JavaScript Christmas

Don't break the web

A 2 minute read written by
Nicolai August Hagen

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Did you know that you can reload the current webpage in over 500 different ways?

Many years have passed since your (grand) parents surfed the web with Netscape Navigator, or Internet Explorer was actually used by the people of the web. Browsers have not always had the same version, and neither have the various web standards.

Reloading the window in JS

In order to NOT break existing websites, old syntax has never been removed when new features are added. This makes JavaScript extra exotic for experienced developers, but quirky and cumbersome for new ones.

For example, did you know that JavaScript has at least 500 different ways to reload a window?!

10 randomly picked examples

location = location
location = window.location['href']
location.href = location
self.location['href'] = self.location.href
self['location']['href'] = self.location

This is simply insane!

Or, you could go for the even crazier approach:


(hint: run it in the console)

As you can see, these quirks are caused by the fact that the JavaScript language allows for different ways to write essentially equivalent code. Here’s an example:

location.href = location versus location['href'] = location

where both snippets in practice does the exact same thing.

Discussing which one of the 500+ ways to reload is the best is like discussing wheter you should use Emacs or Vim, or Flow or TypeScript. The most important thing, I guess, is readabiliy - making sure you and all co-developers understand.

So perhaps not the self['location']['assign'](window['location']) part.

Oh, by the way. Almost forgot. Caused by the fresh off-the-shelf history API, we now got even more ways to reload a window in JavaScript. After all, we don't want to break the web?

Tomorrow, choose one of the 500+ ways to reload the window to get the latest hatch of the JavaScript advent calendar.

window.history.go(0), JavaScript !

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