3.61 Variable Scope

Watch the video course


What you'll learn:

  • Defined variables scope
  • Function variables cope
  • Function parameter scope


Let’s look at an important concept in JavaScript, scope.

In our code, we defined a variable animationControls, and we used it in various places such as in our handleDrag function and Skinny's cheek <Frame>.

However, if we try to use animationControls outside of function App, we get a ReferenceError since animationControls is not defined.

You may say that’s because we were trying to use the variable before it’s created since it’s above the definition, but that's not the case. If we move animationControls outside of App and at the very bottom of our file, we still get the same error.

scope error

The reason is that the variable animationControls is defined inside the function App. You can imagine App's pair of curly brackets as the walls of a room without windows. If we are not in the room, we cannot see what’s inside. Therefore, we got errors because we were outside the room.

Now, why can we use animationControls inside handleDrag? Isn’t this another room? Why don’t the walls block us from seeing this variable?

Yes, that is another room, inside a bigger room, but the walls here are one-way mirrors. We can see outside — App— but those who are outside cannot see what’s inside — handleDrag.

That’s why we can use animationControls even though it’s not defined inside handleDrag.

This works for multiple embedded curly brackets as well.

For example, if we define a variable outside of the function App,

let sliderWidth = 280

function App(){

We can use it inside function App, such as in our frames.

let sliderWidth = 280

function App(){
  // slider bar
<Frame> }

We can also use sliderWidth in our handleDrag function due to our "one-way windows".

let sliderWidth = 280

function App(){
  let animationControls = useAnimation()
  function handleDrag(event, info) {
    let newScale = transform(info.point.x, [0, 220],[0.4, 1.5])
    animationControls.start({scale: newScale})
} ... }

The technical term for the range where a variable is visible is scope.

The scope of sliderWidth is most of this file below its definition because it was defined outside of App.

Function variables scope

The scope of newScale is just inside the handleDrag function.

That’s why we’ll get an error if we try to use newScale outside handleDrag.

Function parameters Scope

Function parameters are like variables as well, even though we don’t define them with let. Their scope is inside the function.


Now we know what the scope of variables is. You can think of the pair of curly brackets like the walls of a room. The walls are one-way mirrors. We can see the outside from within a room, but those who are outside won’t see anything inside.

In the next post, we'll fix some bugs in our slider!