by Sanket Meghani

Introducing the new features that ECMAScript 2016 (ES7) adds to JavaScript

Since ECMAScript 2015 (also known as ES6) was released, it has introduced a huge set of new features. They include arrow functions, sets, maps, classes and destructuring, and much more. In many ways, ES2015 is almost like learning a new version of JavaScript.

Ecma Technical Committee 39 governs the ECMA specification. They decided to release a new version of ECMAScript every year starting in 2015. A yearly update means no more big releases like ES6.

ECMAScript 2016 introduced only two new features:

  • Array.prototype.includes()
  • Exponentiation operator


Array.prototype.includes() checks the array for the value passed as an argument. It returns true if the array contains the value, otherwise, it returns false.

Before, we needed to use Array.prototype.indexOf() to check if the given array contains an element or not.

let numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4];
if(numbers.indexOf(2) !== -1) {  console.log('Array contains value');}

With ECMA2016, we can write:

if(numbers.includes(2)) {  console.log('Array contains value');}

Array.prototype.includes() handles NaN better than Array.prototype.indexOf(). If the array contains NaN, then indexOf() does not return a correct index while searching for NaN.

Array.prototype.includes() returns the correct value when searching for NaN.

NaN is a property of the JavaScript global object and represents a value that is Not-a-Number. There are known quirks when comparing NaN to another value. These are addressed in Array.prototype.includes(), but not in Array.protoype.indexOf.

let numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, NaN];
console.log(numbers.indexOf(NaN)); //Prints -1console.log(numbers.includes(NaN)); //Prints true

Exponentiation Operator

JavaScript already supports many arithmetic operators like +, -, * and more.

ECMAScript 2016 introduced the exponentiation operator, **.

It has the same purpose as Math.pow(). It returns the first argument raised to the power of the second argument.

let base = 3;let exponent = 4;let result = base**exponent;
console.log(result); //81


New features introduced by ECMA2016 provide convenient alternatives to existing functionalities.

Looking ahead, ECMA2017 was finalized in June of this year. New features include async/await, SharedArrayBuffer and some useful methods to Object.prototype.