JS Prototype Methods, Objects Without `__proto__`

In web development, JavaScript is a fundamental technology that enables the creation of dynamic, interactive web applications. Among its many advanced features, understanding prototype methods and objects is essential for developers who want to fully utilize JavaScript's capabilities. This article explores the complexities of prototype-based inheritance and how to handle objects without the __proto__ property, equipping you with the knowledge to write more efficient and sturdy JavaScript code.

For more on prototypes, see JavaScript: Prototypal Inheritance and Beyond

Objects Without __proto__

The __proto__ property is a historical getter/setter for an object's prototype. However, manipulating prototypes directly with __proto__ is deprecated in favor of more modern and standardized methods.

Creating Objects Without __proto__

To create objects without directly using the __proto__ property, you can use Object.create(null). This method creates a new object with no prototype.

const objWithoutProto = Object.create(null); console.log(objWithoutProto.__proto__); // Outputs: undefined

This object doesn’t inherit any properties or methods, including basic methods from Object.prototype like toString or hasOwnProperty, making it an ideal "dictionary" type object, free from inherited key conflicts.

Adding Methods to Objects Without __proto__

To add methods to such objects, you directly assign them as properties.

const objWithoutProto = Object.create(null); objWithoutProto.sayHello = function() { return "Hello, world!"; }; console.log(objWithoutProto.sayHello()); // Outputs: Hello, world!

Inheriting From Objects Without __proto__

For objects without a prototype, you cannot use traditional prototype-based inheritance. However, you can still compose objects to achieve similar functionality. This involves assigning the methods and properties directly to the new object or using Object.assign() to copy properties from one object to another.

const baseObject = Object.create(null); baseObject.sayHello = function() { return "Hello, world!"; }; const newObject = Object.assign(Object.create(null), baseObject); console.log(newObject.sayHello()); // Outputs: Hello, world!

Best Practices and Performance

Working with JavaScript's prototype system, especially concerning objects without the __proto__ property, requires a nuanced understanding of the language's inheritance mechanisms. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Use Object.create(null) sparingly: While objects without prototypes are useful in specific scenarios, they lack basic object functionality. Use them when you truly need an object without inherited properties.
  • Favor composition over inheritance: Instead of creating deep inheritance chains, consider composing objects from smaller, reusable pieces. This approach can lead to more maintainable and flexible code.
  • Understand the prototype chain: Be aware of the prototype chain and its impact on property lookup performance. Deep prototype chains can affect performance due to longer lookup times.


Understanding prototype methods and managing objects without the __proto__ property is crucial for advanced JavaScript development. By mastering these concepts, you can write more efficient, clean, and maintainable code. Remember, JavaScript's strength lies in its flexibility and the robustness of its object-oriented features. Use these capabilities wisely to create sophisticated web applications that stand out in the digital landscape.

Practice Your Knowledge

What does JavaScript allow to create, remove and manage prototype methods and objects without __proto__?

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