Altcademy - a Forbes magazine logo Best Coding Bootcamp 2023

What is a method in JavaScript

Understanding the Concept of a Method in JavaScript

Today, we are going to talk about a fundamental concept in JavaScript programming: the method. If you're new to programming, you might be wondering, "What is a method?" Well, let's demystify this term.

A method in JavaScript is similar to a function. It's a set of instructions that perform a specific task. The difference is that methods are associated with objects. If that sounds confusing, don't worry. We're going to break it down in easy-to-understand terms and examples.

Methods are Like Actions for Objects

If you think of objects as nouns (e.g., a car, a person, a house), you can think of methods as verbs, or actions that these objects can perform. Let's consider a car. A car can start, stop, accelerate, or brake. In the context of JavaScript, these actions could be represented as methods.

let car = {
    start: function() {
        // code to start the car
    stop: function() {
        // code to stop the car

In this example, start and stop are methods of the car object. They are defined using function syntax, and they are associated with the car object.

How to Call a Method in JavaScript

Calling a method is pretty straightforward. You just need to reference the object, followed by a dot (.), then the method name with parentheses (). Let's see how to call the start method of our car object.


By calling car.start(), we're telling the car to execute the start action. If there are instructions inside the start method, they will be executed.

Methods Can Have Parameters

Just like functions, methods can also have parameters. Parameters are like placeholders for values that you can pass into a method when you call it. Let's add a drive method to our car that takes a distance parameter.

let car = {
    // previous methods here...

    drive: function(distance) {
        // code to drive the car the specified distance

We can then call the drive method and pass a value for the distance parameter.; // drive the car 50 miles

Using the this Keyword in Methods

In JavaScript, this is a special keyword that you can use inside a method to refer to the object that the method is associated with. For example, if we have a car object with a speed property, we can create a speedUp method that increases the speed by a certain amount.

let car = {
    speed: 0,

    speedUp: function(amount) {
        this.speed += amount;

In the speedUp method, this.speed refers to the speed property of the car object. So this.speed += amount; means "increase the car's speed by the specified amount."

Conclusion: Embrace the Power of Methods

Now you have a better understanding of what a method is in JavaScript and how it works. A method is like an action that an object can perform. It's a way to bundle up code that carries out a specific task, and it's associated with an object.

Remember the car analogy: if objects are the cars, methods are the actions these cars can perform, like starting, stopping, or accelerating. And the this keyword is like your car's GPS — it always knows where it is in relation to the object it's inside of.

Keep practicing with methods, experiment with them, and see what you can create. Remember, the most powerful tool you have as a programmer is not a specific method or object or line of code, but your creativity. Happy coding!