How can I get this function to return the value? In all the examples I have seen, folks use an alert in the delegate functions, but I need to return the value instead. When I call the function, it fetches me my default string, which means the executeQueryAsync is not setting the variable.

What am I doing wrong?

var thisuser = SPGetSPcurrentUser();
var SPGetSPcurrentUser = function(){
    var spuserid = "Error";
    var context = new SP.ClientContext.get_current();
    this.website = context.get_web();
    this.currentUser = website.get_currentUser();
        function(sender, args){ this.spuserid = currentUser.get_loginName();},
        function(sender, args){ this.spuserid = 'request failed ' + args.get_message() + '\n'+ args.get_stackTrace();}
    return spuserid;

2 Answers 2


As the method executeQueryAsync indicates it is asynchronous.
You can actually force the XMLHttpRequest to be synchronous, although that is beside the point.

What you are looking for is a callback function, something like this:

var getSpCurrentUser = function(callback) {
  var ctx = SP.ClientContext.get_current();
  var user = ctx.get_web().get_currentUser();

  ctx.executeQueryAsync(function() {
    callback(null, user);
  }, function(a, b) {
    callback(new Error(b.get_message()));

getSpCurrentUser(function(error, user) {
  if (error) {
  • 1
    Thanks, Erik. I've only ever used a callback function once or twice in my life. I don't understand where anything returns the value. Also, could you explain to me how there can be two functions with the same name? (Sorry for being dense)
    – bgmCoder
    Dec 7, 2012 at 23:36
  • 1
    The value is not returned, instead you pass a function into the getSpCurrentUser as a variable (line 13 and 1, named callback) which will be called from within the getSpCurrentUser function (line 7 and 9). Since executeQueryAsync is asynchronous any code after line 19 will be run before you get your callback (line 14-18). There should not be two functions with the same name
    – eirikb
    Dec 7, 2012 at 23:48
  • So the first instance of getSpCurrentUser is just a variable, and the second instance, being a callback is really just an extension of the variable? So, to actually call the callback function, I would just use "callback"?
    – bgmCoder
    Dec 8, 2012 at 1:54
  • I think I don't need the executeQuery to be Async. Is there a way to return the query within the same thread? I realize that would make the script wait.
    – bgmCoder
    Dec 8, 2012 at 1:55
  • 1
    With executeQueryAsync it is impossible. I believe you can do it with SPServices. See example
    – eirikb
    Dec 9, 2012 at 0:44

This is the closest I've found to returning a variable reference for the logged-on user.

Try it out it's simple to test: 1. In IE browse to your SharePoint site, open developer tools press (f12) 2. Open the Console press (ctl + 2) 3. Switch line-mode with your cursor in the "Console input" press (ctl + alt + m) 4. Paste all the following contents into the console then press (ctl + enter)

function iWannaDoSomethingWith(thisUser){
 if(thisUser === null){
  alert('failed to get user');
  alert('User name:' + thisUser.get_title() 
  + '\n Login Name:' + thisUser.get_loginName());
function necessaryEvilToWireItAllTogether(nameOfFuncWeReallyWantToCall){
 if (typeof(nameOfFuncWeReallyWantToCall)==="function")
  var ctx = new SP.ClientContext.get_current();
  var oWeb = ctx.get_web();
  var currentUser = oWeb.get_currentUser();
    // successful Async call
    // failed Async call
ExecuteOrDelayUntilScriptLoaded(function(){necessaryEvilToWireItAllTogether(iWannaDoSomethingWith);}, "sp.js");

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