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console.clear in Javascript 6 JavaScript console methods like Taylor Swift folklore lyrics

lizziepika profile image Lizzie Siegle ・5 min read

If you do web development, you've probably used console.log at least once (or over a thousand times...who's counting?) because that's the best debugging method! But did you know there are other console methods? Taylor Swift's most recent album folklore is chock full of pensive metaphors, allusions, and symbolism, and this post will liken some of those lyrics to 6 lesser-known JavaScript console methods.

What exactly is the console?

The console is a global object letting developers access the debugging console. It has a plethora of methods that make it easier to log statements, variables, functions, errors, and more--oh my!

6 console methods that are like folklore lyrics

1. console.log = "But it would've been fun // If you would've been the one"

console.log is the most commonly-used method. Used for general purpose logging, it displays the message passed to it in the web console. Did you know you can decorate it with CSS?

console.log("%cWARNING: you will be obsessed with folklore", "font: 2em sans-serif; color: yellow; background-color: red;");

output console.log css
Log is simple, reliable, and gets the job done, but it is overused, taking all the attention from similar console methods that do more. Log would've been fun if it had been the one, or the only console method you need--but as this post will show, you will have more fun with the other console methods!

2. console.table = "I'm a mirrorball // I'll show you every version of yourself tonight"

The table method takes either an object or an array and logs that input as a table, making it look cleaner: it's like a nicer version of log. Like a mirrorball, table can show different versions of the input by accepting an optional parameter columns to select a subset of columns to display.

Each element in the array (or each enumerable property if the data is an object) will be a row in the table. The JavaScript code below has an object and you can see the output that initially uses log.

function Album(name, year, numSongs) {
    this.name = name;
    this.year = year;
    this.numSongs = numSongs;
  }
  const fearless = new Album("Fearless", 2008, 13);
  const speakNow = new Album("Speak Now", 2010, 19);
  const folklore = new Album("folklore", 2020, 16);
  console.log([fearless, speakNow, folklore]);

console.log of an object
That's nice, but the output of table when given an array looks nicer:

console.table([fearless, speakNow, folklore]);

console.table of an object
Accepting a columns parameter like console.table([fearless, speakNow, folklore], ["name"]); would show:
console.table with extra columns parameter
You could also pass it (instead of name) year or numSongs--like mirrorball, table can show you every version of its input!

3. console.assert = "If you never bleed, you're never gonna grow"

console.assert(expression, message) only prints if the expression is false. Taylor Swift's lyric "If you never bleed, you're never gonna grow" from the song the 1 agrees--if you never bleed, or fail, or are incorrect sometimes, you will never grow. assert shows that by being false, you can grow as a developer because you can fix your error that the console so kindly helps you with by making the assertion a nice red.

const numFolkloreSongs = 16;
const num1989Songs = 13;
console.assert(numFolkloreSongs > num1989Songs, 'folklore has more songs than 1989'); //won't run
console.assert(num1989Songs + 3 > numFolkloreSongs, 'the number of songs on 1989 + 3 is not greater than the number of folklore songs');

assertion failed

4. console.time/console.timeEnd = "Time, mystical time/Cutting me open, then healing me fine."

console.time() creates a timer to see how long some operation takes. It can take an optional parameter of a name or label to distinguish between up to 10,000 timers on a web page.

console.timeEnd() stops the timer, displaying the result in the console.

Time can be rough--it can cut you open, but it can also heal you and make you feel better.

console.time('sms timer');
let x = 0;
while (x < 3) {
  console.log("They told me all of my cages were mental/So I got wasted like all my potential");
  x+=1;
}
console.timeEnd('sms timer');

console.time
If there was no label passed to console.time(), it would log default instead of sms timer.

5. console.clear: “And if I’m dead to you, why are you at the wake?”

console.clear is short, sweet, and succinct. It clears the console and in some environments, may print a message like "Console was cleared".

The lyric “And if I’m dead to you, why are you at the wake?” is melancholy but has some bite to it: it is perfect for when you want to end a conversation and, as with clear, you can start over, start afresh.

6. console.group/console.groupEnd ="And isn't it just so pretty to think all along there was some invisible string tying you to me?"

console.group signifies the start of an inline message group and console.groupEnd marks the end of it. If the group contains logs, they are printed as a group, so the format is cleaner and you can more easily tell what the group contains.

It is like there is some invisible string (or console command) tying items in the group together.

console.group("folklore");
console.log("the 1");
console.log("cardigan");
console.log("the last great american dynasty");
console.log("invisible string");
console.log("my tears ricochet");
console.groupEnd();
console.log("outside");

group

What's next for the console?

tswift so good gif
There are so many other console methods not included here (in part because they do not relate to Taylor Swift lyrics as much.) For more information on console methods, check out the Mozilla Developer Network docs on web technologies. Let me know your favorite or least favorite folklore songs online or in the comments!

  1. Twitter: @lizziepika
  2. GitHub: elizabethsiegle
  3. Email: lsiegle@twilio.com

Discussion

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lifelongthinker profile image
Sebastian

Haha, love the Swiftness of this post.

Off topic: Really, have to admit that Folklore left me a bit disappointed. I love seeing TS going back to her roots (she was a superb country singer back in the days), but her latest album (to me) is a let down. Every other album used to get better with each time I listened to them, this one does not. Just doesn't. ☹️

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lizziepika profile image
Lizzie Siegle Author

It is a bit sad for me, but as someone who's recently begun getting into both reading and writing again, I really appreciate the metaphors and symbolism and layers to the folklore lyrics. I see where you're coming from as I'm just a huge fan of some of her more upbeat songs and albums haha

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leob profile image
leob

Maybe the album is just stronger lyrically than melodically ... speaking for myself, when it comes to music I'm always falling for the sounds and the melodies, much less for the lyrics ... if I want a good story then I'll just read a book :-)

(well a lot of music is instrumental so doesn't even have lyrics)

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carlosds profile image
Karel De Smet

Entertaining read, thanks!
I guess most people know about console.table but still haven't really used it. Undoubtedly, there are plenty of use cases but we're so used to console.logging that it's probably more like a last resort.

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leob profile image
leob

Incredible! TBH I skipped over the Taylor Swift metaphors (very nifty though) but the fact that all these console methods exist (and that at least 90% of devs are not aware of them) is amazing.

(console.time/console.timeEnd is a gem, and so is console.assert)

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jalal246 profile image
Jalal 🚀

and you don't need to be Taylor fan to implement it 😂

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pengeszikra profile image
Peter Vivo

Great post! Maybe console.dir also come handy special on DOM element. But console.assert is really helpful I never know about.

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katnel20 profile image
Katie Nelson

So good, Lizzie!

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lizziepika profile image
Lizzie Siegle Author

Thank you, Katie! Had a lot of fun writing it haha

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tayariqueens13 profile image
𝔗𝔞𝔶𝔩𝔬𝔯 & ɐuɐᴉɹ∀ 🅴

I'm not a developer and I don't code, I just clicked because I saw Taylor Swift name 😂 but this would SO be me as a developer tho.✌🏻

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lizziepika profile image
Lizzie Siegle Author

LOL now you can be a developer by using some of these too <3 :D

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paulasantamaria profile image
Paula Santamaría

Great post!
I was wondering if these can also be used to improve logging in node.js, and apparently they can. I'll definitely play around with these later.

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zoedreams profile image
☮️✝️☪️🕉☸️✡️☯️

Thats awesome/

give that gir a cooki