Accurately typing Object.assign in TypeScript

Object.assign({}, a, b) – or any other code doing essentially the same thing – can be thought to merge a and b, so naively the return type is A & B. But that’s not accurate when b is overwriting properties of a with values of different types.

For example:

const a = {foo: 'hello', bar: 'world'};
const b = {bar: false};
const c = Object.assign({}, a, b);
// c's type should be {foo: string; bar: boolean}

Obviously, whether or not you really want to be doing this sort of thing depends on the situation.

Regardless, here’s how I accurately type the return value:

type Overlay<A, B> = Pick<A, Exclude<keyof A, keyof B>> & Pick<B, keyof B>;

function overlay<A, B>(a, b) {
    return Object.assign({}, a, b) as Overlay<A, B>;

This should also be useful for modeling certain React HOCs, since some appear to replace props of the wrapped component with new semantics and types.


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