for...of

A common error experienced by beginning JavaScript developers is that for...in for an array does not iterate over the array items. Instead it iterates over the keys of the object passed in. This is demonstrated in the below example. Here you would expect 9,2,5 but you get the indexes 0,1,2:

var someArray = [9, 2, 5];
for (var item in someArray) {
console.log(item); // 0,1,2
}

This is one of the reasons why for...of exists in TypeScript (and ES6). The following iterates over the array correctly logging out the members as expected:

var someArray = [9, 2, 5];
for (var item of someArray) {
console.log(item); // 9,2,5
}

Similarly TypeScript has no trouble going through a string character by character using for...of:

var hello = "is it me you're looking for?";
for (var char of hello) {
console.log(char); // is it me you're looking for?
}

JS Generation

For pre ES6 targets TypeScript will generate the standard for (var i = 0; i < list.length; i++) kind of loop. For example here's what gets generated for our previous example:

var someArray = [9, 2, 5];
for (var item of someArray) {
console.log(item);
}
// becomes //
for (var _i = 0; _i < someArray.length; _i++) {
var item = someArray[_i];
console.log(item);
}

You can see that using for...of makes intent clearer and also decreases the amount of code you have to write (and variable names you need to come up with).

Limitations

If you are not targeting ES6 or above, the generated code assumes the property length exists on the object and that the object can be indexed via numbers e.g. obj[2]. So it is only supported on string and array for these legacy JS engines.

If TypeScript can see that you are not using an array or a string it will give you a clear error "is not an array type or a string type";

let articleParagraphs = document.querySelectorAll("article > p");
// Error: Nodelist is not an array type or a string type
for (let paragraph of articleParagraphs) {
paragraph.classList.add("read");
}

Use for...of only for stuff that you know to be an array or a string. Note that this limitation might be removed in a future version of TypeScript.

Summary

You would be surprised at how many times you will be iterating over the elements of an array. The next time you find yourself doing that, give for...of a go. You might just make the next person who reviews your code happy.