JavaScript IIFE (Immediately Invoked Function Expression)

An Immediately Invoked Function Expression (IIFE) is a JavaScript design pattern that allows you to define and execute a function immediately upon its declaration. It's a way of creating and running a function without explicitly naming or calling it:

(function() {
    console.log('Hello World!');
  1. A function expression is wrapped in parentheses: (function() { ... }). The parentheses are necessary because they turn the function declaration into a function expression. Without them, the JavaScript interpreter would treat it as a function declaration and throw a syntax error.
  2. The final pair of parentheses: (). These parentheses are what actually call and execute the function. They're placed right after the function expression to invoke it immediately.

Practical Example of Using IIFE

Example:Counter Module

Suppose we want to create a simple counter module that exposes methods to increment and display the current count, without exposing the internal count variable. We can use IIFE to create a module that encapsulates the count and step and exposes the necessary methods.

const counter = (function() {
    let count = 0;
    let step = 1;

    function increment(newStep) {
        if(newStep) { step = newStep; }
        count += step;

    function display() {
        console.log(`Current count: ${count}`);

    return {

counter.display();   // prints: "Current count: 1"
counter.display();   // prints: "Current count: 4"
counter.display();   // prints: "Current count: 7"

Notice that any new increment value (newStep) passed to the increment function is being stored and used in subsequest increments (when no increment value is provided).

Example: One-time Event Listener

Suppose we want to add an event listener to a button that should only execute once and then remove itself - an IIFE can be used to create a self-contained event listener function:

<button id="myBtn">One time action</button>
(function() {
    const btn = document.getElementById('myBtn');
    if(!btn) { return; }
    function handleClick() {
        console.log('One time click done!');
        btn.removeEventListener('click', handleClick);

    btn.addEventListener('click', handleClick);

Example: Configuration Setup

Imagine we have a configuration object that we need to set up with default values and some initial processing. We can use IIFE to create a self-contained setup function that initialises the configuration object:

const config = {};

(function() {
    function setDefaults() {
        config.apiKey = 'YOUR_API_KEY';
        config.apiUrl = '';
        config.timeout = 5000;

    // Initial config processing
    function processSettings() {
        console.log(`Configuring with API key: ${config.apiKey}`);


// prints: { apiKey: 'YOUR_API_KEY', 
//           apiUrl: '', 
//           timeout: 5000 }

Why Use IIFE?

There are several reasons why you might want to use an IIFE in your JavaScript code:

  1. Encapsulation and scoping: IIFE creates a new scope, which means any variables declared within the function will not be accessible outside of it. This can help prevent variable name collisions and keeps the global scope clean.
  2. Privacy: Since variables and functions declared inside an IIFE are not accessible from outside, they remain private. This is useful when you want to create a module or a piece of code with a well-defined interface while hiding its internal implementation details.
  3. Self-contained code: IIFE can be useful when you want to create a self-contained piece of code that doesn't rely on external variables or functions. This can be helpful for code organization and maintainability.

Take away

IIFE is a powerful JavaScript pattern that provides encapsulation, privacy, and self-contained code. By understanding the syntax and use cases of IIFE, you can write cleaner, more maintainable, and more modular JavaScript code.