JavaScript Variables

Variables are "containers" for storing information.

Do You Remember Algebra From School?

Do you remember algebra from school? x=5, y=6, z=x+y
Do you remember that a letter (like x) could be used to hold a value (like 5), and that you could use the information above to calculate the value of z to be 11?
These letters are called variables, and variables can be used to hold values (x=5) or expressions (z=x+y).

JavaScript Variables

As with algebra, JavaScript variables are used to hold values or expressions.
A variable can have a short name, like x, or a more descriptive name, like carname.
Rules for JavaScript variable names:
  • Variable names are case sensitive (y and Y are two different variables)
  • Variable names must begin with a letter or the underscore character
Note: Because JavaScript is case-sensitive, variable names are case-sensitive.

Declaring (Creating) JavaScript Variables

Creating variables in JavaScript is most often referred to as "declaring" variables.
You can declare JavaScript variables with the var statement:

var x;
var carname;

After the declaration shown above, the variables are empty (they have no values yet).
However, you can also assign values to the variables when you declare them:

var x=5;
var carname="Volvo";

After the execution of the statements above, the variable x will hold the value 5, and carname will hold the value Volvo.

Note: When you assign a text value to a variable, use quotes around the value.

Assigning Values to Undeclared JavaScript Variables

If you assign values to variables that have not yet been declared, the variables will automatically be declared.
These statements:


have the same effect as:

var x=5;
var carname="Volvo";

Redeclaring JavaScript Variables

If you redeclare a JavaScript variable, it will not lose its original value.

var x=5;
var x;

After the execution of the statements above, the variable x will still have the value of 5. The value of x is not reset (or cleared) when you redeclare it.

JavaScript Arithmetic

As with algebra, you can do arithmetic operations with JavaScript variables:

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