Private properties in JavaScript ES6 classes


Is it possible to create private properties in ES6 classes?

Here's an example. How can I prevent access to instance.property?

class Something {
  constructor(){
    this.property = "test";
  }
}

var instance = new Something();
console.log(instance.property); //=> "test"

Private fields (and methods) are being implemented in the ECMA standard. You can start using them today with babel 7 and stage 3 preset.

class Something {
  #property;

  constructor(){
    this.#property = "test";
  }

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

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

const instance = new Something();
console.log(instance.property); //=> undefined
console.log(instance.privateMethod); //=> undefined
console.log(instance.getPrivateMessage()); //=> hello world

Short answer, no, there is no native support for private properties with ES6 classes.

But you could mimic that behaviour by not attaching the new properties to the object, but keeping them inside a class constructor, and use getters and setters to reach the hidden properties. Note that the getters and setters gets redefine on each new instance of the class.

ES6

class Person {
    constructor(name) {
        var _name = name
        this.setName = function(name) { _name = name; }
        this.getName = function() { return _name; }
    }
}

ES5

function Person(name) {
    var _name = name
    this.setName = function(name) { _name = name; }
    this.getName = function() { return _name; }
}

To expand on @loganfsmyth's answer:

The only truly private data in JavaScript is still scoped variables. You can't have private properties in the sense of properties accessed internally the same way as public properties, but you can use scoped variables to store private data.

Scoped variables

The approach here is to use the scope of the constructor function, which is private, to store private data. For methods to have access to this private data they must be created within the constructor as well, meaning you're recreating them with every instance. This is a performance and memory penalty, but some believe the penalty is acceptable. The penalty can be avoided for methods that do not need access to private data by adding them to the prototype as usual.

Example:

function Person(name) {
  let age = 20; // this is private
  this.name = name; // this is public

  this.greet = function () {
    // here we can access both name and age
    console.log(`name: ${this.name}, age: ${age}`);
  };
}

let joe = new Person('Joe');
joe.greet();

// here we can access name but not age

Scoped WeakMap

A WeakMap can be used to avoid the previous approach's performance and memory penalty. WeakMaps associate data with Objects (here, instances) in such a way that it can only be accessed using that WeakMap. So, we use the scoped variables method to create a private WeakMap, then use that WeakMap to retrieve private data associated with this. This is faster than the scoped variables method because all your instances can share a single WeakMap, so you don't need to recreate methods just to make them access their own WeakMaps.

Example:

let Person = (function () {
  let privateProps = new WeakMap();

  class Person {
    constructor(name) {
      this.name = name; // this is public
      privateProps.set(this, {age: 20}); // this is private
    }

    greet() {
      // Here we can access both name and age
      console.log(`name: ${this.name}, age: ${privateProps.get(this).age}`);
    }
  }

  return Person;
})();

let joe = new Person('Joe');
joe.greet();

// here we can access joe's name but not age

This example uses an Object to use one WeakMap for multiple private properties; you could also use multiple WeakMaps and use them like age.set(this, 20), or write a small wrapper and use it another way, like privateProps.set(this, 'age', 0).

The privacy of this approach could theoretically be breached by tampering with the global WeakMap object. That said, all JavaScript can be broken by mangled globals. Our code is already built on the assumption that this isn't happening.

(This method could also be done with Map, but WeakMap is better because Map will create memory leaks unless you're very careful, and for this purpose the two aren't otherwise different.)

Half-Answer: Scoped Symbols

A Symbol is a type of primitive value that can serve as a property name. You can use the scoped variable method to create a private Symbol, then store private data at this[mySymbol].

The privacy of this method can be breached using Object.getOwnPropertySymbols, but is somewhat awkward to do.

Example:

let Person = (function () {
  let ageKey = Symbol();

  class Person {
    constructor(name) {
      this.name = name; // this is public
      this[ageKey] = 20; // this is intended to be private
    }

    greet() {
      // Here we can access both name and age
      console.log(`name: ${this.name}, age: ${this[ageKey]}`);
    }
  }

  return Person;
})();

let joe = new Person('Joe');
joe.greet();

// Here we can access joe's name and, with a little effort, age. ageKey is
// not in scope, but we can obtain it by listing all Symbol properties on
// joe with `Object.getOwnPropertySymbols(joe)`.

Half-Answer: Underscores

The old default, just use a public property with an underscore prefix. Though not a private property in any way, this convention is prevalent enough that it does a good job communicating that readers should treat the property as private, which often gets the job done. In exchange for this lapse, we get an approach that's easier to read, easier to type, and faster.

Example:

class Person {
  constructor(name) {
    this.name = name; // this is public
    this._age = 20; // this is intended to be private
  }

  greet() {
    // Here we can access both name and age
    console.log(`name: ${this.name}, age: ${this._age}`);
  }
}

let joe = new Person('Joe');
joe.greet();

// Here we can access both joe's name and age. But we know we aren't
// supposed to access his age, which just might stop us.

Conclusion

As of ES2017, there's still no perfect way to do private properties. Various approaches have pros and cons. Scoped variables are truly private; scoped WeakMaps are very private and more practical than scoped variables; scoped Symbols are reasonably private and reasonably practical; underscores are often private enough and very practical.


Update: A proposal with nicer syntax is on its way. Contributions are welcome.


Yes, there is - for scoped access in objects - ES6 introduces Symbols.

Symbols are unique, you can't gain access to one from the outside except with reflection (like privates in Java/C#) but anyone who has access to a symbol on the inside can use it for key access:

var property = Symbol();
class Something {
    constructor(){
        this[property] = "test";
    }
}

var instance = new Something();

console.log(instance.property); //=> undefined, can only access with access to the Symbol

The answer is "No". But you can create private access to properties like this:

(The suggestion that Symbols could be used to ensure privacy was true in an earlier version of the ES6 spec but is no longer the case:https://mail.mozilla.org/pipermail/es-discuss/2014-January/035604.html and https://stackoverflow.com/a/22280202/1282216. For a longer discussion about Symbols and privacy see: https://curiosity-driven.org/private-properties-in-javascript)


The only way to get true privacy in JS is through scoping, so there is no way to have a property that is a member of this that will be accessible only inside the component. The best way to store truly private data in ES6 is with a WeakMap.

const privateProp1 = new WeakMap();
const privateProp2 = new WeakMap();

class SomeClass {
  constructor() {
    privateProp1.set(this, "I am Private1");
    privateProp2.set(this, "I am Private2");

    this.publicVar = "I am public";
    this.publicMethod = () => {
      console.log(privateProp1.get(this), privateProp2.get(this))
    };        
  }

  printPrivate() {
    console.log(privateProp1.get(this));
  }
}

Obviously this is a probably slow, and definitely ugly, but it does provide privacy.

Keep in mind that EVEN THIS isn't perfect, because Javascript is so dynamic. Someone could still do

var oldSet = WeakMap.prototype.set;
WeakMap.prototype.set = function(key, value){
    // Store 'this', 'key', and 'value'
    return oldSet.call(this, key, value);
};

to catch values as they are stored, so if you wanted to be extra careful, you'd need to capture a local reference to .set and .get to use explicitly instead of relying on the overridable prototype.

const {set: WMSet, get: WMGet} = WeakMap.prototype;

const privateProp1 = new WeakMap();
const privateProp2 = new WeakMap();

class SomeClass {
  constructor() {
    WMSet.call(privateProp1, this, "I am Private1");
    WMSet.call(privateProp2, this, "I am Private2");

    this.publicVar = "I am public";
    this.publicMethod = () => {
      console.log(WMGet.call(privateProp1, this), WMGet.call(privateProp2, this))
    };        
  }

  printPrivate() {
    console.log(WMGet.call(privateProp1, this));
  }
}

For future reference of other on lookers, I'm hearing now that the recommendation is to use WeakMaps to hold private data.

Here is a more clear, working example:

function storePrivateProperties(a, b, c, d) {
  let privateData = new WeakMap;
  // unique object as key, weak map can only accept object as key, when key is no longer referened, garbage collector claims the key-value 
  let keyA = {}, keyB = {}, keyC = {}, keyD = {};

  privateData.set(keyA, a);
  privateData.set(keyB, b);
  privateData.set(keyC, c);
  privateData.set(keyD, d);

  return {
    logPrivateKey(key) {
      switch(key) {
      case "a":
        console.log(privateData.get(keyA));
        break;
      case "b":
        console.log(privateData.get(keyB));
        break;
      case "c":
        console.log(privateData.get(keyC));
        break;
      case "d":
        console.log(privateData.set(keyD));
        break;
      default:
        console.log(`There is no value for ${key}`)
      }
    }
  }
}

Depends on whom you ask :-)

No private property modifier is included in the Maximally minimal classes proposal which seems to have made it into the current draft.

However, there might be support for private names, which does allow private properties - and they probably could be used in class definitions as well.


Using ES6 modules (initially proposed by @d13) works well for me. It doesn't mimic private properties perfectly, but at least you can be confident that properties that should be private won't leak outside of your class. Here's an example:

something.js

let _message = null;
const _greet = name => {
  console.log('Hello ' + name);
};

export default class Something {
  constructor(message) {
    _message = message;
  }

  say() {
    console.log(_message);
    _greet('Bob');
  }
};

Then the consuming code can look like this:

import Something from './something.js';

const something = new Something('Sunny day!');
something.say();
something._message; // undefined
something._greet(); // exception

Update (Important):

As @DanyalAytekin outlined in the comments, these private properties are static, so therefore global in scope. They will work well when working with Singletons, but care must be taken for Transient objects. Extending the example above:

import Something from './something.js';
import Something2 from './something.js';

const a = new Something('a');
a.say(); // a

const b = new Something('b');
b.say(); // b

const c = new Something2('c');
c.say(); // c

a.say(); // c
b.say(); // c
c.say(); // c

Completing @d13 and the comments by @johnny-oshika and @DanyalAytekin:

I guess in the example provided by @johnny-oshika we could use normal functions instead of arrow functions and then .bind them with the current object plus a _privates object as a curried parameter:

something.js

function _greet(_privates) {
  return 'Hello ' + _privates.message;
}

function _updateMessage(_privates, newMessage) {
  _privates.message = newMessage;
}

export default class Something {
  constructor(message) {
    const _privates = {
      message
    };

    this.say = _greet.bind(this, _privates);
    this.updateMessage = _updateMessage.bind(this, _privates);
  }
}

main.js

import Something from './something.js';

const something = new Something('Sunny day!');

const message1 = something.say();
something.updateMessage('Cloudy day!');
const message2 = something.say();

console.log(message1 === 'Hello Sunny day!');  // true
console.log(message2 === 'Hello Cloudy day!');  // true

// the followings are not public
console.log(something._greet === undefined);  // true
console.log(something._privates === undefined);  // true
console.log(something._updateMessage === undefined);  // true

// another instance which doesn't share the _privates
const something2 = new Something('another Sunny day!');

const message3 = something2.say();

console.log(message3 === 'Hello another Sunny day!'); // true

Benefits I can think of:

  • we can have private methods (_greet and _updateMessage act like private methods as long as we don't export the references)
  • although they're not on the prototype, the above mentioned methods will save memory because the instances are created once, outside the class (as opposed to defining them in the constructor)
  • we don't leak any globals since we're inside a module
  • we can also have private properties using the binded _privates object

Some drawbacks I can think of:

A running snippet can be found here: http://www.webpackbin.com/NJgI5J8lZ


Yes - you can create encapsulated property, but it's not been done with access modifiers (public|private) at least not with ES6.

Here is a simple example how it can be done with ES6:

1 Create class using class word

2 Inside it's constructor declare block-scoped variable using let OR const reserved words -> since they are block-scope they cannot be accessed from outside (encapsulated)

3 To allow some access control (setters|getters) to those variables you can declare instance method inside it's constructor using: this.methodName=function(){} syntax

"use strict";
    class Something{
        constructor(){
            //private property
            let property="test";
            //private final (immutable) property
            const property2="test2";
            //public getter
            this.getProperty2=function(){
                return property2;
            }
            //public getter
            this.getProperty=function(){
                return property;
            }
            //public setter
            this.setProperty=function(prop){
                property=prop;
            }
        }
    }

Now lets check it:

var s=new Something();
    console.log(typeof s.property);//undefined 
    s.setProperty("another");//set to encapsulated `property`
    console.log(s.getProperty());//get encapsulated `property` value
    console.log(s.getProperty2());//get encapsulated immutable `property2` value

A different approach to "private"

Instead of fighting against the fact that private visibility is currently unavailable in ES6, I decided to take a more practical approach that does just fine if your IDE supports JSDoc (e.g., Webstorm). The idea is to use the @private tag. As far as development goes, the IDE will prevent you from accessing any private member from outside its class. Works pretty well for me and it's been really useful for hiding internal methods so the auto-complete feature shows me just what the class really meant to expose. Here's an example:

auto-complete showing just public stuff


WeakMap

  • supported in IE11 (Symbols are not)
  • hard-private (props using Symbols are soft-private due to Object.getOwnPropertySymbols)
  • can look really clean (unlike closures which require all props and methods in the constructor)

First, define a function to wrap WeakMap:

function Private() {
  const map = new WeakMap();
  return obj => {
    let props = map.get(obj);
    if (!props) {
      props = {};
      map.set(obj, props);
    }
    return props;
  };
}

Then, construct a reference outside your class:

const p = new Private();

class Person {
  constructor(name, age) {
    this.name = name;
    p(this).age = age; // it's easy to set a private variable
  }

  getAge() {
    return p(this).age; // and get a private variable
  }
}

Note: class isn't supported by IE11, but it looks cleaner in the example.


I believe it is possible to get 'best of both worlds' using closures inside constructors. There are two variations:

All data members are private

function myFunc() {
   console.log('Value of x: ' + this.x);
   this.myPrivateFunc();
}

function myPrivateFunc() {
   console.log('Enhanced value of x: ' + (this.x + 1));
}

class Test {
   constructor() {

      let internal = {
         x : 2,
      };
      
      internal.myPrivateFunc = myPrivateFunc.bind(internal);
      
      this.myFunc = myFunc.bind(internal);
   }
};

Some members are private

NOTE: This is admittedly ugly. If you know a better solution, please edit this response.

function myFunc(priv, pub) {
   pub.y = 3; // The Test object now gets a member 'y' with value 3.
   console.log('Value of x: ' + priv.x);
   this.myPrivateFunc();
}

function myPrivateFunc() {
   pub.z = 5; // The Test object now gets a member 'z' with value 3.
   console.log('Enhanced value of x: ' + (priv.x + 1));
}

class Test {
   constructor() {
      
      let self = this;

      let internal = {
         x : 2,
      };
      
      internal.myPrivateFunc = myPrivateFunc.bind(null, internal, self);
      
      this.myFunc = myFunc.bind(null, internal, self);
   }
};


In fact it is possible using Symbols and Proxies. You use the symbols in the class scope and set two traps in a proxy: one for the class prototype so that the Reflect.ownKeys(instance) or Object.getOwnPropertySymbols doesn't give your symbols away, the other one is for the constructor itself so when new ClassName(attrs) is called, the instance returned will be intercepted and have the own properties symbols blocked. Here's the code:

const Human = (function() {
  const pet = Symbol();
  const greet = Symbol();

  const Human = privatizeSymbolsInFn(function(name) {
    this.name = name; // public
    this[pet] = 'dog'; // private 
  });

  Human.prototype = privatizeSymbolsInObj({
    [greet]() { // private
      return 'Hi there!';
    },
    revealSecrets() {
      console.log(this[greet]() + ` The pet is a ${this[pet]}`);
    }
  });

  return Human;
})();

const bob = new Human('Bob');

console.assert(bob instanceof Human);
console.assert(Reflect.ownKeys(bob).length === 1) // only ['name']
console.assert(Reflect.ownKeys(Human.prototype).length === 1 ) // only ['revealSecrets']


// Setting up the traps inside proxies:
function privatizeSymbolsInObj(target) { 
  return new Proxy(target, { ownKeys: Object.getOwnPropertyNames });
}

function privatizeSymbolsInFn(Class) {
  function construct(TargetClass, argsList) {
    const instance = new TargetClass(...argsList);
    return privatizeSymbolsInObj(instance);
  }
  return new Proxy(Class, { construct });
}

Reflect.ownKeys() works like so: Object.getOwnPropertyNames(myObj).concat(Object.getOwnPropertySymbols(myObj)) that's why we need a trap for these objects.


Personally I like the proposal of the bind operator :: and would then combine it with the solution @d13 mentioned but for now stick with @d13 's answer where you use the export keyword for your class and put the private functions in the module.

there is one more solution tough which hasn't been mentioned here that follows are more functional approach and would allow it to have all the private props/methods within the class.

Private.js

export const get = state => key => state[key];
export const set = state => (key,value) => { state[key] = value; }

Test.js

import { get, set } from './utils/Private'
export default class Test {
  constructor(initialState = {}) {
    const _set = this.set = set(initialState);
    const _get = this.get = get(initialState);

    this.set('privateMethod', () => _get('propValue'));
  }

  showProp() {
    return this.get('privateMethod')();
  }
}

let one = new Test({ propValue: 5});
let two = new Test({ propValue: 8});
two.showProp(); // 8
one.showProp(); // 5

comments on it would be appreciated.


I think Benjamin's answer is probably the best for most cases until the language natively supports explicitly private variables.

However, if for some reason you need to prevent access with Object.getOwnPropertySymbols(), a method I've considered using is attaching a unique, non-configurable, non-enumerable, non-writable property that can be used as a property identifier to each object on construction (such as a unique Symbol, if you don't already have some other unique property like an id). Then just keep a map of each object's 'private' variables using that identifier.

const privateVars = {};

class Something {
    constructor(){
        Object.defineProperty(this, '_sym', {
            configurable: false,
            enumerable: false,
            writable: false,
            value: Symbol()
        });

        var myPrivateVars = {
            privateProperty: "I'm hidden"
        };

        privateVars[this._sym] = myPrivateVars;

        this.property = "I'm public";
    }

    getPrivateProperty() {
        return privateVars[this._sym].privateProperty;
    }

    // A clean up method of some kind is necessary since the
    // variables won't be cleaned up from memory automatically
    // when the object is garbage collected
    destroy() {
        delete privateVars[this._sym];
    }
}

var instance = new Something();
console.log(instance.property); //=> "I'm public"
console.log(instance.privateProperty); //=> undefined
console.log(instance.getPrivateProperty()); //=> "I'm hidden"

The potential advantage of this approach over using a WeakMap is faster access time if performance becomes a concern.


I came across this post when looking for the best practice for "private data for classes". It was mentioned that a few of the patterns would have performance issues.

I put together a few jsperf tests based on the 4 main patterns from the online book "Exploring ES6":

http://exploringjs.com/es6/ch_classes.html#sec_private-data-for-classes

The tests can be found here:

https://jsperf.com/private-data-for-classes

In Chrome 63.0.3239 / Mac OS X 10.11.6, the best performing patterns were "Private data via constructor environments" and "Private data via a naming convention". For me Safari performed well for WeakMap but Chrome not so well.

I don't know the memory impact, but the pattern for "constructor environments" which some had warned would be a performance issue was very performant.

The 4 basic patterns are:

Private data via constructor environments

class Countdown {
    constructor(counter, action) {
        Object.assign(this, {
            dec() {
                if (counter < 1) return;
                counter--;
                if (counter === 0) {
                    action();
                }
            }
        });
    }
}
const c = new Countdown(2, () => {});
c.dec();
c.dec();

Private data via constructor environments 2

class Countdown {
    constructor(counter, action) {
        this.dec = function dec() {
            if (counter < 1) return;
            counter--;
            if (counter === 0) {
                action();
            }
        }
    }
}
const c = new Countdown(2, () => {});
c.dec();
c.dec();

Private data via a naming convention

class Countdown {
    constructor(counter, action) {
        this._counter = counter;
        this._action = action;
    }
    dec() {
        if (this._counter < 1) return;
        this._counter--;
        if (this._counter === 0) {
            this._action();
        }
    }
}
const c = new Countdown(2, () => {});
c.dec();
c.dec();

Private data via WeakMaps

const _counter = new WeakMap();
const _action = new WeakMap();
class Countdown {
    constructor(counter, action) {
        _counter.set(this, counter);
        _action.set(this, action);
    }
    dec() {
        let counter = _counter.get(this);
        if (counter < 1) return;
        counter--;
        _counter.set(this, counter);
        if (counter === 0) {
            _action.get(this)();
        }
    }
}
const c = new Countdown(2, () => {});
c.dec();
c.dec();

Private data via symbols

const _counter = Symbol('counter');
const _action = Symbol('action');

class Countdown {
    constructor(counter, action) {
        this[_counter] = counter;
        this[_action] = action;
    }
    dec() {
        if (this[_counter] < 1) return;
        this[_counter]--;
        if (this[_counter] === 0) {
            this[_action]();
        }
    }
}
const c = new Countdown(2, () => {});
c.dec();
c.dec();

Oh, so many exotic solutions! I usually don't care about privacy so I use "pseudo privacy" as it's said here. But if do care (if there are some special requirements for that) I use something like in this example:

class jobImpl{
  // public
  constructor(name){
    this.name = name;
  }
  // public
  do(time){
    console.log(`${this.name} started at ${time}`);
    this.prepare();
    this.execute();
  }
  //public
  stop(time){
    this.finish();
    console.log(`${this.name} finished at ${time}`);
  }
  // private
  prepare(){ console.log('prepare..'); }
  // private
  execute(){ console.log('execute..'); }
  // private
  finish(){ console.log('finish..'); }
}

function Job(name){
  var impl = new jobImpl(name);
  return {
    do: time => impl.do(time),
    stop: time => impl.stop(time)
  };
}

// Test:
// create class "Job"
var j = new Job("Digging a ditch");
// call public members..
j.do("08:00am");
j.stop("06:00pm");

// try to call private members or fields..
console.log(j.name); // undefined
j.execute(); // error

Another possible implementation of function (constructor) Job:

function Job(name){
  var impl = new jobImpl(name);
  this.do = time => impl.do(time),
  this.stop = time => impl.stop(time)
}

class Something {
  constructor(){
    var _property = "test";
    Object.defineProperty(this, "property", {
        get: function(){ return _property}
    });
  }
}

var instance = new Something();
console.log(instance.property); //=> "test"
instance.property = "can read from outside, but can't write";
console.log(instance.property); //=> "test"

Even Typescript can't do it. From their documentation:

When a member is marked private, it cannot be accessed from outside of its containing class. For example:

class Animal {
    private name: string;
    constructor(theName: string) { this.name = theName; }
}

new Animal("Cat").name; // Error: 'name' is private;

But transpiled on their playground this gives:

var Animal = (function () {
    function Animal(theName) {
        this.name = theName;
    }
    return Animal;
}());
console.log(new Animal("Cat").name);

So their "private" keyword is ineffective.


Coming very late to this party but I hit the OP question in a search so... Yes, you can have private properties by wrapping the class declaration in a closure

There is an example of how I have private methods in this codepen. In the snippet below, the Subscribable class has two 'private' functions process and processCallbacks. Any properties can be added in this manner and they are kept private through the use of the closure. IMO Privacy is a rare need if concerns are well separated and Javascript does not need to become bloated by adding more syntax when a closure neatly does the job.

const Subscribable = (function(){

  const process = (self, eventName, args) => {
    self.processing.set(eventName, setTimeout(() => processCallbacks(self, eventName, args)))};

  const processCallbacks = (self, eventName, args) => {
    if (self.callingBack.get(eventName).length > 0){
      const [nextCallback, ...callingBack] = self.callingBack.get(eventName);
      self.callingBack.set(eventName, callingBack);
      process(self, eventName, args);
      nextCallback(...args)}
    else {
      delete self.processing.delete(eventName)}};

  return class {
    constructor(){
      this.callingBack = new Map();
      this.processing = new Map();
      this.toCallbacks = new Map()}

    subscribe(eventName, callback){
      const callbacks = this.unsubscribe(eventName, callback);
      this.toCallbacks.set(eventName,  [...callbacks, callback]);
      return () => this.unsubscribe(eventName, callback)}  // callable to unsubscribe for convenience

    unsubscribe(eventName, callback){
      let callbacks = this.toCallbacks.get(eventName) || [];
      callbacks = callbacks.filter(subscribedCallback => subscribedCallback !== callback);
      if (callbacks.length > 0) {
        this.toCallbacks.set(eventName, callbacks)}
      else {
        this.toCallbacks.delete(eventName)}
      return callbacks}

    emit(eventName, ...args){
      this.callingBack.set(eventName, this.toCallbacks.get(eventName) || []);
      if (!this.processing.has(eventName)){
        process(this, eventName, args)}}}})();

I like this approach because it separates concerns nicely and keeps things truly private. The only downside is the need to use 'self' (or something similar) to refer to 'this' in the private content.


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


I found a very simple solution, just use Object.freeze(). Of course the problem is you can't add nothing to the object later.

class Cat {
    constructor(name ,age) {
        this.name = name
        this.age = age
        Object.freeze(this)
    }
}

let cat = new Cat('Garfield', 5)
cat.age = 6 // doesn't work, even throws an error in strict mode

I use this pattern and it's always worked for me

class Test {
    constructor(data) {
        class Public {
            constructor(prv) {

                // public function (must be in constructor on order to access "prv" variable)
                connectToDb(ip) {
                    prv._db(ip, prv._err);
                } 
            }

            // public function w/o access to "prv" variable
            log() {
                console.log("I'm logging");
            }
        }

        // private variables
        this._data = data;
        this._err = function(ip) {
            console.log("could not connect to "+ip);
        }
    }

    // private function
    _db(ip, err) {
        if(!!ip) {
		    console.log("connected to "+ip+", sending data '"+this.data+"'");
			return true;
		}
        else err(ip);
    }
}



var test = new Test(10),
		ip = "185.167.210.49";
test.connectToDb(ip); // true
test.log(); // I'm logging
test._err(ip); // undefined
test._db(ip, function() { console.log("You have got hacked!"); }); // undefined


Actually it is possible.
1. First, create the class and in the constructor return the called _public function.
2. In the called _public function pass the this reference (to get the access to all private methods and props), and all arguments from constructor (that will be passed in new Names())
3. In the _public function scope there is also the Names class with the access to this (_this) reference of the private Names class

class Names {
  constructor() {
    this.privateProperty = 'John';
    return _public(this, arguments);
  }
  privateMethod() { }
}

const names = new Names(1,2,3);
console.log(names.somePublicMethod); //[Function]
console.log(names.publicProperty); //'Jasmine'
console.log(names.privateMethod); //undefined
console.log(names.privateProperty); //undefind

function _public(_this, _arguments) {
  class Names {
    constructor() {
      this.publicProperty = 'Jasmine';
      _this.privateProperty; //"John";
      _this.privateMethod; //[Function]
    }

    somePublicMethod() {
      _this.privateProperty; //"John";
      _this.privateMethod; //[Function]
    }

  }
  return new Names(..._arguments);
}

You can try this https://www.npmjs.com/package/private-members

This package will save the members by instance.

const pvt = require('private-members');
const _ = pvt();

let Exemplo = (function () {    
    function Exemplo() {
        _(this).msg = "Minha Mensagem";
    }

    _().mensagem = function() {
        return _(this).msg;
    }

    Exemplo.prototype.showMsg = function () {
        let msg = _(this).mensagem();
        console.log(msg);
    };

    return Exemplo;
})();

module.exports = Exemplo;

Reading the previous answer i thought that this example can summarise the above solutions

const friend = Symbol('friend');

const ClassName = ((hidden, hiddenShared = 0) => {

    class ClassName {
        constructor(hiddenPropertyValue, prop){
            this[hidden] = hiddenPropertyValue * ++hiddenShared;
            this.prop = prop
        }

        get hidden(){
            console.log('getting hidden');
            return this[hidden];
        }

        set [friend](v){
            console.log('setting hiddenShared');
            hiddenShared = v;
        }

        get counter(){
            console.log('getting hiddenShared');
            return hiddenShared;
        }

        get privileged(){
            console.log('calling privileged method');
            return privileged.bind(this);
        }
    }

    function privileged(value){
        return this[hidden] + value;
    }

    return ClassName;
})(Symbol('hidden'), 0);

const OtherClass = (() => class OtherClass extends ClassName {
    constructor(v){
        super(v, 100);
        this[friend] = this.counter - 1;
    }
})();

Yes totally can, and pretty easily too. This is done by exposing your private variables and functions by returning the prototype object graph in the constructor. This is nothing new, but take a bit of js foo to understand the elegance of it. This way does not use global scoped, or weakmaps. It is a form of reflection built into the language. Depending on how you leverage this; one can either force an exception which interrupts the call stack, or bury the exception as an undefined. This is demonstarted below, and can read more about these features here

class Clazz {
  constructor() {
    var _level = 1

    function _private(x) {
      return _level * x;
    }
    return {
      level: _level,
      public: this.private,
      public2: function(x) {
        return _private(x);
      },
      public3: function(x) {
        return _private(x) * this.public(x);
      },
    };
  }

  private(x) {
    return x * x;
  }
}

var clazz = new Clazz();

console.log(clazz._level); //undefined
console.log(clazz._private); // undefined
console.log(clazz.level); // 1
console.log(clazz.public(1)); //1
console.log(clazz.public2(2)); //2
console.log(clazz.public3(3)); //27
console.log(clazz.private(0)); //error


Most answers either say it's impossible, or require you to use a WeakMap or Symbol, which are ES6 features that would probably require polyfills. There's however another way! Check out this out:

// 1. Create closure
var SomeClass = function() {
  // 2. Create `key` inside a closure
  var key = {};
  // Function to create private storage
  var private = function() {
    var obj = {};
    // return Function to access private storage using `key`
    return function(testkey) {
      if(key === testkey) return obj;
      // If `key` is wrong, then storage cannot be accessed
      console.error('Cannot access private properties');
      return undefined;
    };
  };
  var SomeClass = function() {
    // 3. Create private storage
    this._ = private();
    // 4. Access private storage using the `key`
    this._(key).priv_prop = 200;
  };
  SomeClass.prototype.test = function() {
    console.log(this._(key).priv_prop); // Using property from prototype
  };
  return SomeClass;
}();

// Can access private property from within prototype
var instance = new SomeClass();
instance.test(); // `200` logged

// Cannot access private property from outside of the closure
var wrong_key = {};
instance._(wrong_key); // undefined; error logged

I call this method accessor pattern. The essential idea is that we have a closure, a key inside the closure, and we create a private object (in the constructor) that can only be accessed if you have the key.

If you are interested, you can read more about this in my article. Using this method, you can create per object properties that cannot be accessed outside of the closure. Therefore, you can use them in constructor or prototype, but not anywhere else. I haven't seen this method used anywhere, but I think it's really powerful.


Another way similar to the last two posted

class Example {
  constructor(foo) {

    // privates
    const self = this;
    this.foo = foo;

    // public interface
    return self.public;
  }

  public = {
    // empty data
    nodata: { data: [] },
    // noop
    noop: () => {},
  }

  // everything else private
  bar = 10
}

const test = new Example('FOO');
console.log(test.foo); // undefined
console.log(test.noop); // { data: [] }
console.log(test.bar); // undefined