The destructuring assignment syntax is a JavaScript expression that makes it possible to extract data from arrays or objects into distinct variables.

Syntax

var a, b, rest;
[a, b] = [1, 2];
console.log(a); // 1
console.log(b); // 2

[a, b, ...rest] = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
console.log(a); // 1
console.log(b); // 2
console.log(rest); // [3, 4, 5]

({a, b} = {a:1, b:2});
console.log(a); // 1
console.log(b); // 2

// ES7 - not implemented in Firefox 47a01
({a, b, ...rest} = {a:1, b:2, c:3, d:4}); 

Description

The object and array literal expressions provide an easy way to create ad hoc packages of data.

var x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];

The destructuring assignment uses similar syntax, but on the left-hand side of the assignment to define what elements to extract from the sourced variable.

var x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
var [y, z] = x;
console.log(y); // 1
console.log(z); // 2

This capability is similar to features present in languages such as Perl and Python.

Array destructuring

Basic variable assignment

var foo = ["one", "two", "three"];

var [one, two, three] = foo;
console.log(one); // "one"
console.log(two); // "two"
console.log(three); // "three"

Assignment separate from declaration

A variable can be assigned its value via destructuring separate from the variable's declaration.

var a, b;

[a, b] = [1, 2];
console.log(a); // 1
console.log(b); // 2

Default values

A variable can be assigned a default, in the case that the value pulled from the array is undefined.

var a, b;

[a=5, b=7] = [1];
console.log(a); // 1
console.log(b); // 7

Swapping variables

Two variables values can be swapped in one destructuring expression.

Without destructuring assignment, swapping two values requires a temporary variable (or, in some low-level languages, the XOR-swap trick).

var a = 1;
var b = 3;

[a, b] = [b, a];
console.log(a); // 3
console.log(b); // 1

Parsing an array returned from a function

It's always been possible to return an array from a function. Destructuring can make working with an array return value more concise.

In this example, f() returns the values [1, 2] as its output, which can be parsed in a single line with destructuring.

function f() {
  return [1, 2];
}

var a, b; 
[a, b] = f(); 
console.log(a); // 1
console.log(b); // 2

Ignoring some returned values

You can ignore return values that you're not interested in:

function f() {
  return [1, 2, 3];
}

var [a, , b] = f();
console.log(a); // 1
console.log(b); // 3

You can also ignore all returned values:

[,,] = f();

Pulling values from a regular expression match

When the regular expression exec() method finds a match, it returns an array containing first the entire matched portion of the string and then the portions of the string that matched each parenthesized group in the regular expression. Destructuring assignment allows you to pull the parts out of this array easily, ignoring the full match if it is not needed.

var url = "https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Web/JavaScript";

var parsedURL = /^(\w+)\:\/\/([^\/]+)\/(.*)$/.exec(url);
console.log(parsedURL); // ["https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Web/JavaScript", "https", "developer.mozilla.org", "en-US/Web/JavaScript"]

var [, protocol, fullhost, fullpath] = parsedURL;

console.log(protocol); // "https"

Object destructuring

Basic assignment

var o = {p: 42, q: true};
var {p, q} = o;

console.log(p); // 42
console.log(q); // true 

Assignment without declaration

A variable can be assigned its value with destructuring separate from its declaration.

var a, b;

({a, b} = {a:1, b:2});

The ( .. ) around the assignment statement is required syntax when using object literal destructuring assignment without a declaration.

{a, b} = {a:1, b:2} is not valid stand-alone syntax, as the {a, b} on the left-hand side is considered a block and not an object literal.

However, ({a, b} = {a:1, b:2}) is valid, as is var {a, b} = {a:1, b:2}

Assigning to new variable names

A variable can be extracted from an object and assigned to a variable with a different name than the object property.

var o = {p: 42, q: true};
var {p: foo, q: bar} = o;
 
console.log(foo); // 42 
console.log(bar); // true  

Default values

A variable can be assigned a default, in the case that the value pulled from the object is undefined.

var {a=10, b=5} = {a: 3};

console.log(a); // 3
console.log(b); // 5

Setting a function parameter's default value

ES5 version

function drawES5Chart(options) {
  options = options === undefined ? {} : options;
  var size = options.size === undefined ? 'big' : options.size;
  var cords = options.cords === undefined ? { x: 0, y: 0 } : options.cords;
  var radius = options.radius === undefined ? 25 : options.radius;
  console.log(size, cords, radius);
  // now finally do some chart drawing
}

drawES5Chart({
  cords: { x: 18, y: 30 },
  radius: 30
});

ES6 version

function drawES6Chart({size = 'big', cords = { x: 0, y: 0 }, radius = 25} = {}) {
  console.log(size, cords, radius);
  // do some chart drawing
}

// In Firefox, default values for destructuring assignments are not yet implemented (as described below). 
// The workaround is to write the parameters in the following way:
// ({size: size = 'big', cords: cords = { x: 0, y: 0 }, radius: radius = 25} = {})

drawES6Chart({
  cords: { x: 18, y: 30 },
  radius: 30
});

Nested object and array destructuring

var metadata = {
    title: "Scratchpad",
    translations: [
       {
        locale: "de",
        localization_tags: [ ],
        last_edit: "2014-04-14T08:43:37",
        url: "/de/docs/Tools/Scratchpad",
        title: "JavaScript-Umgebung"
       }
    ],
    url: "/en-US/docs/Tools/Scratchpad"
};

var { title: englishTitle, translations: [{ title: localeTitle }] } = metadata;

console.log(englishTitle); // "Scratchpad"
console.log(localeTitle);  // "JavaScript-Umgebung"

For of iteration and destructuring

var people = [
  {
    name: "Mike Smith",
    family: {
      mother: "Jane Smith",
      father: "Harry Smith",
      sister: "Samantha Smith"
    },
    age: 35
  },
  {
    name: "Tom Jones",
    family: {
      mother: "Norah Jones",
      father: "Richard Jones",
      brother: "Howard Jones"
    },
    age: 25
  }
];

for (var {name: n, family: { father: f } } of people) {
  console.log("Name: " + n + ", Father: " + f);
}

// "Name: Mike Smith, Father: Harry Smith"
// "Name: Tom Jones, Father: Richard Jones"

Pulling fields from objects passed as function parameter

function userId({id}) {
  return id;
}

function whois({displayName: displayName, fullName: {firstName: name}}){
  console.log(displayName + " is " + name);
}

var user = { 
  id: 42, 
  displayName: "jdoe",
  fullName: { 
      firstName: "John",
      lastName: "Doe"
  }
};

console.log("userId: " + userId(user)); // "userId: 42"
whois(user); // "jdoe is John"

This pulls the id, displayName and firstName from the user object and prints them.

Computed object property names and destructuring

Computed property names, like on object literals, can be used with destructuring.

let key = "z";
let { [key]: foo } = { z: "bar" };

console.log(foo); // "bar"

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
ECMAScript 2015 (6th Edition, ECMA-262)
The definition of 'Destructuring assignment' in that specification.
Standard Initial definition.
ECMAScript 2017 Draft (ECMA-262)
The definition of 'Destructuring assignment' in that specification.
Draft  

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Edge Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 49.0 2.0 (1.8.1) 14 No support No support 7.1
Computed property names 49.0 34 (34) 14 No support No support No support
Spread operator 49.0 34 (34) 12[1] ? ? ?
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile Chrome for Android
Basic support No support 49.0 1.0 (1.0) No support No support 8 49.0
Computed property names No support 49.0 34.0 (34) No support No support No support 49.0
Spread operator No support 49.0 34.0 (34) ? ? ? 49.0

[1] Requires "Enable experimental Javascript features" to be enabled under `about:flags`

Firefox-specific notes

  • Firefox provided a non-standard language extension in JS1.7 for destructuring. This extension has been removed in Gecko 40 (Firefox 40 / Thunderbird 40 / SeaMonkey 2.37). See bug 1083498.
  • Starting with Gecko 41 (Firefox 41 / Thunderbird 41 / SeaMonkey 2.38) and to comply with the ES6 specification, parenthesized destructuring patterns, like ([a, b]) = [1, 2] or ({a, b}) = { a: 1, b: 2 }, are now considered invalid and will throw a SyntaxError. See Jeff Walden's blog post and bug 1146136 for more details.

See also