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TypeScript Classes


TypeScript adds types and visibility modifiers to JavaScript classes.

Learn more about JavaScript classes here.


Members: Types

The members of a class (properties & methods) are typed using type annotations, similar to variables.

Example

class Person {
  name: string;
}

const person = new Person();
person.name = "Jane";
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Members: Visibility

Class members also be given special modifiers which affect visibility.

There are three main visibility modifiers in TypeScript.

  • public - (default) allows access to the class member from anywhere
  • private - only allows access to the class member from within the class
  • protected - allows access to the class member from itself and any classes that inherit it, which is covered in the inheritance section below

Example

class Person {
  private name: string;

  public constructor(name: string) {
    this.name = name;
  }

  public getName(): string {
    return this.name;
  }
}

const person = new Person("Jane");
console.log(person.getName()); // person.name isn't accessible from outside the class since it's private
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The this keyword in a class usually refers to the instance of the class. Read more about this here.

Parameter Properties

TypeScript provides a convenient way to define class members in the constructor, by adding a visibility modifiers to the parameter.

Example

class Person {
  // name is a private member variable
  public constructor(private name: string) {}

  public getName(): string {
    return this.name;
  }
}

const person = new Person("Jane");
console.log(person.getName());
Try it Yourself »

Readonly

Similar to arrays, the readonly keyword can prevent class members from being changed.

Example

class Person {
  private readonly name: string;

  public constructor(name: string) {
    // name cannot be changed after this initial definition, which has to be either at it's declaration or in the constructor.
    this.name = name;
  }

  public getName(): string {
    return this.name;
  }
}

const person = new Person("Jane");
console.log(person.getName());
Try it Yourself »

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Inheritance: Implements

Interfaces (covered here) can be used to define the type a class must follow through the implements keyword.

Example

interface Shape {
  getArea: () => number;
}

class Rectangle implements Shape {
  public constructor(protected readonly width: number, protected readonly height: number) {}

  public getArea(): number {
    return this.width * this.height;
  }
}
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A class can implement multiple interfaces by listing each one after implements, separated by a comma like so: class Rectangle implements Shape, Colored {

Inheritance: Extends

Classes can extend each other through the extends keyword. A class can only extends one other class.

Example

interface Shape {
  getArea: () => number;
}

class Rectangle implements Shape {
  public constructor(protected readonly width: number, protected readonly height: number) {}

  public getArea(): number {
    return this.width * this.height;
  }
}

class Square extends Rectangle {
  public constructor(width: number) {
    super(width, width);
  }

  // getArea gets inherited from Rectangle
}
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Override

When a class extends another class, it can replace the members of the parent class with the same name.

Newer versions of TypeScript allow explicitly marking this with the override keyword.

Example

interface Shape {
  getArea: () => number;
}

class Rectangle implements Shape {
  // using protected for these members allows access from classes that extend from this class, such as Square
  public constructor(protected readonly width: number, protected readonly height: number) {}

  public getArea(): number {
    return this.width * this.height;
  }

  public toString(): string {
    return `Rectangle[width=${this.width}, height=${this.height}]`;
  }
}

class Square extends Rectangle {
  public constructor(width: number) {
    super(width, width);
  }

  // this toString replaces the toString from Rectangle
  public override toString(): string {
    return `Square[width=${this.width}]`;
  }
}
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By default the override keyword is optional when overriding a method, and only helps to prevent accidentally overriding a method that does not exist. Use the setting noImplicitOverride to force it to be used when overriding.

Abstract Classes

Classes can be written in a way that allows them to be used as a base class for other classes without having to implement all the members. This is done by using the abstract keyword. Members that are left unimplemented also use the abstract keyword.

Example

abstract class Polygon {
  public abstract getArea(): number;

  public toString(): string {
    return `Polygon[area=${this.getArea()}]`;
  }
}

class Rectangle extends Polygon {
  public constructor(protected readonly width: number, protected readonly height: number) {
    super();
  }

  public getArea(): number {
    return this.width * this.height;
  }
}
Try it Yourself »
Abstract classes cannot be directly instantiated, as they do not have all their members implemented.

TypeScript Exercises

Test Yourself With Exercises

Exercise:

Specify that Person.name can only be accessed within the class, but that the method Person.getName() can be accessed anywhere:

class Person {
  name: string;

 public constructor(name: string) {
  this.name = name;
 }

  getName(): string {
  return this.name;
 }
}

Start the Exercise