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What is an event loop in JavaScript

Understanding the Event Loop in JavaScript

So, What is an Event Loop?

Imagine a busy restaurant with one chef and many customers. Customers place their orders, and the chef prepares the meals one by one. However, some meals take longer to cook than others. But instead of making other customers wait, the chef takes the next order and starts preparing it. This system of managing orders and cooking is much like how JavaScript handles tasks - using something called an 'Event Loop.'

In JavaScript, the Event Loop is a process that looks after your code's execution and handles multiple operations without making the browser unresponsive. It allows JavaScript to be asynchronous and non-blocking by handling tasks one after the other without waiting for previous tasks to complete.

The Call Stack

Before we dive deeper into the event loop, let's talk about the call stack. In simple terms, it is JavaScript's to-do list. Tasks or functions in your code get piled onto this stack as they are encountered during the execution.

function firstFunction() {
  console.log("Hello from firstFunction");

function secondFunction() {
  console.log("The end from secondFunction");


In the above example, when secondFunction() is called, it's added to the call stack. Inside secondFunction(), firstFunction() is called, which is then added to the call stack. The console.log inside firstFunction() is added to the stack when it's encountered, and once executed, it's removed. The process continues until the stack is empty, following the Last In, First Out (LIFO) principle.

The Heap

The Heap is where JavaScript stores memory-related stuff. When you declare a variable or create an object, it goes into the heap.

let student = {
  name: "John",
  age: 20

In this case, the object student would be stored in the Heap.

The Queue

The Queue in JavaScript is like a real-life queue or line - the first one in is the first one out (FIFO). It's where JavaScript keeps track of tasks that are to be executed later.

So why does JavaScript need a queue?

Because some tasks like API calls, timers, and user interactions take an unpredictable amount of time. JavaScript uses the queue to manage these tasks without blocking the rest of your code from running.


setTimeout(function timeout() {
}, 0);


You’d expect the output to be “First”, “Second”, “Third”. But the actual output is “First”, “Third”, “Second”. This is because setTimeout() is a Web API function. When setTimeout() is called, it gets popped off the stack and waits for the timer to complete. After the timer, it gets added to the queue. The stack must be empty before JavaScript executes tasks from the Queue.

Bringing it All Together: The Event Loop

The Event Loop is the chef in our restaurant. It continuously checks if the call stack is empty. If it is, it takes the first item from the queue and pushes it to the call stack, where it gets executed. This process continues indefinitely, creating a loop, hence the name 'Event Loop.'


To sum up, the Event Loop is JavaScript's way of handling multiple tasks simultaneously without making the browser unresponsive. It's a critical part of the JavaScript concurrency model and is what makes JavaScript so efficient at non-blocking, asynchronous execution. So, whether you're picking up JavaScript for the first time or looking to deepen your understanding, take some time to appreciate the genius of the Event Loop. It's like a master chef, continuously juggling tasks to ensure your code runs smoothly and efficiently, serving up a seamless user experience.