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JavaScript JavaScript and the DOM (Retiring) Getting a Handle on the DOM Selecting by Id

Patrick Bell
Patrick Bell
Treehouse Teacher

JavaScript and the DOM | Selecting by Id | let vs. const

Why in the code challenge for Selecting by Id in JavaScript and the DOM are we using let instead of const? In the video before this code challenge we used const. So when the challenge asked me to use let instead, it really confused me. What's the difference between the two? Why the change?

// In previous video we wrote the code 'const button = document.getElementById('sayPhrase');' 
let button = document.getElementById('sayPhrase');
let input;

button.addEventListener('click', () => {
<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>Phrase Sayer</title>
    <p><input type="text" id="phraseText"></p>
    <p><button id="sayPhrase">Say Phrase</button></p>
    <script src="js/app.js"></script>

2 Answers

This is because a constant variable without an initial value is not allowed, so the code of the challenge would be incorrect if it was:

const buttonA;
const buttonB;

This is why they use let instead, so that they can write:

let buttonA;
let buttonB;

without it giving an error, because the let variable does not have to be initialized upon creation.

Michael Liendo
Michael Liendo
15,326 Points

good point. Missed that one.

Michael Liendo
Michael Liendo
15,326 Points

Variables with the const keyword can't be modified, but down below we're modifying the button by adding the event listener. So in the previous challenge, if you were just grabbing the button, then it makes sense to make it a const, but once you start manipulating it, it should be let.

As an aside, and not to confuse you: When it comes to objects, a lot of what I just said is considered "best-practice".

Consider the following code:

const a = 3
a + 1;  //not allowed

const b = {
   name: "Michael"

b.name = "Mike"  // allowed


const c = {

//not allowed, since I'm not simply accessing the existing value and updating it, but rather creating a new object literal.
c = {
  name: "Mick"

The difference is that, when it comes to objects, since they're pass by reference, their values can be updated, but the object itself can't be replaced in memory by anything else.

Variables with the const keyword can't be modified, but down below we're modifying the button by adding the event listener.

not really true, adding an event listener does not modify the value stored in const, watch the video before the code challenge, then you will see Guil use const while still adding an event listener

Michael Liendo
Michael Liendo
15,326 Points

I was noting it as a best practice when using it with objects (dot-syntax). Though, perhaps my examples were unclear. I appreciate the feedback

Patrick Bell
Patrick Bell
Treehouse Teacher

Thank you for all the feedback First and Michael, I think I get it now! I also think it might help if I take the prerequisites for this course! :)