The Proxies API is a low-level catch-all thing that you can wrap around your objects to implement almost anything you want within the syntactic limitations of JavaScript. Firefox supports it, and so does the latest version of V8 apparently.

The existential operator (the accessor kind), if it existed in JavaScript, would allow us attempted access of nested properties in JavaScript without ever getting a TypeError. Here’s what usually happens:

var obj = { foo: 123 };
 
obj.foo.bar.bob; // Throws TypeError (obj.foo.bar is undefined)

CoffeeScript implements an existential operator that allows you to attempt access at a property without throwing errors. It will fail quietly by returning a harmless undefined value. In CoffeeScript, it looks like this:

obj?.foo?.bar?.bob // returns undefined

We can’t emulate this entirely but we can make a decent alternative using the Proxies API. In this example we’re using the dollar sign to indicate a existential-property-accessor-operator:

obj = {};
obj.foo$bar$bob; // => undefined
obj = { foo: { bar: { bob: 321 } } };
obj = existentially(obj); // wrap it in magic
obj.foo$bar$bob; // => 321

No, it’s not as cool and no, you probably shouldn’t use it in production. Yes, it’ll fail if obj doesn’t exist. Anyway, I thought it was pretty neat. Here’s how it’s done:

function existentially(obj) {
 
  if (obj == null) return obj;
 
  var proxy = handlerMaker(obj);
 
  proxy.get = function(_, name) {
    name = name.split('$');
    var found = obj;
    while (
      name[0] &&
      null != (found = found[name.shift()])
    );
    return found;
  };
 
  proxy.set = function(_, name, val) {
    name = name.split('$');
    var found = obj;
    while (
      name[1] &&
      null != (found = found[name.shift()])
    );
    if (found) {
      found[name] = val;
    }
    return true;
  };
 
  return Proxy.create(proxy);
 
}
 
// fyi
//   a == null
// is the same as
//   a === undefined || a === null

The referenced handlerMaker simply defines all fundamental traps. You can grab it from the MDN Proxy API page.

You’ll notice that we’re also defining a get trap, which enables stuff like:

var foo = existentially(document.getElementById('foo'));
if (foo) { // yes, we still need the initial null check
  foo.firstChild$style$display = 'none';
    // won't throw an error, even if `firstChild` doesn't exist
}

Okay, granted, the dollar sign doesn’t suit well and we’re just pandering to what’s allowed in JS, but it’s still a good illustration of what’s possible with the Proxies API. You might want to use another fake operator — possibly something that isn’t likely to be found as part of a property name itself… something like _$_ would be okay, except that it’s ugly and, just like $, carries no semantic value whatsoever.