JavaScript private methods


To make a JavaScript class with a public method I'd do something like:

function Restaurant() {}

Restaurant.prototype.buy_food = function(){
   // something here
}

Restaurant.prototype.use_restroom = function(){
   // something here
}

That way users of my class can:

var restaurant = new Restaurant();
restaurant.buy_food();
restaurant.use_restroom();

How do I create a private method that can be called by the buy_food and use_restroom methods but not externally by users of the class?

In other words, I want my method implementation to be able to do:

Restaurant.prototype.use_restroom = function() {
   this.private_stuff();
}

But this shouldn't work:

var r = new Restaurant();
r.private_stuff();

How do I define private_stuff as a private method so both of these hold true?

I've read Doug Crockford's writeup a few times but it doesn't seem like "private" methods can be called by public methods and "privileged" methods can be called externally.

You can do it, but the downside is that it can't be part of the prototype:

function Restaurant() {
    var myPrivateVar;

    var private_stuff = function() {  // Only visible inside Restaurant()
        myPrivateVar = "I can set this here!";
    }

    this.use_restroom = function() {  // use_restroom is visible to all
        private_stuff();
    }

    this.buy_food = function() {   // buy_food is visible to all
        private_stuff();
    }
}

You can simulate private methods like this:

function Restaurant() {
}

Restaurant.prototype = (function() {
    var private_stuff = function() {
        // Private code here
    };

    return {

        constructor:Restaurant,

        use_restroom:function() {
            private_stuff();
        }

    };
})();

var r = new Restaurant();

// This will work:
r.use_restroom();

// This will cause an error:
r.private_stuff();

More information on this technique here: http://webreflection.blogspot.com/2008/04/natural-javascript-private-methods.html


Using self invoking function and call

JavaScript uses prototypes and does't have classes (or methods for that matter) like Object Oriented languages. A JavaScript developer need to think in JavaScript.

Wikipedia quote:

Unlike many object-oriented languages, there is no distinction between a function definition and a method definition. Rather, the distinction occurs during function calling; when a function is called as a method of an object, the function's local this keyword is bound to that object for that invocation.

Solution using a self invoking function and the call function to call the private "method" :

var MyObject = (function () {

    // Constructor
    function MyObject (foo) {
        this._foo = foo;
    }

    function privateFun (prefix) {
        return prefix + this._foo;
    }

    MyObject.prototype.publicFun = function () {
        return privateFun.call(this, '>>');
    }

    return MyObject;
})();


var myObject = new MyObject('bar');
myObject.publicFun();      // Returns '>>bar'
myObject.privateFun('>>'); // ReferenceError: private is not defined

The call function allows us to call the private function with the appropriate context (this).


Simpler with Node.js

If you are using node.js, you don't need the IIFE because you can take advantage of the module loading system:

function MyObject (foo) {
    this._foo = foo;
}

function privateFun (prefix) {
    return prefix + this._foo;
}

MyObject.prototype.publicFun = function () {
    return privateFun.call(this, '>>');
}

exports.MyObject = MyObject;

Load the file:

var MyObject = require('./MyObject').MyObject;

var myObject = new MyObject('bar');
myObject.publicFun();      // Returns '>>bar'
myObject.privateFun('>>'); // ReferenceError: private is not defined


(experimental) ES7 with the Bind Operator

The bind operator :: is an ECMAScript proposal and is implemented in Babel (stage 0).

export default class MyObject {
  constructor (foo) {
    this._foo = foo;
  }

  publicFun () {
    return this::privateFun('>>');
  }
}

function privateFun (prefix) {
  return prefix + this._foo;
}

Load the file:

import MyObject from './MyObject';

let myObject = new MyObject('bar');
myObject.publicFun();      // Returns '>>bar'
myObject.privateFun('>>'); // TypeError: myObject.privateFun is not a function

In these situations when you have a public API, and you would like private and public methods/properties, I always use the Module Pattern. This pattern was made popular within the YUI library, and the details can be found here:

http://yuiblog.com/blog/2007/06/12/module-pattern/

It is really straightforward, and easy for other developers to comprehend. For a simple example:

var MYLIB = function() {  
    var aPrivateProperty = true;
    var aPrivateMethod = function() {
        // some code here...
    };
    return {
        aPublicMethod : function() {
            aPrivateMethod(); // okay
            // some code here...
        },
        aPublicProperty : true
    };  
}();

MYLIB.aPrivateMethod() // not okay
MYLIB.aPublicMethod() // okay

Here is the class which I created to understand what Douglas Crockford's has suggested in his site Private Members in JavaScript

function Employee(id, name) { //Constructor
    //Public member variables
    this.id = id;
    this.name = name;
    //Private member variables
    var fName;
    var lName;
    var that = this;
    //By convention, we create a private variable 'that'. This is used to     
    //make the object available to the private methods. 

    //Private function
    function setFName(pfname) {
        fName = pfname;
        alert('setFName called');
    }
    //Privileged function
    this.setLName = function (plName, pfname) {
        lName = plName;  //Has access to private variables
        setFName(pfname); //Has access to private function
        alert('setLName called ' + this.id); //Has access to member variables
    }
    //Another privileged member has access to both member variables and private variables
    //Note access of this.dataOfBirth created by public member setDateOfBirth
    this.toString = function () {
        return 'toString called ' + this.id + ' ' + this.name + ' ' + fName + ' ' + lName + ' ' + this.dataOfBirth; 
    }
}
//Public function has access to member variable and can create on too but does not have access to private variable
Employee.prototype.setDateOfBirth = function (dob) {
    alert('setDateOfBirth called ' + this.id);
    this.dataOfBirth = dob;   //Creates new public member note this is accessed by toString
    //alert(fName); //Does not have access to private member
}
$(document).ready()
{
    var employee = new Employee(5, 'Shyam'); //Create a new object and initialize it with constructor
    employee.setLName('Bhaskar', 'Ram');  //Call privileged function
    employee.setDateOfBirth('1/1/2000');  //Call public function
    employee.id = 9;                     //Set up member value
    //employee.setFName('Ram');  //can not call Private Privileged method
    alert(employee.toString());  //See the changed object

}

I conjured up this: EDIT: Actually, someone has linked to a identical solution. Duh!

var Car = function() {
}

Car.prototype = (function() {
    var hotWire = function() {
        // Private code *with* access to public properties through 'this'
        alert( this.drive() ); // Alerts 'Vroom!'
    }

    return {
        steal: function() {
            hotWire.call( this ); // Call a private method
        },
        drive: function() {
            return 'Vroom!';
        }
    };
})();

var getAwayVechile = new Car();

hotWire(); // Not allowed
getAwayVechile.hotWire(); // Not allowed
getAwayVechile.steal(); // Alerts 'Vroom!'

I think such questions come up again and again because of the lack of understanding of the closures. ?losures is most important thing in JS. Every JS programmer have to feel the essence of it.

1. First of all we need to make separate scope (closure).

function () {

}

2. In this area, we can do whatever we want. And no one will know about it.

function () {
    var name,
        secretSkills = {
            pizza: function () { return new Pizza() },
            sushi: function () { return new Sushi() }
        }

    function Restaurant(_name) {
        name = _name
    }
    Restaurant.prototype.getFood = function (name) {
        return name in secretSkills ? secretSkills[name]() : null
    }
}

3. For the world to know about our restaurant class, we have to return it from the closure.

var Restaurant = (function () {
    // Restaurant definition
    return Restaurant
})()

4. At the end, we have:

var Restaurant = (function () {
    var name,
        secretSkills = {
            pizza: function () { return new Pizza() },
            sushi: function () { return new Sushi() }
        }

    function Restaurant(_name) {
        name = _name
    }
    Restaurant.prototype.getFood = function (name) {
        return name in secretSkills ? secretSkills[name]() : null
    }
    return Restaurant
})()

5. Also, this approach has potential for inheritance and templating

// Abstract class
function AbstractRestaurant(skills) {
    var name
    function Restaurant(_name) {
        name = _name
    }
    Restaurant.prototype.getFood = function (name) {
        return skills && name in skills ? skills[name]() : null
    }
    return Restaurant
}

// Concrete classes
SushiRestaurant = AbstractRestaurant({ 
    sushi: function() { return new Sushi() } 
})

PizzaRestaurant = AbstractRestaurant({ 
    pizza: function() { return new Pizza() } 
})

var r1 = new SushiRestaurant('Yo! Sushi'),
    r2 = new PizzaRestaurant('Dominos Pizza')

r1.getFood('sushi')
r2.getFood('pizza')

I hope this helps someone better understand this subject


Personally, I prefer the following pattern for creating classes in JavaScript :

var myClass = (function() {
    // Private class properties go here

    var blueprint = function() {
        // Private instance properties go here
        ...
    };

    blueprint.prototype = { 
        // Public class properties go here
        ...
    };

    return  {
         // Public class properties go here
        create : function() { return new blueprint(); }
        ...
    };
})();

As you can see, it allows you to define both class properties and instance properties, each of which can be public and private.


Demo

var Restaurant = function() {
    var totalfoodcount = 0;        // Private class property
    var totalrestroomcount  = 0;   // Private class property
    
    var Restaurant = function(name){
        var foodcount = 0;         // Private instance property
        var restroomcount  = 0;    // Private instance property
        
        this.name = name
        
        this.incrementFoodCount = function() {
            foodcount++;
            totalfoodcount++;
            this.printStatus();
        };
        this.incrementRestroomCount = function() {
            restroomcount++;
            totalrestroomcount++;
            this.printStatus();
        };
        this.getRestroomCount = function() {
            return restroomcount;
        },
        this.getFoodCount = function() {
            return foodcount;
        }
    };
   
    Restaurant.prototype = {
        name : '',
        buy_food : function(){
           this.incrementFoodCount();
        },
        use_restroom : function(){
           this.incrementRestroomCount();
        },
        getTotalRestroomCount : function() {
            return totalrestroomcount;
        },
        getTotalFoodCount : function() {
            return totalfoodcount;
        },
        printStatus : function() {
           document.body.innerHTML
               += '<h3>Buying food at '+this.name+'</h3>'
               + '<ul>' 
               + '<li>Restroom count at ' + this.name + ' : '+ this.getRestroomCount() + '</li>'
               + '<li>Food count at ' + this.name + ' : ' + this.getFoodCount() + '</li>'
               + '<li>Total restroom count : '+ this.getTotalRestroomCount() + '</li>'
               + '<li>Total food count : '+ this.getTotalFoodCount() + '</li>'
               + '</ul>';
        }
    };

    return  { // Singleton public properties
        create : function(name) {
            return new Restaurant(name);
        },
        printStatus : function() {
          document.body.innerHTML
              += '<hr />'
              + '<h3>Overview</h3>'
              + '<ul>' 
              + '<li>Total restroom count : '+ Restaurant.prototype.getTotalRestroomCount() + '</li>'
              + '<li>Total food count : '+ Restaurant.prototype.getTotalFoodCount() + '</li>'
              + '</ul>'
              + '<hr />';
        }
    };
}();

var Wendys = Restaurant.create("Wendy's");
var McDonalds = Restaurant.create("McDonald's");
var KFC = Restaurant.create("KFC");
var BurgerKing = Restaurant.create("Burger King");

Restaurant.printStatus();

Wendys.buy_food();
Wendys.use_restroom();
KFC.use_restroom();
KFC.use_restroom();
Wendys.use_restroom();
McDonalds.buy_food();
BurgerKing.buy_food();

Restaurant.printStatus();

BurgerKing.buy_food();
Wendys.use_restroom();
McDonalds.buy_food();
KFC.buy_food();
Wendys.buy_food();
BurgerKing.buy_food();
McDonalds.buy_food();

Restaurant.printStatus();

See also this Fiddle.


All of this closure will cost you. Make sure you test the speed implications especially in IE. You will find you are better off with a naming convention. There are still a lot of corporate web users out there that are forced to use IE6...


Don't be so verbose. It's Javascript. Use a Naming Convention.

After years of working in es6 classes, I recently started work on an es5 project (using requireJS which is already very verbose-looking). I've been over and over all the strategies mentioned here and it all basically boils down to use a naming convention:

  1. Javascript doesn't have scope keywords like private. Other developers entering Javascript will know this upfront. Therefore, a simple naming convention is more than sufficient. A simple naming convention of prefixing with an underscore solves the problem of both private properties and private methods.
  2. Let's take advantage of the Prototype for speed reasons, but lets not get anymore verbose than that. Let's try to keep the es5 "class" looking as closely to what we might expect in other backend languages (and treat every file as a class, even if we don't need to return an instance).
  3. Let's demonstrate with a more realistic module situation (we'll use old es5 and old requireJs).

my-tooltip.js

    define([
        'tooltip'
    ],
    function(
        tooltip
    ){

        function MyTooltip() {
            // Later, if needed, we can remove the underscore on some
            // of these (make public) and allow clients of our class
            // to set them.
            this._selector = "#my-tooltip"
            this._template = 'Hello from inside my tooltip!';
            this._initTooltip();
        }

        MyTooltip.prototype = {
            constructor: MyTooltip,

            _initTooltip: function () {
                new tooltip.tooltip(this._selector, {
                    content: this._template,
                    closeOnClick: true,
                    closeButton: true
                });
            }
        }

        return {
            init: function init() {
               new MyTooltip();  // <-- Our constructor adds our tooltip to the DOM so not much we need to do after instantiation.
            }

            // You could instead return a new instantiation, 
            // if later you do more with this class.
            /* 
            create: function create() {
               return new MyTooltip();
            }
            */
        }
    });

Take any of the solutions that follow Crockford's private or priviledged pattern. For example:

function Foo(x) {
    var y = 5;
    var bar = function() {
        return y * x;
    };

    this.public = function(z) {
        return bar() + x * z;
    };
}

In any case where the attacker has no "execute" right on the JS context he has no way of accessing any "public" or "private" fields or methods. In case the attacker does have that access he can execute this one-liner:

eval("Foo = " + Foo.toString().replace(
    /{/, "{ this.eval = function(code) { return eval(code); }; "
));

Note that the above code is generic to all constructor-type-privacy. It will fail with some of the solutions here but it should be clear that pretty much all of the closure based solutions can be broken like this with different replace() parameters.

After this is executed any object created with new Foo() is going to have an eval method which can be called to return or change values or methods defined in the constructor's closure, e.g.:

f = new Foo(99);
f.eval("x");
f.eval("y");
f.eval("x = 8");

The only problem I can see with this that it won't work for cases where there is only one instance and it's created on load. But then there is no reason to actually define a prototype and in that case the attacker can simply recreate the object instead of the constructor as long as he has a way of passing the same parameters (e.g. they are constant or calculated from available values).

In my opinion, this pretty much makes Crockford's solution useless. Since the "privacy" is easily broken the downsides of his solution (reduced readability & maintainability, decreased performance, increased memory) makes the "no privacy" prototype based method the better choice.

I do usually use leading underscores to mark __private and _protected methods and fields (Perl style), but the idea of having privacy in JavaScript just shows how it's a misunderstood language.

Therefore I disagree with Crockford except for his first sentence.

So how do you get real privacy in JS? Put everything that is required to be private on the server side and use JS to do AJAX calls.


The apotheosis of the Module Pattern: The Revealing Module Pattern

A neat little extension to a very robust pattern.


If you want the full range of public and private functions with the ability for public functions to access private functions, layout code for an object like this:

function MyObject(arg1, arg2, ...) {
  //constructor code using constructor arguments...
  //create/access public variables as 
  // this.var1 = foo;

  //private variables

  var v1;
  var v2;

  //private functions
  function privateOne() {
  }

  function privateTwon() {
  }

  //public functions

  MyObject.prototype.publicOne = function () {
  };

  MyObject.prototype.publicTwo = function () {
  };
}

Here's what i enjoyed the most so far regarding private/public methods/members and instantiation in javascript:

here is the article: http://www.sefol.com/?p=1090

and here is the example:

var Person = (function () {

    //Immediately returns an anonymous function which builds our modules 
    return function (name, location) {

        alert("createPerson called with " + name);

        var localPrivateVar = name;

        var localPublicVar = "A public variable";

        var localPublicFunction = function () {
            alert("PUBLIC Func called, private var is :" + localPrivateVar)
        };

        var localPrivateFunction = function () {
            alert("PRIVATE Func called ")
        };

        var setName = function (name) {

            localPrivateVar = name;

        }

        return {

            publicVar: localPublicVar,

            location: location,

            publicFunction: localPublicFunction,

            setName: setName

        }

    }
})();


//Request a Person instance - should print "createPerson called with ben"
var x = Person("ben", "germany");

//Request a Person instance - should print "createPerson called with candide"
var y = Person("candide", "belgium");

//Prints "ben"
x.publicFunction();

//Prints "candide"
y.publicFunction();

//Now call a public function which sets the value of a private variable in the x instance
x.setName("Ben 2");

//Shouldn't have changed this : prints "candide"
y.publicFunction();

//Should have changed this : prints "Ben 2"
x.publicFunction();

JSFiddle: http://jsfiddle.net/northkildonan/kopj3dt3/1/


The module pattern is right in most cases. But if you have thousands of instances, classes save memory. If saving memory is a concern and your objects contain a small amount of private data, but have a lot of public functions, then you'll want all public functions to live in the .prototype to save memory.

This is what I came up with:

var MyClass = (function () {
    var secret = {}; // You can only getPriv() if you know this
    function MyClass() {
        var that = this, priv = {
            foo: 0 // ... and other private values
        };
        that.getPriv = function (proof) {
            return (proof === secret) && priv;
        };
    }
    MyClass.prototype.inc = function () {
        var priv = this.getPriv(secret);
        priv.foo += 1;
        return priv.foo;
    };
    return MyClass;
}());
var x = new MyClass();
x.inc(); // 1
x.inc(); // 2

The object priv contains private properties. It is accessible through the public function getPriv(), but this function returns false unless you pass it the secret, and this is only known inside the main closure.


What about this?

var Restaurant = (function() {

 var _id = 0;
 var privateVars = [];

 function Restaurant(name) {
     this.id = ++_id;
     this.name = name;
     privateVars[this.id] = {
         cooked: []
     };
 }

 Restaurant.prototype.cook = function (food) {
     privateVars[this.id].cooked.push(food);
 }

 return Restaurant;

})();

Private variable lookup is impossible outside of the scope of the immediate function. There is no duplication of functions, saving memory.

The downside is that the lookup of private variables is clunky privateVars[this.id].cooked is ridiculous to type. There is also an extra "id" variable.


Wrap all code in Anonymous Function: Then , all functions will be private ,ONLY functions attached to window object :

(function(w,nameSpacePrivate){
     w.Person=function(name){
         this.name=name;   
         return this;
     };

     w.Person.prototype.profilePublic=function(){
          return nameSpacePrivate.profile.call(this);
     };  

     nameSpacePrivate.profile=function(){
       return 'My name is '+this.name;
     };

})(window,{});

Use this :

  var abdennour=new Person('Abdennour');
  abdennour.profilePublic();

FIDDLE


You can do this now with es10 private methods. You just need to add a # before the method name.

class ClassWithPrivateMethod {
  #privateMethod() {
    return 'hello world';
  }

  getPrivateMessage() {
    return #privateMethod();
  }
}

var TestClass = function( ) {

    var privateProperty = 42;

    function privateMethod( ) {
        alert( "privateMethod, " + privateProperty );
    }

    this.public = {
        constructor: TestClass,

        publicProperty: 88,
        publicMethod: function( ) {
            alert( "publicMethod" );
            privateMethod( );
        }
    };
};
TestClass.prototype = new TestClass( ).public;


var myTestClass = new TestClass( );

alert( myTestClass.publicProperty );
myTestClass.publicMethod( );

alert( myTestClass.privateMethod || "no privateMethod" );

Similar to georgebrock but a little less verbose (IMHO) Any problems with doing it this way? (I haven't seen it anywhere)

edit: I realised this is kinda useless since every independent instantiation has its own copy of the public methods, thus undermining the use of the prototype.


Private functions cannot access the public variables using module pattern


Since everybody was posting here his own code, I'm gonna do that too...

I like Crockford because he introduced real object oriented patterns in Javascript. But he also came up with a new misunderstanding, the "that" one.

So why is he using "that = this"? It has nothing to do with private functions at all. It has to do with inner functions!

Because according to Crockford this is buggy code:

Function Foo( ) {
    this.bar = 0; 
    var foobar=function( ) {
        alert(this.bar);
    }
} 

So he suggested doing this:

Function Foo( ) {
    this.bar = 0;
    that = this; 
    var foobar=function( ) {
        alert(that.bar);
    }
}

So as I said, I'm quite sure that Crockford was wrong his explanation about that and this (but his code is certainly correct). Or was he just fooling the Javascript world, to know who is copying his code? I dunno...I'm no browser geek ;D

EDIT

Ah, that's what is all about: What does 'var that = this;' mean in JavaScript?

So Crockie was really wrong with his explanation....but right with his code, so he's still a great guy. :))


In general I added the private Object _ temporarily to the object. You have to open the privacy exlipcitly in the "Power-constructor" for the method. If you call the method from the prototype, you will be able to overwrite the prototype-method

  • Make a public method accessible in the "Power-constructor": (ctx is the object context)

    ctx.test = GD.Fabric.open('test', GD.Test.prototype, ctx, _); // is a private object
    
  • Now I have this openPrivacy:

    GD.Fabric.openPrivacy = function(func, clss, ctx, _) {
        return function() {
            ctx._ = _;
            var res = clss[func].apply(ctx, arguments);
            ctx._ = null;
            return res;
        };
    };
    

This is what I worked out:

Needs one class of sugar code that you can find here. Also supports protected, inheritance, virtual, static stuff...

;( function class_Restaurant( namespace )
{
    'use strict';

    if( namespace[ "Restaurant" ] ) return    // protect against double inclusions

        namespace.Restaurant = Restaurant
    var Static               = TidBits.OoJs.setupClass( namespace, "Restaurant" )


    // constructor
    //
    function Restaurant()
    {
        this.toilets = 3

        this.Private( private_stuff )

        return this.Public( buy_food, use_restroom )
    }

    function private_stuff(){ console.log( "There are", this.toilets, "toilets available") }

    function buy_food     (){ return "food"        }
    function use_restroom (){ this.private_stuff() }

})( window )


var chinese = new Restaurant

console.log( chinese.buy_food()      );  // output: food
console.log( chinese.use_restroom()  );  // output: There are 3 toilets available
console.log( chinese.toilets         );  // output: undefined
console.log( chinese.private_stuff() );  // output: undefined

// and throws: TypeError: Object #<Restaurant> has no method 'private_stuff'

Class({  
    Namespace:ABC,  
    Name:"ClassL2",  
    Bases:[ABC.ClassTop],  
    Private:{  
        m_var:2  
    },  
    Protected:{  
        proval:2,  
        fight:Property(function(){  
            this.m_var--;  
            console.log("ClassL2::fight (m_var)" +this.m_var);  
        },[Property.Type.Virtual])  
    },  
    Public:{  
        Fight:function(){  
            console.log("ClassL2::Fight (m_var)"+this.m_var);  
            this.fight();  
        }  
    }  
});  

https://github.com/nooning/JSClass


I have created a new tool to allow you to have true private methods on the prototype https://github.com/TremayneChrist/ProtectJS

Example:

var MyObject = (function () {

  // Create the object
  function MyObject() {}

  // Add methods to the prototype
  MyObject.prototype = {

    // This is our public method
    public: function () {
      console.log('PUBLIC method has been called');
    },

    // This is our private method, using (_)
    _private: function () {
      console.log('PRIVATE method has been called');
    }
  }

  return protect(MyObject);

})();

// Create an instance of the object
var mo = new MyObject();

// Call its methods
mo.public(); // Pass
mo._private(); // Fail

You have to put a closure around your actual constructor-function, where you can define your private methods. To change data of the instances through these private methods, you have to give them "this" with them, either as an function argument or by calling this function with .apply(this) :

var Restaurant = (function(){
    var private_buy_food = function(that){
        that.data.soldFood = true;
    }
    var private_take_a_shit = function(){
        this.data.isdirty = true;   
    }
    // New Closure
    function restaurant()
    {
        this.data = {
            isdirty : false,
            soldFood: false,
        };
    }

    restaurant.prototype.buy_food = function()
    {
       private_buy_food(this);
    }
    restaurant.prototype.use_restroom = function()
    {
       private_take_a_shit.call(this);
    }
    return restaurant;
})()

// TEST:

var McDonalds = new Restaurant();
McDonalds.buy_food();
McDonalds.use_restroom();
console.log(McDonalds);
console.log(McDonalds.__proto__);

I know it's a bit too late but how about this?

var obj = function(){
    var pr = "private";
    var prt = Object.getPrototypeOf(this);
    if(!prt.hasOwnProperty("showPrivate")){
        prt.showPrivate = function(){
            console.log(pr);
        }
    }    
}

var i = new obj();
i.showPrivate();
console.log(i.hasOwnProperty("pr"));

There are many answers on this question already, but nothing fitted my needs. So i came up with my own solution, I hope it is usefull for someone:

function calledPrivate(){
    var stack = new Error().stack.toString().split("\n");
    function getClass(line){
        var i = line.indexOf(" ");
        var i2 = line.indexOf(".");
        return line.substring(i,i2);
    }
    return getClass(stack[2])==getClass(stack[3]);
}

class Obj{
    privateMethode(){
        if(calledPrivate()){
            console.log("your code goes here");
        }
    }
    publicMethode(){
        this.privateMethode();
    }
}

var obj = new Obj();
obj.publicMethode(); //logs "your code goes here"
obj.privateMethode(); //does nothing

As you can see this system works when using this type of classes in javascript. As far as I figured out none of the methods commented above did.


See this answer for a a clean & simple 'class' solution with a private and public interface and support for composition


I prefer to store private data in an associated WeakMap. This allows you to keep your public methods on the prototype where they belong. This seems to be the most efficient way to handle this problem for large numbers of objects.

const data = new WeakMap();

function Foo(value) {
    data.set(this, {value});
}

// public method accessing private value
Foo.prototype.accessValue = function() {
    return data.get(this).value;
}

// private 'method' accessing private value
function accessValue(foo) {
    return data.get(foo).value;
}

export {Foo};

It is only necessary to store the value of this into another variable that if you for some reason want to keep the value that this had when calling the outer method.

The error you get (Uncaught TypeError: Cannot call method 'join' of undefined.) means that the property names was not found on the this object and that the value is therefore undefined and consequently cannot have a names property.

The value of this in JavaScript is a little complicated to know. If you invoke a function f as a method, that is if you write o.f() then this is bound to o inside the function f. If you call f as a function, that is f() then this is bound to the global (window) object (!).

Therefore, if you change the last line disp(); to this.disp();, then this will be what you expect inside disp.

The code is indeed wrong...


this refers to the owner of a function (window object, HTML element...) so in a private function you won't be able to access the object you're working on. so you store the object in that variable, so you can access it from any private method in the class.


Your first example has another error in that you're not defining this.names, but the answer to your question is basically 'yes' - inside the disp function body the 'this' variable is assigned to the global scope, so you need to create the 'that' variable.