TypeScript Private Members Access Issue in JavaScript: Explained

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  1. Understanding TypeScript Private Members Access Issue in JavaScript

Understanding TypeScript Private Members Access Issue in JavaScript

When it comes to object-oriented programming, encapsulation is a fundamental principle. Encapsulation allows us to hide the implementation details of an object, making it easier to maintain and modify.

In TypeScript, we have the ability to define private and protected members of a class. Private members are only accessible within the class, while protected members can be accessed within the class and its subclasses.

However, when TypeScript code is compiled to JavaScript, private members are not truly private. This means that private members can still be accessed from outside the class, which can cause unexpected behavior and security issues.

Let's take a look at an example:


class BankAccount {
    private balance: number;
  
    constructor(initialBalance: number) {
        this.balance = initialBalance;
    }
  
    public deposit(amount: number) {
        this.balance += amount;
    }
  
    public withdraw(amount: number) {
        if (amount > this.balance) {
            throw new Error('Insufficient balance');
        }
    
        this.balance -= amount;
    }
}

const account = new BankAccount(1000);

// This line should not be allowed
account.balance = 0;

In this example, we have a BankAccount class with a private balance member. We then create a new instance of the class and attempt to set the balance to 0 from outside the class.

Even though balance is marked private, it is still accessible from outside the class. This can be a serious issue, especially if the private member contains sensitive information.

To avoid this issue, we can use a naming convention to indicate that a member should be treated as private. In TypeScript, we can prefix the member name with an underscore to indicate that it should not be accessed from outside the class.

Let's update our example to use the naming convention:


class BankAccount {
    private _balance: number;
  
    constructor(initialBalance: number) {
        this._balance = initialBalance;
    }
  
    public deposit(amount: number) {
        this._balance += amount;
    }
  
    public withdraw(amount: number) {
        if (amount > this._balance) {
            throw new Error('Insufficient balance');
        }
    
        this._balance -= amount;
    }
}

const account = new BankAccount(1000);

// This line will now cause a compiler error
account._balance = 0;

By prefixing the balance member with an underscore, we indicate that it should not be accessed from outside the class. This will cause a compiler error if we attempt to access it from outside the class.

In conclusion, while TypeScript private members are not truly private in JavaScript, we can use naming conventions to indicate that they should not be accessed from outside the class. By doing so, we can prevent unexpected behavior and security issues in our code.

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