Benjamin Gruenbaum Benjamin Gruenbaum - 19 days ago 12
Javascript Question

Do let statements create properties on the global object?

In JavaScript,

var
declarations create properties on the global object:

var x = 15;
console.log(window.x); // logs 15 in browser
console.log(global.x); // logs 15 in Node.js


ES6 introduces lexical scoping with
let
declarations that have block scope.

let x = 15;
{
let x = 14;
}
console.log(x); // logs 15;


However, do these declarations create properties on the global object?

let x = 15;
// what is this supposed to log in the browser according to ES6?
console.log(window.x); // 15 in Firefox
console.log(global.x); // undefined in Node.js with flag

Answer

Do let statements create properties on the global object?

According to the spec, no:

A global environment record is logically a single record but it is specified as a composite encapsulating an object environment record and a declarative environment record. The object environment record has as its base object the global object of the associated Realm. This global object is the value returned by the global environment record’s GetThisBinding concrete method. The object environment record component of a global environment record contains the bindings for all built-in globals (clause 18) and all bindings introduced by a FunctionDeclaration, GeneratorDeclaration, or VariableStatement contained in global code. The bindings for all other ECMAScript declarations in global code are contained in the declarative environment record component of the global environment record.

Some more explanation:

  • A declarative environment record stores the bindings in an internal data structure. It's impossible to get a hold of that data structure in any way (think about function scope).

  • An object environment record uses an actual JS object as data structure. Every property of the object becomes a binding and vice versa. The global environment has an object environment object whose "binding object" is the global object. Another example is with.

Now, as the cited part states, only FunctionDeclarations, GeneratorDeclarations, and VariableStatements create bindings in the global environment's object environment record. I.e. only this bindings become properties of the global object.

All other declarations (e.g. const and let) are stored in the global environment's declarative environment record, which is not based on the global object.