Constructors and Prototypes

In this blog, we’re going to explore how JavaScript uses constructors as blueprints for the creation of many new objects, and prototypes for adding methods to objects.

Let’s start by taking a look at how some of the built-in JavaScript objects work.


Follow along to learn:


If we look at the MDN documentation for String, we see that String is a constructor for creating string objects. A constructor is a function that can be invoked using the new keyword to create new objects. To visually identify constructor functions vs. regular functions, they are conventionally named with a capital first letter.

You might have created string variables by adding "" around the characters we want to identify as strings. This is called literal notation. It triggers JavaScript to ‘box’ (wrap) primitive values so you have access to String methods. But we could also use the String constructor function directly:

  let testGreeting = new String;
  // String {"", length: 0}
  // length: 0
  // __proto__: String
  // [[PrimitiveValue]]: ""

Or this:

  let testGreeting2 = new String("Hello!");
  // String {"Hello!"}
  // 0: "H"
  // 1: "e"
  // 2: "l"
  // 3: "l"
  // 4: "o"
  // 5: "!"
  // length: 6
  // __proto__: String
  // [[PrimitiveValue]]: "Hello!"

In these two examples, we see the String constructor is called with the new keyword. The String constructor function added 2 properties to both objects - length and [[PrimitiveValue]]. For testGreeting2, where we provided a value as the argument, the constructor also added properties for the index positions of each character.

In the case of creating a new String, it was actually easier to use the literal notation. But with more complex objects it will often be easier to use constructors when creating new objects that all have the same blueprint.

Let’s make a constructor of our own. We’ll imagine that we need to create many cats from a cat blueprint since we know that all cats will have the same properties. The difference from cat to cat will be in the values for those properties. Rather than repeating all of the code for each cat, we’ll make a constructor function that we can use over and over again.

Here is a constructor function for Cat that will initialize a new cat object with its properties assigned to the values passed in to the constructor function.

  function Cat (name, colors, age) { = name;
    this.colors = colors;
    this.age = age;

Then to create a new cat we can do the following:

  let myCat = new Cat('Lanky', ['white','black', 'gold'], 1);

We can access the name of the new cat:

  // "Lanky"

The colors of the new cat:

  // ["white","black", "gold"]

And its age:

  // 1

The myCat object here is considered an instance of the Cat type. A constructor is the blueprint that specifies how to create an object. You can think of the Cat constructor here as a factory that can be used repeatedly to build a bunch of cat objects, using the constructor as a blueprint. Each cat object is an instance of the Cat type, so you have one Cat type, defined by a constructor, with potentially many instances of that type.

  function Cat (name, colors, age) { = name;
    this.colors = colors;
    this.age = age;

  let growly = new Dog("Growly", ["gray"], 2);
  let genter = new Dog("Genter", ["white", "black"], 5);
  let duck = new Dog("Duck", ["orange"], 3);

To recap, the Cat constructor above is used as a kind of factory or blueprint by each of the three lines below in order construct the three cat objects. The growly, genter and duck objects are three instances of the Cat type. Each object that is an instance of Cat has a name property, a colors property and an age property. For example:

  // "Growly"
  // "Genter"
  // 5
  // ["orange"]

Now, we know how to create new objects with properties, but what about an object’s methods? Let’s take a look at methods for String and Cat next.


We know that JavaScript also has a number of built-in string methods for each new String created. When we show our testGreeting2, those methods are not listed in the curly braces. This is because the constructor function is only used to create a new object’s properties.

To define methods, JavaScript uses prototypes. If we look at the methods for String on MDN again, we see that they are all listed with the notation, String.prototype. A prototype is just an object from which other objects inherit methods. So, all instances of the String constructor inherit from the String.prototype (just as all instances of Cat will inherit from Cat.prototype). When you call a method, JavaScript first looks at the methods on the object, and if it doesn’t find them there, it looks to the prototype.

Let’s take a look at how this works with our testGreeting2 string object.

We can run any of the String.prototype methods on the string testGreeting2 which currently has a value of "Hello!". Let’s try toUpperCase.

> testGreeting2.toUpperCase();

When we execute this, JavaScript first searches the properties of the testGreeting2 object. It doesn’t find it. It then goes to the String.prototype object, finds the toUpperCase method there, and processes the function as requested.

Let’s add a custom method to String.prototype:

  String.prototype.addExclamations = function () {
    return this + "!!!!!"
  // Hello!!!!!!

As soon as the new method is added, all current and future instances of String will have access to it. Now I can run testGreeting2.addExclamations() and get Hello!!!!!!.

If I create a new string, it, too, will have access to the prototype’s addExclamations method:

  let newGreeting = "Hola";
  // Hola!!!!!

We might think, why wouldn’t methods just be added to the constructor instead of having a separate prototype object? If all methods were added to the constructor, EVERY new instance of an object would create additional functions for EVERY method. By adding them to a shared prototype, the functions are created once and shared by all of the instances, which is more efficient.

Let’s look at our Cat again. We can add our original methods to the Cat.prototype so that all cats have these behaviors available to them.

Cat.prototype.speak = function () {

myCat can now speak:

  // Meow!

Every new cat will also have these methods.

  let kitty = new Cat("Kitty", ["grey, white"], 2);
  // Meow!


Every time we create a new cat using the new keyword, it calls the Cat constructor, which provides the blueprint for creating an instance of the Cat type, giving it certain properties. The new instance of the Cat type also automatically gains access to all methods defined on the shared Cat prototype.

what is array find() in JavaScript

find() finds an element in an array.

logical operators in JavaScript

Logical operators are used when doing comparisons of boolean values. if Booleans are being used it will either return true or false. If non-boolean values are used for operands if will return one of the specified operands. The logical operators look like (||), (&&) and (!).