm"] or document.myForm.
Defining Properties for an Object Type
You can add a property to a previously defined object type by using the prototype property. This defines a property that is shared by all objects of the specified type, rather than by just one instance of the object. The following code adds a color property to all objects of type car, and then assigns a value to the color property of the object car1.
A method is a function associated with an object. You define a method the same way you define a standard function. Then you use the following syntax to associate the function with an existing object:
You can define methods for an object type by including a method definition in the object constructor function. For example, you could define a function that would format and display the properties of the previously-defined car objects; for example,