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Explain Scope and Scope Chain in JavaScript

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  • Last Updated : 25 May, 2022

In this article, we will try to understand what is the scope of a variable as well as its function (or a method). We will see what is Scope Chain with the help of certain coding examples.

Let us first see the following section which describes Scopes. 

Scope:

  • Scope in JavaScript actually determines the accessibility of variables and functions at various parts in one’s own code or program.
  • In other words, Scope will help us to determine a given part of a code or a program, what variables or functions one could access and what variables or functions one cannot access.
  • Within a scope itself, a variable or a function, or a method could be accessed. Outside the specified scope of a variable or function, the data cannot be accessed.
  • There are three types of scopes available in JavaScript: Global Scope, Local / Function Scope, and Block Scope. Let us try to understand each one of them briefly in the following section.

Global Scope:

  • Variables or functions (or methods) which are declared under a global namespace (like area or location) are determined as Global Scope. 
  • It means that all the variables which have global scope can be easily accessed from anywhere within the code or a program.

Example 1: In this example, we will be declaring a global variable which we will use in the later part of our code. We will call that variable in one function. We will call that function inside another function and then we will call that other function to see the result.

Javascript




<script>
    // Global Scoped Variable
    var global_variable = "GeeksforGeeks";
  
    // First function...
    function first_function() {
        return global_variable;
    }
  
    // Second function...
    function second_function() {
        return first_function();
    }
  
    console.log(second_function());
</script>


Output:

GeeksforGeeks

Local or Function Scope:

  • Variables that are declared inside a function or a method have Local or Function Scope.
  • It means those variables or functions which are declared inside the function or a method can be accessed within that function only.

Example 2: In this example, we will declare the main function which will consist of a local/function scoped variable. We will declare a nested function that will take that variable into consideration and perform a multiply operation on it. We will call the nested function inside the main function itself and thereafter the main function outside its declaration.

Then at last we will call our local/function scoped variable along with the local/function scoped function to see what output they will display upon their calling.

Javascript




<script>
    function main_function() {
  
        // Variable with Local Scope...    
        var a = 2;
  
        // Nested Function having Function Scope    
        var multiply = function () {
              
            // It can be accessed and altered as well
            console.log(a * 5);
        }
  
        // Will be called out when main_function gets called
        multiply();
    }
      
    // Display's the result...
    console.log(main_function());
  
    // Throws a reference error since it 
    // is a locally scoped variable
    console.log(a);
  
    // Throws a reference error since it 
    // is a locally scoped function
    multiplyBy2();
</script>


Output:

10
undefined
Uncaught ReferenceError: a is not defined

Block Scope:

  • Block Scope is related to the variables or functions which are declared using let and const since var does not have block scope.
  • Block Scope tells us that variables that are declared inside a block { }, can be accessed within that block only, not outside of that block.

Example 3: In this example, we will declare a block using curly braces “{ }”, and inside that block, we will declare a variable having a certain value in it. We will call that variable outside the blocked scope to see what output it actually displays upon calling.

Javascript




<script>
    {
        let x = 13;
    }
    // Throws a reference error 
    // since x is declared inside a block which 
    // cannot be used outside the block
    console.log(x);
</script>


Output:

Uncaught ReferenceError: x is not defined

Scope Chain:

  • JavaScript engine uses scopes to find out the exact location or accessibility of variables and that particular process is known as Scope Chain.
  • Scope Chain means that one variable has a scope (it may be global or local/function or block scope) is used by another variable or function having another scope (may be global or local/function or block scope).
  • This complete chain formation goes on and stops when the user wishes to stop it according to the requirement.

Example 4: In this example, we will first declare a global scope variable which we will use in the later part of the code, and then we will declare the main function inside which we will do some stuff. We will declare another local/function scoped variable inside that main function and just after that we will declare two nested functions (having local/function scope) within the main function itself.

  • First, the nested function will print the value of the local/function scoped variable and the second nested function will display the value of the globally scoped variable.
  • We will call the two nested functions inside the main function and then call the main function outside its declaration namespace. 

Javascript




<script>
    // Global variable
    var global_variable = 20;
  
    function main_function() {
        // Local Variable
        var local_variable = 30;
  
        var nested_function = function () {
  
            // Display the value inside the local variable
            console.log(local_variable);
        }
  
        var another_nested_function = function () {
              
            // Displays the value inside the global variable
            console.log(global_variable);
        }
  
        nested_function();
        another_nested_function();
    }
  
    main_function();
</script>


Output:

30
20

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