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Even if JavaScript is a loosely typed language, you might have the need to convert a value from a type to another.

In JavaScript we have those primitive types:

  • Number
  • String
  • Boolean
  • Symbol

and the object type:

  • Object

(plus null and undefined, but there’s no point in casting from/to them)

For example you might want to convert:

  • a number to a string
  • a string to a number
  • a string to a boolean
  • a boolean to a string

…and so on.

Here are the techniques you can use to convert from one type to another. I cover the most common cases.

Converting to strings

In general converting from anything to a string is usually a matter of calling the toString() method on any value, and JavaScript will create a string value corresponding to that type. Or you can pass any value to the String() global function.

Casting from number to string

Use the String global function, or the Number type toString() method:

String(10) //"10"
(10).toString() //"10"

Casting from boolean to string

Use the String global function, or the Boolean type toString() method:

String(true) //"true"
true.toString() //"true"
String(false) //"false"
false.toString() //"false"

Casting from date to string

Use the String global function, or the Date type toString() method:

String(new Date('2019-01-22'))
//"Tue Jan 22 2019 01:00:00 GMT+0100 (Central European Standard Time)"

(new Date('2019-01-22')).toString()
//"Tue Jan 22 2019 01:00:00 GMT+0100 (Central European Standard Time)"

Special cases with string

String(null) //"null"
String(undefined) //"undefined"
String(NaN) //"NaN"

Converting to numbers

Casting from string to number

We can do this by using the Number() global function, which is sort of a constructor. We can pass it a string, and JavaScript will figure out how to convert it to a number:

Number("1") //1
Number("0") //0

Strings are trimmed before being converted to numbers:

Number(" 1 ") //1

passing an empty string defaults to 0:

Number("") //0

and to have work with decimals you use a dot:

Number("12.2")

If a string contains invalid characters, it will generate a NaN.

This are the basics of converting to numbers, but I give a lot more details in how to convert a string to a number in JavaScript. There are other ways to generate numbers from string including parseInt(), parseFloat(), Math.floor(), the unary + operator.

Casting from boolean to number

Just as we did for string, passing a boolean to Number() will return either 0 or 1:

Number(true) //1
Number(false) //0

Casting from date to number

If you pass a Date object to Number(), it will return the date timestamp, which is the best date to number conversion you can get.

Special cases with number

Number(null) //0
Number(undefined) //NaN
Number(NaN) //NaN

Converting to booleans

Any value can be converted to boolean passing it to Boolean().

All values will resolve to true except:

Boolean(false) //false
Boolean(0) //false
Boolean(NaN) //false
Boolean("") //false
Boolean(null) //false
Boolean(undefined) //false

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