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Import and Export

The new ES6 way to share JavaScript code among different modules


What Import and Export Do

ES6 introduced a standard syntax for sharing JS functionalities between files in a controlled, manageable way (such as avoiding variables leaking into global scope).

The Basics

Exporting is usually defined at the end of a file, using the final written functions or classes. A simple example exporting variable values could look like this:

const profile = {
  name: 'Max Antonucci',
  job: 'coder'

const numbers = 34234234;

export { profile, numbers }

You can then reference this file (with vanilla JS it usually takes a relative path) and import some or all of what was exported.

import { profile, numbers } from './file.js';

// Importing only some values
import { numbers } from './file.js';

// 34234234

Import All

You can quickly import all exported items into an object.

import * as data from './file.js';


Export Default

Exports let you set a default item to be exported, which can be more easily referenced and used when imported.

const numbers = 12345,
      name    = 'Max Antonucci',
      job     = 'coder';

const data = {

export {

export default data;

The default export is the object with all these values. You can import that, or import specific ones from the other export, with this setup.

import info from './file.js';   // All 'data' values are assigned to 'info'. You can call methods like 'info.name'.

import { name, job } from './file.js';   // You only have these values, and can call them directly from 'name' and 'job.'

Import with Destructuring

A common way to handle export/import reliably is the following:

  1. Export an object as the default
  2. Use JS Destructuring to import specific pieces as needed, or all of them into one variable
export default {
  prop1: 'value1',
  prop2: 'value2',
  prop3: 'value3'

import { prop1 } from './file.js';
import { prop1, prop2 } from './file.js';

import * as props from './file.js';   // props.prop1, props.prop2, etc

import { prop1, prop2 as secondProp } from './file.js';    // prop1 as normal, prop2 is assigned to secondProp