3.4. Output With console.log

In the Hello World section, you experimented with displaying text on the screen. Technically, you sent the words to the console, which is a simple window where the user can type commands or view output. We used a print function without explicitly talking about how it works. Let’s fix that now.

We call the print function using the syntax console.log(). When the code runs, we want it to tell the computer, Please display what is inside the () on the screen. For us, the words are enough - we want to LOG the text to the CONSOLE. However, the computer only understands binary or hexadecimal instructions. We need the compiler to change the keywords console and log into a format that the machine understands.

3.4.1. Examples

Open the repl.it link in the example below, and note the difference between the outputs:

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console.log('Hello, JavaScript.');
console.log(2001);
console.log("Spot", "the", "difference");
console.log("Spot","the","difference");
console.log('Launch' + 'Code');
console.log("LaunchCode was founded in", 2013);

Observations line by line:

  1. In the line 1, we print some text, which is surrounded by quotes.
  2. In the line 2, we print a number. Note the absence of quote marks.
  3. In line 3, we use three words, separated by commas, all within the same set of parentheses (). When these three words print, they show up on the same line but separated by spaces.
  4. The code in line 4 is just like line 3, only there are no spaces after the commas. How does this affect the output?
  5. Line 5 also prints more words, but in this case the code uses + instead of a comma. The result is to print the words without spaces in between.
  6. Line 6 prints text and a number with a space in between.

3.4.2. Two Special Characters

One final observation for all of the examples above is that each time we use console.log, a newline is inserted after the printed content. Think of a newline as the same as hitting the Enter or Return key on your keyboard. The cursor moves to the beginning of the next line.

For the computer, newline as an invisible character that is used to tell the machine to move to the next line. It is possible to use this invisible character with the special representation \n.

Try It

Experiment with the newline character.

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console.log("Some Programming Languages:");

console.log("Python\nJavaScript\nJava\nC#\nSwift");

In addition to the newline character, there is also a special tab character, \t. Go back to the eight examples above and experiment with using \t and \n.