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Copy by value vs copy by reference

Swastik Yadav
June 18th, 2021 · 1 min read

Hello Everyone

When we copy a datatype in JavaScript, there are two different ways the datatype can be copied - by value or by reference.

In this post we will explore what it means to copy by value and copy by reference.

Copy by value

All primitive datatypes are copied by value. Let’s see an example.

1let string1 = "Hello";
3let string2 = string1;
5console.log(string1, string2);
6// Hello Hello
8string1 = "World";
10console.log(string1, string2);
11// World Hello

In the above code string2 copies the value of string1, and when value of string1 changes it does not affect the copied value of string2 because both string1 and string2 refers to different points in memory.


That’s what it means to copy by value.

Copy by reference

Objects are copied by reference. Let’s see an example.

1let person1 = {
2 name: "Swastik",
3 age: 22,
6let person2 = person1;
8console.log(person1["name"], person2["name"]);
9// Swastik Swastik
11person1["name"] = "Rahul";
13console.log(person1["name"], person2["name"]);
14// Rahul Rahul

In the above code snippet person2 copies the reference of person1, so when person1 changes it also affects the person2 because both person1 and person2 refers to the same point in memory.


That’s what it means to copy by reference.

If you want to learn more about duplicating and cloning JavaScript primitives and objects, please read this article - Shallow cloning vs Deep cloning

Thank You, for reading. If you found this post helpful please do share and subscribe to my newsletter below or here.

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