Clever Code

Clever Code

Getting into JS and come across code that many will consider ‘clever’ code. Is this code that is unreadable or is it the features that the language provides? I’m not really going to get into that discussion here – this post will hopefully instead help show and explain what is going on with such code. So should you see it then you’ll be able to understand what is going on and maybe even use it yourself.

const selective = [
    { id: "firstObjectId", ...obj1 },
    { id: "secondObjectId", ...obj2 },
    ...(obj3 ? [{ id: "thirdObjectId", ...obj3 }] : [])
  ];

What’s the aim of this code?

The aim of the above is to inject an ID into every object and at the same time it will only return two items if obj3 does not exist, and 3 if it does.

Why?

You may wish to combine a series of requests and sometimes you expect one of the requests to come back with nothing. If it does then there will be no need to return the 3rd element as an empty object – just drop it.

Explanation

Part 1 – What is { id: “firstObjectId”, …obj1 } doing? It’s taking the values from obj1, spreading them into another object while at the same time including an ID value. So it’s a new object with an ID as well as everything that was inside obj1 to start with.

What about …(obj3 ? [{ id: “thirdObjectId”, …obj3 }] : [])
Well if obj3 exists then it’s the same as the previous lines.
If it doesn’t exist then the line of code is

const selective = […([])]
which is

[…[]]

As the array is empty the spread operator will take nothing out of an empty array which leaves an empty array!
So we combine that with with the other spread objects and we now have a neat means of checking if an object exists and only if it does then include it in a returned item.

Old School

If this were in old school code it would look something like this

const returned = [
{ id: "firstObjectId", ...obj1 },
{ id: "secondObjectId", ...obj2 },
];
if (obj3) {
returned.push({ id: "thirdObjectId", ...obj3 });
}

So you are including an ‘if’ and then pushing the item into the array. Not quite as elegant!

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