Recursive Functions in JavaScript: Advantages and Syntax

Apr 1st, 2023

Recursive Functions in JavaScript: Advantages and Syntax


What is recursion in Javascript?

Recursion is a programming pattern found in various programming languages, such as Javascript. This feature allows for the creation of a function that repeatedly calls itself with a smaller input until the desired result is reached.

However, a recursive function must include a stopping condition to prevent endless calling.

Benefits of using Recursion

Recursion can be helpful in many situations where you will almost find these benefits of using recursion:

  • Readability: Recursion can be a more natural way to express a problem or algorithm. It can make the code easier to read and understand, especially when the problem has a recursive nature.

  • Simplicity: In some cases, recursion can help you simplify the code and make it easier to write and maintain.

  • Reusability: Recursive functions can be used as building blocks for other functions and can increase the reusability of the code.

Recursion can be highly advantageous in multiple scenarios, resulting in reduced code length, improved code readability, and most significantly, time savings during code writing and debugging.

Syntax of recursion in Javascript

The syntax for recursion in JavaScript is as follows:

function functionName(parameters) {
  if (condition) {
    // Normal case
    return someValue;
  } else {
    // Recursive case
    return functionName(modifiedParameters);

Applying recursion in Javascript code

For example, let’s say you want to get the product of the elements in an array. The first thing that comes to your mind is to use the for loop to accomplish the task.

However, using recursion, you can achieve the same result more elegantly and efficiently. Here’s how you can apply recursion to get the product of an array in JavaScript:

function getProduct(arr) {
  if (arr.length === 0) {
    return 1; // normal case
  } else {
    const [first,] = arr;
    return first * getProduct(rest); // recursive case

If the array is empty, the function returns 1.

If the array is not empty, the function proceeds to the recursive case. The function then multiplies the first element with the result of calling itself recursively with the rest of the array, until the normal case is reached.

To use this function, you can pass an array of numbers as an argument, like this:

const arr = [2, 3, 4, 5];
const result = getProduct(arr); // returns 120

In this case, the getProduct() function multiplies all the elements of the array together and returns the final result, which is 120.


In conclusion, recursion is a powerful programming pattern in JavaScript that can simplify code, increase reusability, and improve readability.

It is particularly useful for solving problems with recursive nature, and it can save time during code writing and debugging. By understanding the syntax and advantages of using recursion, developers can apply it to their code and achieve more elegant and efficient solutions.

Thank you for reading the article. I hope you have gained new knowledge from it.