JavaScript Arrays
JavaScript Basics

JavaScript Arrays

Why Use Arrays?

If you have a list of items (like car names), using separate variables would be inefficient:

let car1 = "Saab";let car2 = "Volvo";let car3 = "BMW";

Using arrays simplifies this process and makes it easier to manage a large number of items.

Creating an Array

Using an array literal is the simplest way to create a JavaScript array:

const arrayName = [item1, item2, ...];


const cars = ["Saab", "Volvo", "BMW"];

You can also spread the declaration across multiple lines for better readability:

const cars = [  "Saab",  "Volvo",  "BMW"];

You can create an empty array and add elements later:const cars = [];

cars[0] = "Saab";cars[1] = "Volvo";cars[2] = "BMW";

Using the JavaScript Keyword new

You can create an array using the new keyword, but it's less common:

const cars = new Array("Saab", "Volvo", "BMW");

For simplicity and readability, it's recommended to use array literals.

Accessing Array Elements

Access array elements using their index number:

const cars = ["Saab", "Volvo", "BMW"];let car = cars[0]; // "Saab"

Changing an Array Element

You can change the value of an array element by referring to its index:

const cars = ["Saab", "Volvo", "BMW"];cars[0] = "Opel"; // "Opel", "Volvo", "BMW"‍

Converting an Array to a String

The toString() method converts an array to a comma-separated string:

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple", "Mango"];document.getElementById("demo").innerHTML = fruits.toString();// "Banana,Orange,Apple,Mango"

Access the Full Array

You can access the entire array by referring to the array name

const cars = ["Saab", "Volvo", "BMW"];
document.getElementById("demo").innerHTML = cars;// "Saab,Volvo,BMW"

Arrays are Objects

Arrays are a special type of object in JavaScript. The typeof operator returns "object" for arrays.

Arrays use numbered indexes to access their elements:

const person = ["John", "Doe", 46];console.log(person[0]); // "John"

Objects use named indexes:

const person = {firstName: "John", lastName: "Doe", age: 46};
console.log(person.firstName); // "John"

Array Elements Can Be Objects

You can store objects, functions, and even other arrays inside an array:

const myArray = [];myArray[0] =;myArray[1] = function() { return "Hello"; };myArray[2] = ["Saab", "Volvo", "BMW"];

Array Properties and Methods

  • cars.length returns the number of elements in the array.
  • cars.sort() sorts the array.

The length Property

The length property returns the number of elements in an array:

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple", "Mango"];let length = fruits.length; // 4

Accessing the First and Last Array Elements

First Element

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple", "Mango"];let fruit = fruits[0]; // "Banana"

Last Element

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple", "Mango"];let fruit = fruits[fruits.length - 1]; // "Mango"

Looping Array Elements

You can loop through an array using a for loop:

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple", "Mango"];let text = "<ul>";for (let i = 0; i < fruits.length; i++) { text += "<li>" + fruits[i] + "</li>";}text += "</ul>";Or using the forEach() method:

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple", "Mango"];let text = "<ul>";fruits.forEach(function(value) { text += "<li>" + value + "</li>";});text += "</ul>";

Adding Array Elements

Using push()

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple"];fruits.push("Lemon"); // ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple", "Lemon"]

Using length

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple"];fruits[fruits.length] = "Lemon"; // ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple", "Lemon"]

WARNING: Undefined "Holes" in Arrays

Adding elements with high indexes can create undefined "holes":

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple"];fruits[6] = "Lemon"; // ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple", undefined, undefined, undefined, "Lemon"]

Associative Arrays

JavaScript does not support arrays with named indexes. Using named indexes will redefine the array to an object:

const person = [];person["firstName"] = "John";person["lastName"] = "Doe";person["age"] = 46;console.log(person.length); // 0console.log(person[0]); // undefined

The Difference Between Arrays and Objects

  • Arrays use numbered indexes.
  • Objects use named indexes.

When to Use Arrays and Objects

  • Use objects when element names are strings.
  • Use arrays when element names are numbers.

JavaScript new Array()

JavaScript has a built-in array constructor new Array(), but it's recommended to use array literals.


const points = new Array(40, 100, 1, 5, 25, 10);const points = [40, 100, 1, 5, 25, 10];

Using the new keyword can produce unexpected results:

const points = new Array(40); // Creates an array with 40 undefined elementsconst points = [40]; // Creates an array with one element: 40

How to Recognize an Array

Solution 1: Array.isArray()

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple"];Array.isArray(fruits); // true

Solution 2: instanceof

const fruits = ["Banana", "Orange", "Apple"];fruits instanceof Array; // true

Nested Arrays and Objects

Values in objects can be arrays, and values in arrays can be objects:


const myObj = { name: "John"age: 30cars: [ {name: "Ford", models: ["Fiesta", "Focus", "Mustang"]}, {name: "BMW", models: ["320", "X3", "X5"]}, {name: "Fiat", models: ["500", "Panda"]} ]};

To access arrays inside arrays, use a for-in loop for each array:

let text = "";for (let i in { text += "<h1>" +[i].name + "</h1>"for (let j in[i].models) { text +=[i].models[j] + " "; }}

This rephrased explanation should give a clear and comprehensive understanding of JavaScript arrays and how to work with them.

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