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This post is part of a series called JavaScript Succinctly.
The Head / Global Object

The undefined value is used by JavaScript in two slightly different ways.

The first way it's used is to indicate that a declared variable (var foo) has no assigned value. The second way it's used is to indicate that an object property you're trying to access is not defined (it has not even been named), and is not found in the prototype chain.

In the following sample, I examine both usages of undefined by JavaScript.

Sample: sample62.html

It is considered good practice to allow JavaScript alone to use undefined. You should never find yourself setting a value to undefined, as in foo = undefined. Instead, null should be used if you are specifying that a property or variable value is not available.

The undefined Variable

Unlike previous versions, JavaScript ECMA-262 Edition 3 (and later) has a global variable called undefined declared in the global scope. Because the variable is declared and not assigned a value, the undefined variable is set to undefined.

Sample: sample63.html


Having a good understanding of the undefined value is critical while working with JavaScript.

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