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Nested string interpolation in JavaScript

A quick look at how nested string interpolation within template literals is possible with ES6

April 27, 2020 · 1 min read

4.5 years ago I wrote a blog post on template literals as part of my Learning ES6 series. I went into lots of details about how template literals work, including string interpolation. Since then, I’ve thrown away string concatenation in favor of using string interpolation. In fact there’s even a ESLint rule, prefer-template, that enforces using template literals instead of string concatenation.

I’ve been working on updating my blog (super close to relaunch!), and I recently ran into a problem that I hadn’t covered in the original blog post. It was around nested template literals. Here’s the example expression with string concatenation:

const fullLocation = location + (venue ? ' (' + venue + ')' : '')

I want a string that looks like Houston, Texas (Toyota Center). But if no venue is specified, then just Houston, Texas.

It turns out that if you want to do the same thing with template literals and string interpolation, it becomes nested interpolation:

const fullLocation = `${location}${venue ? ` (${venue})` : ''}`

And it turns out that that Just Works™. I was afraid that the second backtick to start the nested interpolation would be parsed as the closing backtick from the beginning, but apparently once you’re inside of a ${ } expression another set of backticks can be used!

To be honest, it’s a bit gnarly to read. I should probably break it up into two expressions like:

const locationSuffix = venue ? ` (${venue})` : ''
const fullLocation = `${location}${locationSuffix}`

But it’s still pretty cool to know that I’ve got nested string interpolation in my tool bag.

Keep learning my friends. 🤓

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Hi, I'm Ben Ilegbodu. 👋🏾

I'm a Christian, husband, and father of 3, with 15+ years of professional experience developing user interfaces for the Web. I'm a Principal Frontend Engineer at Stitch Fix, frontend development teacher, Google Developer Expert, and Microsoft MVP. I love helping developers level up their frontend skills.

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