function*

The function* declaration (function keyword followed by an asterisk) defines a generator function, which returns a Generator object.

You can also define generator functions using the GeneratorFunction constructor, or the function expression syntax.

Syntax

function* name([param[, param[, ... param]]]) {
   statements
}
name
The function name.
param Optional
The name of a formal parameter for the function.
statements
The statements comprising the body of the function.

Description

Generators are functions that can be exited and later re-entered. Their context (variable bindings) will be saved across re-entrances.

Generators in JavaScript -- especially when combined with Promises -- are a very powerful tool for asynchronous programming as they mitigate -- if not entirely eliminate -- the problems with callbacks, such as Callback Hell and Inversion of Control. However, an even simpler solution to these problems can be achieved with async functions.

Calling a generator function does not execute its body immediately; an iterator object for the function is returned instead. When the iterator's next() method is called, the generator function's body is executed until the first yield expression, which specifies the value to be returned from the iterator or, with yield*, delegates to another generator function. The next() method returns an object with a value property containing the yielded value and a done property which indicates whether the generator has yielded its last value, as a boolean. Calling the next() method with an argument will resume the generator function execution, replacing the yield expression where an execution was paused with the argument from next().

A return statement in a generator, when executed, will make the generator finish (i.e. the done property of the object returned by it will be set to true). If a value is returned, it will be set as the value property of the object returned by the generator.
Much like a return statement, an error is thrown inside the generator will make the generator finished -- unless caught within the generator's body.
When a generator is finished, subsequent next() calls will not execute any of that generator's code, they will just return an object of this form: {value: undefined, done: true}.

Examples

Simple example

function* idMaker() {
  var index = 0;
  while (true)
    yield index++;
}

var gen = idMaker();

console.log(gen.next().value); // 0
console.log(gen.next().value); // 1
console.log(gen.next().value); // 2
console.log(gen.next().value); // 3
// ...

Example with yield*

function* anotherGenerator(i) {
  yield i + 1;
  yield i + 2;
  yield i + 3;
}

function* generator(i) {
  yield i;
  yield* anotherGenerator(i);
  yield i + 10;
}

var gen = generator(10);

console.log(gen.next().value); // 10
console.log(gen.next().value); // 11
console.log(gen.next().value); // 12
console.log(gen.next().value); // 13
console.log(gen.next().value); // 20

Passing arguments into Generators

function* logGenerator() {
  console.log(0);
  console.log(1, yield);
  console.log(2, yield);
  console.log(3, yield);
}

var gen = logGenerator();

// the first call of next executes from the start of the function
// until the first yield statement
gen.next();             // 0
gen.next('pretzel');    // 1 pretzel
gen.next('california'); // 2 california
gen.next('mayonnaise'); // 3 mayonnaise

Return statement in a generator

function* yieldAndReturn() {
  yield "Y";
  return "R";
  yield "unreachable";
}

var gen = yieldAndReturn()
console.log(gen.next()); // { value: "Y", done: false }
console.log(gen.next()); // { value: "R", done: true }
console.log(gen.next()); // { value: undefined, done: true }

Generator as an object property

const someObj = {
  *generator () {
    yield 'a';
    yield 'b';
  }
}

const gen = someObj.generator()

console.log(gen.next()); // { value: 'a', done: false }
console.log(gen.next()); // { value: 'b', done: false }
console.log(gen.next()); // { value: undefined, done: true }

Generator as an object method

class Foo {
  *generator () {
    yield 1;
    yield 2;
    yield 3;
  }
}

const f = new Foo ();
const gen = f.generator();

console.log(gen.next()); // { value: 1, done: false }
console.log(gen.next()); // { value: 2, done: false }
console.log(gen.next()); // { value: 3, done: false }
console.log(gen.next()); // { value: undefined, done: true }

Generator as a computed property

class Foo {
  *[Symbol.iterator] () {
    yield 1;
    yield 2;
  }
}

const SomeObj = {
  *[Symbol.iterator] () {
    yield 'a';
    yield 'b';
  }
}

console.log(Array.from(new Foo)); // [ 1, 2 ]
console.log(Array.from(SomeObj)); // [ 'a', 'b' ]

Generators are not constructable

function* f() {}
var obj = new f; // throws "TypeError: f is not a constructor

Generator defined in an expression

const foo = function* () {
  yield 10;
  yield 20;
};

const bar = foo();
console.log(bar.next()); // {value: 10, done: false}

Generator example

function* powers(n){
     //endless loop to generate
     for(let current =n;; current *= n){
         yield current;
     }
}

for(let power of powers(2)){
     //controlling generator
     if(power > 32) break;
     console.log(power)
           //2
          //4
         //8
        //16
       //32
}

Specifications

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also