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Unit 6: Scripting with JavaScript

Welcome to Unit 6​

JavaScript is the world's most popular programming language, also considered the programming language of the web. Many web developers use JavaScript to create websites and add behavior to them.

Unit 6 Lecture Video​


JavaScript is a high-level language and is very similar to many languages you might have used before (Python, Java). Here's a quick overview of the basics.


console.log("Hello, World!"); 
// In Web Development, this will actually show up in the developer console.
// Open the console in Chrome with cmd+alt+j (mac) or ctrl+shift+j (windows)


Variables are dynamically-typed, meaning, they don't have a type (like in Python). Undefined variables have the value undefined. We use the keywords var, let and const to define variables.

KeywordBehaviorWhen to Use
varDefines a variable limited in scope to the function.Don't use var. To learn more, read "Why don't we use var anymore?".
letDefines a variable limited in scope to the block.Use when you need to change the value of the variable later on.
constDefines a variable limited in scope to the block, but its value is constant.You should always use const unless you need to change the value of the variable later on.
let x = 'hello';
x = 1234; // the `x` variable can be changed.
const pi = 3.14; // the `pi` variable cannot be changed.


Strings are a collection of characters. They can be enclosed in either single quotes ' ' or double quotes " ".

There are a lot of powerful built-in string functions for you to use. Here are a few popular examples:

const clubName = 'icssc';
console.log(className); // icssc
console.log(className.length); // 5
console.log(className.toUpperCase()); // ICSSC
console.log(className.indexOf('ss')); // 2
console.log(className.includes('cs')); // true
console.log(className.startsWith('i')); // true
console.log(className.endsWith('sc')); // true

You can also perform string interpolation using backticks ` `. String interpolation is when you inject an expression into a string. In JavaScript, this is called "template literals". You can put any expression into the string using a dollar sign and curly brace: ${expression}.

let likes = 5;
console.log('This post has ' + likes + ' likes'); // "This post has 5 likes"
console.log(`This post has ${likes} likes`); // "This post has 5 likes" <- same but cleaner

// You can also compute expressions inside the string
console.log(`I wish I had ${likes * 10} likes!`) // "I wish I had 50 likes!"


Arrays are almost exactly the same as they are in Python.

const array = ['a', 'b', 'c', 1, 2, 3];

console.log(array[2]); // "c"
console.log(array.length); // "6"
array.push('4'); // add item to end of the array
console.log(array); // "['a', 'b', 'c', 1, 2, 3, '4']"

const str = array.join('-'); // Combine elements into a string
console.log(str); // "a-b-c-1-2-3-4"

//get index of an element (first occurrence)
console.log(array.indexOf('x')); // 3

array.reverse(); // Reverse the array
console.log(array); // "['4', 3, 2, 1, 'c', 'b', 'a']"


Arrays can be sorted with the .sort() function. By default, .sort() will alphabetize the array.

const numbers = [2, 3, 4, 1];
numbers.sort(); // [1, 2, 3, 4]

However we can customize our sort by providing a compareFunction. This function takes 2 elements and returns a value that determines how to order the elements.

compareFunction(a, b) return valuesort order
> 0sort b before a
< 0sort a before b
=== 0keep original order of a and b

πŸ’‘ The use of === is intentional here! Check out this Stack Overflow thread for an in depth dive on == vs === in JavaScript.

// Sort the list of words ignoring uppercase
const words = ["Water", "fire", "Ice", "ice cream"];
words.sort((a, b) => {
// .localeCompare helps us compare two strings
return a.toLowerCase().localeCompare(b.toLowerCase());
}); // ['fire', 'Ice', 'ice cream', 'Water']

// This is also helpful for sorting objects
const players1 = [{ name: "Chase", points: 2 }, { name: "Raman", points: 3 }]
players1.sort((a, b) => {
return b.points - a.points;
}); // [{ name: 'Raman', points: 3 }, { name: 'Chase', points: 2 }]

Advanced Array Functions​

JavaScript arrays also have methods that help us create and modify arrays: .map, .filter, and .reduce. You will use these functions a lot, so it's important to understand what each does.


The map() function creates a new array from an existing one. Each element in the array is passed through a function, which returns a value to be added to the new array.

const numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4];
const doubled = {
return item * 2;
console.log(doubled); // "[2, 4, 6, 8]"


The filter() function applies a conditional to each element in the array. If the conditional is true, the element is included in the output array.

const numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4];
const evens = numbers.filter(function(item) {
return item % 2 === 0;
console.log(evens); // "[2, 4]"


The reduce() function reduces the values of an array to just one value. It does so by accumulating a value as it iterates through the array. The function takes two parameters: reduce(callbackFn, initialValue).

  • initialValue is the intial value of your accumulator.
  • callbackFn is your 'reducer' function. This function takes two parameters, the accumulator and an item. For each item in the array, the callBackFn is called on the item and returns the updated accumulator.
const numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4];

// Callback Function parameters
// result - the accumulator, which is the returned value of the previous iteration.
// item - the current item in the array.
// Note: the intial value of the accumulator is set to 0.
const sum = numbers.reduce(function (result, item) { return result + item; }, 0);
console.log(sum); // "10"


If Statements​

For if statements, JavaScript uses parentheses () to denote the conditions and curly brackets {} to denote code blocks.

if (i > 5) {
console.log('i is bigger than 5');
} else if (i >= 3) {
console.log('i is between 3 and 5');
} else {
console.log('i is less than 3');

Ternary Operator​

A ternary operator can be used to replace (and simply) an if..else statement in certain situations. Ternary operators are extremely common in React.

This is the format of the ternary operator: condition ? trueValue : falseValue.
If the condition is true, the trueValue will be returned. If it is false, the falseValue will be returned.

// Consider the following if statement
let price;
if (isMember) {
price = "$2.00";
} else {
price = "$10.00";

// This can be drastically condensed with a ternary operator
price = isMember ? '$2.00' : '$10.00';

// We can also use ternary operators with return statements
function evenOrOdd(number) {
return number % 2 == 0 ? "Even" : "Odd";

Switch Statements​

Switch statements can helpful for simple branching decisions. Given a value, it will execute the code under the equivalent case. Trying to write this as a series of if-else statements would get large.

switch (name) {
case 'Aaron':
console.log('PeterPortal Tech Lead');
case 'Alexander':
console.log('Zotistics Tech Lead');
case 'Chase':
case 'Raman':
// We can fall-through if two values should be the same
// Here, 'Chase' and 'Raman' should print the same thing
console.log('Projects Co-Chair');
console.log("That name isn't in Projects Committee");


JavaScript uses curly brackets {} to denote code blocks loops.

for (let x = 0; x < 5; x++) {
while (true) {

We can also use for-each loops in javascript, but only for arrays. This is similar to the map, filter and reduce function mentioned in the previous section. This uses a callback function, more on this later.

const array = ["one", "two", "three"]
array.forEach(function (item, index) { // notice how a function is passed into forEach function call.
console.log(item, index);

In fact, JavaScript also has something cool called a for-of loop. This lets us loop through iterables like strings and arrays.

const str = "fellowship"
for (const element of str) {


Similar to Python Dictionaries, these are an unordered set of key-value pairs. Unlike python, you don't need quotes around the keys.

const ages = {alice:40, bob:35, charles:13}
const things = {num:12, dog:'woof', list:[1,2,3]}

//both of these work!
console.log(ages["alice"]); // 40
console.log(ages.bob); // 35


Define the sayHello function that takes in two parameters, firstName, and lastName.
In JavaScript, parameters are optional.

function sayHello(firstName, lastName) {
return "Hello, " + firstName + " " + lastName;

console.log(sayHello("Raman", "Gupta")); // Hello, Raman Gupta
console.log(sayHello()); // Hello, undefined undefined

Arrow Functions​

Arrow functions are a newer feature of JavaScript, and let us write functions with much shorter syntax.

const otherSayHello = (firstName, lastName) => {
return "Hello, " + firstName + " " + lastName;

In an arrow function, the arguments are defined in the parenthesis (in this case firstName and lastName) and the function body is defined in the curly brackets after the arrow, hence the name.

Arrow functions return a value by default, so if it only requires one statement to write the function, we can cut it even shorter by removing the brackets and the return keyword.

const otherSayHello = (firstName, lastName) => "Hello, " + firstName + " " + lastName;

Callback Functions​

Functions are objects, and can be passed as arguments to other function calls.

//Iterate through an array
let array = ['a','b','c'];
let printItem = function(item) {

Anonymous Functions​

We can use anonymous functions to reduce how much code we write even more. This way we don't have to give each function a name.

array.forEach(function(item) {


If JavaScript is new to you, or you are curious, it might be helpful to check out the official documentation. It has tutorials, examples, and a reference to JavaScript syntax/features. There's so much more that we haven't covered on how JavaScript works.

JavaScript Documentation

Setting up JavaScript and Node.js​

We will be using nvm to install Node. Nvm makes it easier to jump between versions of node, which you will need for some projects.


Open up your terminal and run this command.

curl -o- | bash

Close and re-open your terminal, and nvm will be installed.

We will be using version 16.13.2 of node so run these commands.

nvm install node
nvm install v16.13.2

You can check node is installed with this command.

node --version

Before we start using Node.js, what is it? Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment that lets us execute JavaScript code outside of a web browser. It will also let us use server-side scripting, which makes web development a lot easier. We will dive a little deeper into this in the upcoming units. There's a lot more to talk about, and we can't fit it all into this one unit. If you want to learn more, you can find many resources online.

Running JavaScript​

Once node is installed, we can run our own JavaScript code on our computer. Create a new file with the .js file extension. Add this to the file:

console.log("Hello, World!")

Go back to your terminal, and we can run these files with a simple command. node <name_of_file>

node hello.js
> Hello, World!


This unit's assignment is to complete a series of programming problems use Javascript.

Required Tasks

  • Fork the javascript-practice GitHub Repository.
  • Solve each challenge in the /problems folder and push your code to GitHub.


Complete the Google Form

External Resources​


JavaScript Array Functions