How can I return a class from a TypeScript function?

I’m using TypeScript with a dependency injection library which works very similar to Angular 1 – basically: register a factory with your dependencies as arguments.

This is how I would register a class in ES6

export let factory = () => {
    return class Foo {}
};

If I write the same in TypeScript:

export let factory = () => {
    return class Foo {}
};

It fails to compile with the error

error TS4025: Exported variable ‘factory’ has or is using private name ‘Foo’.

Is there any way to allow TypeScript to return a class from a factory function?

7 thoughts on “How can I return a class from a TypeScript function?”

  1. You need to export the class as well so that the consumer of the method can access the type.

    Typically a factory will return an instance rather than a class or constructor.

    UPDATED EXAMPLE

    export class Foo {}; 
    
    export let factory = () => {
        return Foo;
    };
    

    With ES6 you don’t need to export the class type, but with TypeScript you absolutely should exporting the type signatures.

    Reply
  2. I was struggling with the same error. The solution for me was to remove the

    "declaration": true
    

    from tsconfig.json or to set it to false.

    Reply
  3. Quick answer

    change this:

    export let factory = () => {
        return class Foo {}
    };
    

    to that:

    export let factory = () : any => {
        return class Foo {}
    };
    

    Longer answer

    This error could be triggered/forced by to a tsconfig.json setting:

    {
        "compilerOptions": {
            ...
            "declaration": true // this should be false or omitted
    

    But that is not the reason, it is just a trigger. The real reason (as discussed here Error when exporting function that returns class: Exported variable has or is using private name) comes from the Typescript compiler

    when TS compiler founds statement like this

    let factory = () => { ...
    

    it must start to guess what is the return type, because that information is missing (check the : <returnType> placeholder):

    let factory = () : <returnType> => { ...
    

    in our case, TS will quickly find out, that the returned type is easy to guess:

    return class Foo {} // this is returned value, 
                        // that could be treated as a return type of the factory method
    

    so, in case we would have that similar statement (this is not the same, as original statement at all, but let’s just try to use it as an example to clarify what happens) we can properly declare return type:

    export class Foo {} // Foo is exported
    export let factory = () : Foo => { // it could be return type of export function
        return Foo
    };
    

    that approach would be working, because the Foo class is exported, i.e. visible to external world.

    Back to our case. We want to return type which is not exported. And then, we MUST help TS compiler to decide, what is the return type.

    It could be explicit any:

    export let factory = () : any => {
        return class Foo {}
    };
    

    But even better would be to have some public interface

    export interface IFoo {}
    

    And then use such interface as return type:

    export let factory = () : IFoo => {
        return class Foo implements IFoo {}
    };
    
    Reply
  4. Are you looking for returning Type of class from the function? Below is one code snippet how we can implement factory in TypeScript similar to in other languages.

        class Greeter {
        greeting: string;
        constructor(message: string) {
            this.greeting = message;
        }
        greet() {
            return "Hello, " + this.greeting;
        }
    }
    class Factory{
        getObject(msg:string): Greeter {
            return new Greeter(msg);
        }
    }
    var greeter = new Factory().getObject("Hi");
    console.log(greeter.greet());
    
    Reply
  5. Late answer on old question:

    You need to have the class defined outside the factory method and define return value using ‘typeof’.

    class Foo {}
    
    export const factory = (): typeof Foo => {
        return Foo;
    };
    
    Reply

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