Zain Khalid

Full Stack Web & Android Developer

ES6 Popular Features

December 1st 20196 months ago


The process of converting ES6 into ES5 so that it can be read by browsers. Common tools for doing transpiling:


Webpack is a modular build tool for loaders and plugins; Loaders transform the source code of a module e.g Babel. Plugins usually have more complete functionality than loaders, and form the core of Webpack e.g is minifying files.

var, let, const

var is function-scoped, let and const are block-scoped. Function scope means that the variable can be accessed from anywhere regardless of the scope it's been created in, this is due to hoisting.

With block-scope, variable declarations are akin to traditional programming languages and are usually limited to the scope in which they exist. The major difference between let and const are that the value of const cannot be changed once it has been assigned one. However, this is not the case for properties within a const variable:

const number = {first: 2, second: 1};
number.first = 1; //this is allowed

const letter = 'a';
letter = 'b'; //this is not allowed

Spread Operator

The spread operator ... is used to expand an iterable (array or a string expression) in places where zero or more arguments or elements are required. A simple e.g:

  const cars {'bmw', 'lexus'};
  const houses {'mansion', 'apartment'};

  let housesAndCars = {cars, houses}; //is going to be an array with two arrays within
  housesAndCars = {, ...houses};  //is going to be a single array of size 4 with individual elements of cars and houses.

Default function parameters

When defining a function, e.g function calcFun(funWeight, time), if the function is called in a console log it will return a value of NaN. In ES6, however, you can assign function parameters default values that'll be used if no paramaters are sent through. Think of it like having a placeholder in a textbox that a user hasn't filled in yet.

  function calcFun(funWeight=1.1, timeMin=120) {
    return `${funWeight*timeMin} fun has been had!`;

Destructuring Assignments

Destructuring allows you to break down an object or an array into their smaller elements and access those values directly. Below is a neat way to access an objects properties without explicity calling the object in the function vacationMarketing using the ({}) syntax.

  var vacation = {
            destination: "Chile",
            travelers: 2,
            activity: "skiing", 
            cost: 4000

  function vacationMarketing({destination, activity}) {
    return `Come to ${destination} and do some ${activity}`


With arrays, you can assign specific variable names to indexes you know you'll use later and just call them like normal variables:

  var [first,,,, last] = ['first', 'second', 'third', 'fourth', 'fifth']; //the commas will skip over the variables in between


Asynchronous JavaScript uses the event-loop. The delayed code will be added to a piece of code waiting to be run. The code waiting to be run will be executed first, then the delayed code will be executed.


Promises are objects that represent the eventual outcome of an asynchronous operation. A Promise object can be in one of three states:

  • Pending: The initial state — the operation has not completed yet.
  • Fulfilled: The operation has completed successfully and the promise now has a resolved value. For example, a request’s promise might resolve with a JSON object as its value.
  • Rejected: The operation has failed and the promise has a reason for the failure. This reason is usually an Error of some kind.

A promise has been settled if it has been either resolved (fulfilled) or rejected.

Constructing Promises

  const inventory = {
  sunglasses: 1900,
  pants: 1088,
  bags: 1344

// Write your code below:
const myExecutor = (resolve, reject) => {
  if (inventory.sunglasses > 0) {
    resolve(`Sunglasses order processed.`);
    reject(`That item is sold out.`);

/*A promise is created using a Promise constructor, which takes in a executor function
  as a parameter. The executor function contains the resolve and reject methods in it. 

  The executor, myExecutor, has been created above and is passed in the Promise 
  constructor below.
const orderSunglasses = () => new Promise(myExecutor); 

const orderPromise = orderSunglasses(); //Create a promise

console.log(orderPromise); //Print the result of the promise

Consuming Promises

Knowing how to consume promises is key, mose of the time you'll be handling Promise objects as a result of asynchronous calls you've made. The initial state of all promises is pending, but we know it'll settle. What do we want to happen then? Well, you chain on the method .then().

.then() is a higher-order function; it takes two callback functions as arguments, called handlers:

  1. onFulfilled is the sucesss handler and handles the logic when the promise resolves
  2. onRejeccted is the failure handler and handles the logic when the promise is rejected.

.then() can be invoked with zero, one or both handlers. This allows for flexibility but can make debugging tricky because it'll ALWAYS return a promise.

  //making two handlers then attaching them to a function that returns a promise
  const handleSuccess = (success) => {

  const handleFailure = failure => console.log(failure);

  checkInventory(order).then(handleSuccess, handleFailure);

It's convention to chain on two thens one after the other to handle a success and a failure, for readability:

  .then((resolvedValue) => {
  .then(null, (rejectionReason) => {

But this goes another step further by using .catch() to handle the failure:

  .then((resolvedValue) => {
  .catch((rejectionReason) => {

Chaining Promises

It's common to chain the results of promises one after the other since they use them. The process of chaining promises together is called composition.

  .then((firstResolveVal) => {
    return secondPromiseFunction(firstResolveVal);
  .then((secondResolveVal) => {

NOTE Be careful, make sure you chain promises and don't nest them. Make sure to return promises in chains.


Promise composition is a great way to handle situations where asynchronous operations depend on each other and order matters. Sometimes, though, order does not matter but only that all operations complete, in fact it's ideal that they run in parallel. This running in parallel is called concurrency, and in JS it's achieved with the function Promise.all().

Promise.all() accepts and array of Promises and returns a single promise. The single promise returned will either:

  • If all promises in the array resolve, the function will return a resolve value or;
  • If a single promise from the array fails, the function will return a reject value (Also known as failing fast).
let myPromises = Promise.all([returnsPromOne(), returnsPromTwo(), returnsPromThree()]);

  .then((arrayOfValues) => {
  .catch((rejectionReason) => {

Async Await

JavaScript is non-blocking: instead of stopping the execution of code while it waits, JavaScript uses an event-loop which allows it to efficiently execute other tasks while it awaits the completion of these asynchronous actions.

Originally, JavaScript used callback functions to handle asynchronous actions. The problem with callbacks is that they encourage complexly nested code which quickly becomes difficult to read, debug, and scale.

ES6 introduced promises which allows for increased readability. ES8 introduced async...await which further improves readability by reading more like traditional, synchronous code.

async...await introduces a new syntax for using promises and generators, it doesn't introduce any new functionality in JS that wasn't there before.

async operator

The async keyword is used to write functions that'll handle asycnhronous operations.

//async declaration
async function myFunc() {
  // Function body here


//async expression
const myFunc = async () => {
  // Function body here


async functions always return a promise. This means that all the syntax for promises like .then() and .catch() applies. There are three possible return values:

  • If there’s nothing returned from the function, it will return a promise with a resolved value of undefined;
  • If there’s a non-promise value returned from the function, it will return a promise resolved to that value;
  • If a promise is returned from the function, it will simply return that promise.
await operator

The await keyword can only be used inside an async function. await is an operator: it returns the resolved value of a promise. Since promises resolve in an indeterminate amount of time, await halts the execution of our async function until a given promise is resolved.

Promises are usually returned from functions in libraries. We can await the resolution of a promise insde an async function.

async function asyncFuncExample(){
  let resolvedValue = await myPromise();

asyncFuncExample(); // Prints: I am resolved now!

Dependent Promises

Similar to chaining promises, async-await becomes really useful when multiple operations that are dependent on each other are implemented with it. Async-await allows for less cluttered code that is easier to maintain. The bigger point is that the code looks similar to traditional synchronous code which allows for the former.

Variables are also more easily assigned with async-await. Here's an example and comparison:

//chained promises
function nativePromiseVersion() {
    .then((firstValue) => {
        return returnsSecondPromise(firstValue);
   .then((secondValue) => {

//async-await dependent
sync function asyncAwaitVersion() {
 let firstValue = await returnsFirstPromise();
 let secondValue = await returnsSecondPromise(firstValue);

Handling Errors

When .catch() is used with a long promise chain, there is no indication of where in the chain the error was thrown.

With async...await, we use try...catch statements for error handling. By using this syntax, not only are we able to handle errors in the same way we do with synchronous code, but we can also catch both synchronous and asynchronous errors.

Here's a simple example below:

const hostDinnerParty = async () => {
  try {
    let result = await cookBeanSouffle();
    console.log(`${result} is served!`);
  catch (error) {
    console.log(`Ordering a pizza!`);
Independent Promises
async function waiting() {
 const firstValue = await firstAsyncThing();
 const secondValue = await secondAsyncThing();
 console.log(firstValue, secondValue);

async function concurrent() {
 const firstPromise = firstAsyncThing();
 const secondPromise = secondAsyncThing();
console.log(await firstPromise, await secondPromise);

While async...await allows for synchronous style coding, it can slow down an async function if the promises within are independent of each other. This is evident in the waiting() function in the above code; firstValue will wait to be assigned its value and only then will the function move on to secondValue.

However, in the function concurrent(), both promises within the function are assigned values asynchronously, meaning they are probably running simultaneously. The concurrent() function itself comes and pauses at the console.log() line, where it awaits the variables firstPromise and secondPromise to have values.

//Another example with template literal
const serveDinner = async () => {
  let vegetablePromise = steamBroccoli();
  let starchPromise = cookRice();
  let proteinPromise = bakeChicken();
  let sidePromise = cookBeans();

  console.log(`Dinner is served. We're having ${await vegetablePromise}, ${await starchPromise}, ${await proteinPromise}, and ${await sidePromise}.`);


NOTE: If we have multiple truly independent promises that we would like to execute fully in parallel, we must use individual .then() functions and avoid halting our execution with await.

Await Promise.all()

Another way to take advantage of concurrency when we have multiple promises which can be executed simultaneously is to await a Promise.all().

Promise.all() allows us to take advantage of asynchronicity— each of the asynchronous task can process concurrently. There is also the benefit of failing fast, meaning it won’t wait for the rest of the asynchronous actions to complete once any one has rejected.

© Zain Khalid 2020