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A closure is the combination of a function bundled together (enclosed) with references to its surrounding state (the lexical environment). In other words, a closure gives you access to an outer function’s scope from an inner function. In JavaScript, closures are created every time a function is created, at function creation time.

Closure is one of important concept in JavaScript. It is widely discussed and still confused concept.

In Simpler words Closure means that an inner function always has access to the vars and parameters of its outer function, even after the outer function has returned.

You have learned that we can create nested functions in JavaScript. Inner function can access variables and parameters of an outer function (however, cannot access arguments object of outer function). Consider the following example.

function OuterFunction() {

    var outerVariable = 1;

    function InnerFunction() {
        alert(outerVariable);
    }

    InnerFunction();
}

In the above example, InnerFunction() can access outerVariable.

Now, as per the definition above, InnerFunction() can access outerVariable even if it will be executed separately. Consider the following example.

function OuterFunction() {

    var outerVariable = 100;

    function InnerFunction() {
        alert(outerVariable);
    }

    return InnerFunction;
}
var innerFunc = OuterFunction();

innerFunc(); // 100

In the above example, return InnerFunction; returns InnerFunction from OuterFunction when you call OuterFunction(). A variable innerFunc reference the InnerFunction() only, not the OuterFunction(). So now, when you call innerFunc(), it can still access outerVariable which is declared in OuterFunction(). This is called Closure.

One important characteristic of closure is that outer variables can keep their states between multiple calls. Remember, inner function does not keep the separate copy of outer variables but it reference outer variables, that means value of the outer variables will be changed if you change it using inner function. For Example

function Counter() {
    var counter = 0;

    function IncreaseCounter() {
        return counter += 1;
    };

    return IncreaseCounter;
}

var counter = Counter();
alert(counter()); // 1
alert(counter()); // 2
alert(counter()); // 3
alert(counter()); // 4

In the above example, outer function Counter returns the reference of inner function IncreaseCounter(). IncreaseCounter increases the outer variable counter to one. So calling inner function multiple time will increase the counter to one each time.

Closure is valid in multiple levels of inner functions.

As per the closure definition, if inner function access the variables of outer function then only it is called closure.

The following is not a closure.

var Counter = (function () {
        var i = 0;
        return { counter : i += 1 };
})();

When to use Closure?
Closure is useful in hiding implementation detail in JavaScript. In other words, it can be useful to create private variables or functions.

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