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Understanding TypeScript's Read-Only Properties

Posted on:July 9, 2023

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Understanding Type Inference with Variables

Let’s start by examining a simple scenario with a variable named “age.” When declared using “let,” TypeScript infers it as a mutable number, allowing for reassignment.

let age = 25;
age = 30; // Works fine

However, if we declare “age” as a “const,” TypeScript not only prevents reassignment but also infers a literal type.

const age = 40;
// age = 50; // Error: 50 is not assignable to type 40

Here, TypeScript recognizes “age” as the literal type 31, providing a more stringent form of type checking.

The same principle applies to strings.

Arrays and Objects

Array and object manipulation introduces additional complexities. In the case of arrays, even when declared as a “const,” individual elements can still be modified.

const tsPeople = ["Bod", "Kevin"];
tsPeople[0] = "Jakob"; // Works fine

To enforce immutability for each array member, use “as const”

const tsPeople = ["Bod", "Kevin"] as const;
// tsPeople[0] = "Jakob"; // Error: Index signature in type 'readonly ["Bod", "Kevin"]' prohibits assignment

Similar principles apply to objects

const team = { dev: "Kevin" }; = "Jakob"; // Works fine

To lock down both the object itself and its properties, use “as const”.

const team = { dev: "Kevin" } as const; = "Jakob"; // // Error: Cannot assign to 'dev' because it is a constant


Developing a comprehensive understanding of how TypeScript infers types and handles immutability is crucial for effective type checking and inference. By embracing read-only properties and employing “as const” judiciously, developers can enhance the reliability and robustness of their TypeScript code.