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JavaScript template literals

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The how and why you should use template literals in JavaScript

9 Nov, 2020 ยท 3 min read

Something cool that was introduced in JavaScript ES6 is Template Literals.

You might wonder, what the hell are Template Literals, Chris, and more importantly, why do I even need them?

Template Literals are a speedy and widely adopted new way of defining strings.

Besides that, they come with some extra new and handy methods. I will showcase some examples of the changes between the old and new ways.

Difference between strings and template literals

If we want to define a string in JavaScript, we can do that using quotes, either single (') or double (") quotes.

const myString = 'Cool I can be anything';
const otherString = 'Me too!';

We can do the same with template literals but using a backtick (`).

const templateLiteral = `I can also be a string`;

Ok, but that almost looks the same, so what makes them so great?

Template literals can be multiline

Creating a multiline string was always an issue when it came to JavaScript. We had to include a \n or use multiple strings.

const multi =
  'Hello\
Also hello';
console.log(multi);
// 'HelloAlso hello'

const multi = 'Hello \n Also hello';
console.log(multi);
// 'Hello
// Also hello'

As you can see, this can be super annoying to include these \n escapes everywhere.

With template literals, this is way easier. We can type multiple lines.

const multi = `Hi

Yes I'm on multiple lines
How cool`;
console.log(multi);
//"Hi
//
//Yes I'm on multiple lines
//How cool"

Ok, that's a big pro already!

It can handle variables

Another thing that annoys you as a developer is that you must escape the string to use a variable.

console.log('What is 2 + 3: ' + (2 + 3) + '!');
//'What is 2 + 3: 5!'

Jeez, such a hassle to include a simple variable or function.

With template literals, we can use variables using this syntax ${variable}.

console.log(`What is 2 + 3: ${2 + 3}!`);
//'What is 2 + 3: 5!'

Oh, wow, way shorted and easier on the eyes already!

Another great example and everyday use-case would be expressions.

Let's say we have a dynamic class we need to add.

With regular string, we have to escape or break this in two separate ways.

let bodyClass = 'body ' + (isLargeScreen() ? 'large' : 'small');
console.log(bodyClass);
// 'body large'

With template literals, this can be made more accessible.

let bodyClass = `body ${isLargeScreen() ? 'large' : 'small'}`;
console.log(bodyClass);
// 'body large'

So with this being said, create a habit of using template literals. It will make your life so much easier.

Thank you for reading, and let's connect!

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