picture of me, Brian Douglas

Brian Douglas


An Irish software engineer. Focused on Javascript and the web platform.

The Crockford Invocation

In this post we are going to look at some common invocation patterns used in javascript. We will then examine how they can be improved using ES6 syntax.

Now lets write a function that adds from two invocations, such that add(3)(4) results in 7.

function add(x) {
    return function (y) {
        return x + y;

add(3)(4) // 7

Now lets go slightly more complicated and write a function that takes a binary function, and makes it callable with two invocations.

This will result in something like apply(add)(2)(2) with the result being an integer.

function multiply(x, y) {
    return x * y;

function apply(fn) {
    return function(x) {
        return function(y){
            return fn(x, y);

apply(multiply)(3)(4) // 12

As you can see our code is starting to look like a pyramid of doom. We can use arrow functions to solve this problem.

Lets take the first example add(2)(2), using arrow functions this becomes a one liner.

let add = (x) => (y) => x + y;

add(3)(4) // 7

Using the same approach the more complicated example can also be reduced down to one line of code.

let multiply = (x, y) => x * y;

let apply = (fn) => (x) => (y) => fn(x, y);

apply(multiply)(3)(4) // 12

The original examples in this post are taken from this presentation by Douglas Crockford.