# Enumerations

# Enum definition using Object.freeze()

JavaScript does not directly support enumerators but the functionality of an enum can be mimicked.

// Prevent the enum from being changed
const TestEnum = Object.freeze({
// Define a variable with a value from the enum
var x = TestEnum.Two;
// Prints a value according to the variable's enum value
switch(x) {
    case TestEnum.One:

    case TestEnum.Two:

The above enumeration definition, can also be written as follows:

var TestEnum = { One: 1, Two: 2, Three: 3 }

After that you can define a variable and print like before.

# Alternate definition

The Object.freeze() method is available since version 5.1. For older versions, you can use the following code (note that it also works in versions 5.1 and later):

var ColorsEnum = {
    WHITE: 0,
    GRAY: 1,
    BLACK: 2
// Define a variable with a value from the enum
var currentColor = ColorsEnum.GRAY;

# Printing an enum variable

After defining an enum using any of the above ways and setting a variable, you can print both the variable's value as well as the corresponding name from the enum for the value. Here's an example:

// Define the enum
var ColorsEnum = { WHITE: 0, GRAY: 1, BLACK: 2 }
// Define the variable and assign a value
var color = ColorsEnum.BLACK;
if(color == ColorsEnum.BLACK) {
   console.log(color);    // This will print "2"
   var ce = ColorsEnum;
   for (var name in ce) {
     if (ce[name] == ce.BLACK)
       console.log(name);    // This will print "BLACK"

# Implementing Enums Using Symbols

As ES6 introduced Symbols (opens new window), which are both unique and immutable primitive values that may be used as the key of an Object property, instead of using strings as possible values for an enum, it's possible to use symbols.

// Simple symbol
const newSymbol = Symbol();
typeof newSymbol === 'symbol' // true

// A symbol with a label
const anotherSymbol = Symbol("label");

// Each symbol is unique
const yetAnotherSymbol = Symbol("label");
yetAnotherSymbol === anotherSymbol; // false

const Regnum_Animale    = Symbol();
const Regnum_Vegetabile = Symbol();
const Regnum_Lapideum   = Symbol();

function describe(kingdom) {

  switch(kingdom) {

    case Regnum_Animale:
        return "Animal kingdom";
    case Regnum_Vegetabile:
        return "Vegetable kingdom";
    case Regnum_Lapideum:
        return "Mineral kingdom";


// Vegetable kingdom

The Symbols in ECMAScript 6 (opens new window) article covers this new primitive type more in detail.

# Automatic Enumeration Value

This Example demonstrates how to automatically assign a value to each entry in an enum list. This will prevent two enums from having the same value by mistake. NOTE: Object.freeze browser support (opens new window)

var testEnum = function() {
    // Initializes the enumerations
    var enumList = [
    enumObj = {};
    enumList.forEach((item, index)=>enumObj[item] = index + 1); 
    // Do not allow the object to be changed
    return enumObj;

console.log(testEnum.One); // 1 will be logged

var x = testEnum.Two;

switch(x) {
    case testEnum.One:

    case testEnum.Two:
        console.log("222"); // 222 will be logged

# Remarks

In computer programming, an enumerated type (also called enumeration or enum [..]) is a data type consisting of a set of named values called elements, members or enumerators of the type. The enumerator names are usually identifiers that behave as constants in the language. A variable that has been declared as having an enumerated type can be assigned any of the enumerators as a value.

[Wikipedia: Enumerated type](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enumerated_type)

JavaScript is weakly typed, variables are not declared with a type beforehand and it does not have a native enum data type. Examples provided here may include different ways to simulate enumerators, alternatives and possible trade-offs.