Manaday Manaday - 1 year ago 75
Javascript Question

Multiplication with date object - javascript

I came across this piece of code

var timeStamp = 1 * new Date();
and to my surprise it returned value in milliseconds since 1970/01/01. This is equivalent to using

What's happening under the hood? Does Type Conversion concept work here, which basically converts
new Date()
value into the milliseconds?

Answer Source

What's happening under the hood?

The short version:

Because it's being used in a math operation, the date is converted to a number, and when you convert dates to numbers, the number you get is the milliseconds-since-the-Epoch (e.g., getTime()).

The long version:

  1. The multiplication operator calls the abstract operation ToNumber on its operands.

  2. For objects like Dates, that calls the abstract operation ToPrimitive on the object, with the "preferred type" being "number".

  3. For most types of objects (including Dates), ToPrimitive calls the abstract operation [[DefaultValue]], passing along the preferred type as the "hint".

  4. [[DefaultValue]] with hint = "number" calls valueOf on the object. (valueOf is a real method, unlike the abstract operations above.)

  5. For Date objects, valueOf returns the "time value," the value you get from getTime.

Side note: There's no reason I can think of to use var timeStamp = 1 * new Date() rather than, say, var timeStamp = +new Date(), which has the same effect. Or of course, on any modern engine (and the shim is trivial), var timeStamp = (more on

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