Is JavaScript an Object-Based Scripting Language?


Scott Campbell

JavaScript is often referred to as an object-based scripting language. But what does that really mean? In this article, we will explore the nature of JavaScript and delve into its object-based characteristics.

What is Object-Based Programming?

Object-based programming is a paradigm where programs are organized around objects. An object is an instance of a class that encapsulates data and methods related to that data. It allows for modular and reusable code, making it easier to manage complex systems.

JavaScript’s Object-Oriented Features

While JavaScript is not considered a fully object-oriented language like Java or C++, it does incorporate some key features of object-oriented programming. Let’s take a look at them:

1. Objects

In JavaScript, objects are collections of key-value pairs, where keys are strings (or symbols) and values can be any data type – including other objects! Objects in JavaScript can be created using either literal notation or constructor notation.

2. Prototypes

Prototypes play a crucial role in JavaScript’s object-based nature. Every object in JavaScript has an internal link to another object called its prototype. When accessing a property of an object, if the property doesn’t exist on the object itself, JavaScript looks for it in the prototype chain until it finds it or reaches the end.

a) Prototype Inheritance

This prototype chain enables inheritance in JavaScript. Objects can inherit properties and methods from their prototypes, allowing for code reuse and hierarchy.

b) Prototype Modification

JavaScript allows us to modify prototypes at runtime by adding or modifying properties and methods dynamically. This dynamic nature gives JavaScript flexibility but also requires careful consideration to avoid unexpected behaviors.

3. Functions as First-Class Citizens

In JavaScript, functions are treated as first-class citizens, meaning they can be assigned to variables, passed as arguments to other functions, and returned from functions. This feature allows for higher-order functions and functional programming paradigms.

4. Distinguishing Features

While JavaScript embodies object-based characteristics, it also has some distinguishing features that set it apart from traditional object-oriented languages:

  • It doesn’t have classes in the traditional sense. Instead, objects can be created independently.
  • It supports dynamic typing, allowing variables to hold values of different types at runtime.
  • It has a global object called the “window” object in web browsers and “global” object in Node.js.


JavaScript may not be a pure object-oriented language, but its object-based nature provides powerful tools for creating modular and reusable code. Understanding JavaScript’s object-oriented features, such as objects, prototypes, functions as first-class citizens, and its distinguishing characteristics is crucial for writing efficient and maintainable JavaScript applications.

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