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Array : Object

An array is an ordered list of elements.

Platform Support

IE Mozilla Netscape Opera Safari
4.0+ 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Constructors

Constructor Action IE Mozilla Netscape Opera Safari
Array Constructor(Number arrayLength, Number elementN) : Array
Constructs a new instance of an array.
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Array(Number arrayLength, Number elementN) : Array

Constructs a new instance of an array.

Parameters

Number arrayLength The initial length of the array. You can access this value using the length property. If the value specified is not a number, an array of length 1 is created, with the first element having the specified value. The maximum length allowed for an array is 4,294,967,295.
Number elementN (zero-or-more)A list of values for the array's elements. When this form is specified, the array is initialized with the specified values as its elements, and the array's length property is set to the number of arguments.

Returns

Array
Throws
Throws RangeError if arrayLength is negative or is larger than 232-1.

Properties

Property Action IE Mozilla Netscape Opera Safari
constructor : Object
Specifies the function that creates the Array prototype.
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+
See Also

Object.constructor

Availability

JavaScript 1.1|JScript 2.0|ECMAScript v1

index : Number
Zero-based index number for the corresponding string in a RegExp match.
Show Details no 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ no
Remarks
Only applicable to an array created by a RegExp match.
Availability

JavaScript 1.2

input : String
String in a RegExp match.
Show Details no 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ no
Remarks
Only applicable to an array created by a RegExp match.
Availability

JavaScript 1.2

length : Number
Integer specifying the number of elements in an array.
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Iterating over an array

In the following example, the getChoice function uses the length property to iterate over every element in the musicType array. musicType is a select element on the musicForm form.

          function getChoice() {
                        for (var i = 0; i < document.musicForm.musicType.length; i++) {
                        if (document.musicForm.musicType.options[i].selected == true) {
                        return document.musicForm.musicType.options[i].text
                        }
                        }
                        }
                        

Shortening an array

The following example shortens the array statesUS to a length of 50 if the current length is greater than 50.

          if (statesUS.length > 50) {
                        statesUS.length=50
                        }
                        
Remarks

The value of the length property is an integer with a positive sign and a value less than 2 to the 32 power (232).

You can set the length property to truncate an array at any time. When you extend an array by changing its length property, the number of actual elements does not increase; for example, if you set length to 3 when it is currently 2, the array still contains only 2 elements.

Availability

JavaScript 1.1, JScript 2.0|ECMAScript v1

prototype : Object
Represents the Array prototype object.
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+
Availability

JavaScript 1.1|JScript 2.0|ECMAScript v1

Functions

Method Action IE Mozilla Netscape Opera Safari
concat(Number valueN) : Array
Returns a new array comprised of this array joined with other array(s) and/or value(s).
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 4.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Parameters

Number valueN (one-or-more)Arrays and/or values to concatenate to this array.

Returns

Array

Concatenating two arrays

The following code concatenates two arrays:

alpha = new Array("a", "b", "c");
                        numeric = new Array(1, 2, 3);
                        alphaNumeric = alpha.concat(numeric); // creates array ["a", "b", "c", 1, 2, 3]

Concatenating three arrays

The following code concatenates three arrays:

num1 = [1, 2, 3];
                        num2 = [4, 5, 6];
                        num3 = [7, 8, 9];
                        nums = num1.concat(num2,num3) // creates array [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

Concatenating values to an array

The following code concatenates three values to an array:

alpha = ['a', 'b', 'c'];
                        alphaNumeric = alpha.concat(1, 2, 3); // creates array ["a", "b", "c", 1, 2, 3]
Remarks

concat does not alter the original arrays, but returns a "one level deep" copy that contains copies of the same elements combined from the original arrays. Elements of the original arrays are copied into the new array as follows:

  • Object references (and not the actual object): concat copies object references into the new array. Both the original and new array refer to the same object. That is, if a referenced object is modified, the changes are visible to both the new and original arrays.
  • Strings and numbers (not String and Number objects): concat copies the values of strings and numbers into the new array.

Any operation on the new array will have no effect on the original arrays, and vice versa.

See Also

Array.join|Array.push|Array.splice

Availability

JavaScript 1.2|JScript 3.0|ECMAScript v3

every(Function callback, Function thisObject) : Boolean
Returns true if every element in an array meets the specified criteria.
Show Details no 1.0+ 3.0+ no no

Parameters

Function callback Function that tests each element of an array.
Function thisObject (zero-or-more)Object to use as this when executing callback.

Returns

Boolean

Example: Testing size of all array elements

The following example tests whether all elements in the array are bigger than 10.

function isBigEnough(element, index, array) {
                        return (element >= 10);
                        }
                        passed = [12, 5, 8, 130, 44].every(isBigEnough);
                        // passed is false
                        passed = [12, 54, 18, 130, 44].every(isBigEnough);
                        // passed is true
Remarks

every executes the provided function (callback) once for each element present in the array until it finds one where callback returns a false value. If such an element is found, the test aborts and false is returned, otherwise (callback returned a true value for each of the elements) every will return true. Arrays are treated as "dense", meaning that callback will be invoked for each index less than the array's length, even if a given index has never been explicitly assigned.

callback is invoked with three arguments: the value of the element, the index of the element, and the Array object being traversed.

If a thisObject parameter is provided to every, it will be used as the this for each invocation of the callback. If it is not provided, or is null, the global object associated with callback is used instead.

every does not mutate the array on which it is called.

The range of elements processed by every is set before the first invocation of callback. Elements which are appended to the array after the call to every begins will not be visited by callback. If existing elements of the array are changed, or deleted, their value as passed to callback will be the value at the time every visits them; elements that are deleted will have the value undefined.

Availability

JavaScript 1.6|Gecko 1.8b2

filter(Function callback, Function thisObject) : Array
Creates a new array with all elements that meet the specified criteria.
Show Details no 1.0+ 3.0+ no no

Parameters

Function callback Function that tests each element of an array.
Function thisObject (zero-or-more)Object to use as this when executing callback.

Returns

Array

Example: Filtering out all small values

The following example uses filter to create a filtered array that has all elements with values less than 10 removed.

function isBigEnough(element, index, array) {
                        return (element >= 10);
                        }
                        filtered = [12, 5, 8, 130, 44].filter(isBigEnough);
Remarks

filter calls a provided callback function once for each element in an array, and constructs a new array of all the values for which callback returns a true value. The produced array is dense; values which do not pass the callback test are simply skipped, and are not assigned an index in the new array.

callback is invoked with three arguments: the value of the element, the index of the element, and the Array object being traversed.

If a thisObject parameter is provided to filter, it will be used as the this for each invocation of the callback. If it is not provided, or is null, the global object associated with callback is used instead.

filter does not mutate the array on which it is called.

The range of elements processed by filter is set before the first invocation of callback. Elements which are appended to the array after the call to filter begins will not be visited by callback. If existing elements of the array are changed, or deleted, their value as passed tocallback will be the value at the time filter visits them; elements that are deleted will have the value undefined.

Availability

JavaScript 1.6|Gecko 1.8b2

forEach(Function callBack, Object thisObject) : Object
Executes the specified function once for each element in an array.
Show Details no 1.0+ 3.0+ no no

Parameters

Function callBack Function to call once on each array element.
Object thisObject (zero-or-more)Object to use as this when executing callback.

Returns

Object

Example: Printing the contents of an array

The following code prints a line for each element in an array (and presumes the presence of a print function to call!):

function printElt(element, index, array) {
                        print("[" + index + "] is " + element);
                        }
                        [2, 5, 9].forEach(printElt);
                        // Prints:
                        // [0] is 2
                        // [1] is 5
                        // [2] is 9

Example: Printing the contents of an array with an object method

The following code creates a simple writer object and then uses the writeln method to write one line per element in the array. (This presumes the presence of a print function to call!):

var writer = {
                        sb:       [],
                        write:    function (s) {
                        this.sb.push(s);
                        },
                        writeln:  function (s) {
                        this.write(s + "\n");
                        },
                        toString: function () {
                        return this.sb.join("");
                        }
                        };
                        
                        [2, 5, 9].forEach(writer.writeln, writer);
                        print(writer.toString());
                        
                        // Prints:
                        // 2
                        // 5
                        // 9
Remarks

forEach executes the provided function (callback) once for each element present in the array. Arrays are treated as "dense", meaning that callback will be invoked for each index less than the array's length, even if a given index has never been explicitly assigned.

callback is invoked with three arguments: the value of the element, the index of the element, and the Array object being traversed.

If a thisObject parameter is provided to forEach, it will be used as the this for each invocation of the callback. If it is not provided, or is null, the global object associated with callback is used instead.

forEach does not mutate the array on which it is called.

The range of elements processed by forEach is set before the first invocation of callback. Elements which are appended to the array after the call to forEach begins will not be visited by callback. If existing elements of the array are changed, or deleted, their value as passed to callback will be the value at the time forEach visits them; elements that are deleted will have the value undefined.

Availability

JavaScript 1.6|Gecko 1.8b2

indexOf([Object searchElement,] [Number fromIndex]) : Number
Returns the first index number at which the specified element can be found in the array. Returns -1 if the element is not present.
Show Details no 1.0+ 3.0+ no no

Parameters

Object searchElement (optional)Element to search for in the array.
Number fromIndex (optional)Index number to begin searching the array. Default is 0, which searches the whole array.

Returns

Number

Example: Using indexOf

The following example uses indexOf to locate values in an array.

array = [2, 5, 9];
                        index = array.indexOf(2);
                        // index is 0
                        index = array.indexOf(7);
                        // index is -1
                        

Example: Finding all the occurrences of an element

The following example uses indexOf to find all the indices of an element in a given array, using push to add them to another array as they are found.

indices = [];
                        idx = array.indexOf(element)
                        while (idx != -1) {
                        indices.push(idx);
                        idx = array.indexOf(element, idx + 1);
                        }
Remarks

indexOf compares searchElement to elements of the Array using strict equality (the same method used by the triple-equals (===) operator).

For the fromIndex parameter, if the specified fromIndex is greater than or equal to the length of the array, lastIndexOf does not search the array and returns -1. If the specified fromIndex is negative, the search start position is the offset from the back end of the array; however, the array is still searched from front to back.

See Also

lastIndexOf

Availability

JavaScript 1.6|Gecko 1.8b2

join([String separator]) : String
Joins all elements of an array into a string.
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Parameters

String separator (optional)Specifies a string to separate each element of the array. The separator is converted to a string if necessary. If omitted, the array elements are sparated with a comma.

Returns

String

Joining an array three different ways

The following example creates an array, a, with three elements, then joins the array three times: using the default separator, then a comma and a space, and then a plus.

a = new Array("Wind","Rain","Fire")
                        myVar1=a.join()      // assigns "Wind,Rain,Fire" to myVar1
                        myVar2=a.join(", ")  // assigns "Wind, Rain, Fire" to myVar2
                        myVar3=a.join(" + ") // assigns "Wind + Rain + Fire" to myVar3
Remarks

The string conversions of all array elements are joined into one string.

See Also

String.split|reverse

Availability

JavaScript 1.1|JScript 2.0|ECMAScript v1

lastIndexOf([Object searchElement,] [Number fromIndex]) : Number
Searches an array backwards starting from fromIndex and returns the last index number at which the specified element can be found in the array. Returns -1 if the element is not present.
Show Details no 1.0+ 3.0+ no no

Parameters

Object searchElement (optional)Element to search for in the array.
Number fromIndex (optional)Index number to begin searching the array backwards from. Default is the last element in the array, which searches the whole array.

Returns

Number

Example: Using lastIndexOf

The following example uses lastIndexOf to locate values in an array.

array = [2, 5, 9, 2];
                        index = array.lastIndexOf(2);
                        // index is 3
                        index = array.lastIndexOf(7);
                        // index is -1
                        index = array.lastIndexOf(2, 3);
                        // index is 3
                        index = array.lastIndexOf(2, 2);
                        // index is 0
                        index = array.lastIndexOf(2, -2);
                        // index is 0
                        index = array.lastIndexOf(2, -1);
                        // index is 3
                        

Example: Finding all the occurrences of an element

The following example uses lastIndexOf to find all the indices of an element in a given array, using push to add them to another array as they are found.

indices = [];
                        idx = array.lastIndexOf(element)
                        while (idx != -1) {
                        indices.push(idx);
                        idx = (idx > 0 ? array.lastIndexOf(element, idx - 1) : -1);
                        }
                        

Note that we have to handle the case idx == 0 separately here because the element will always be found regardsless the fromIndex parameter if it is the first element of the array. This is different from the indexOf method.

Remarks

indexOf compares searchElement to elements of the Array using strict equality (the same method used by the triple-equals (===) operator).

For the fromIndex parameter, if the specified fromIndex is greater than or equal to the length of the array, lastIndexOf does not search the array and returns -1. If the specified fromIndex is negative, the search start position is the offset from the start of the array; however, the array is still searched from back to front.

See Also

indexOf

Availability

JavaScript 1.6|Gecko 1.8b2

map(Function callBack, Object thisObject) : Array
Creates a new array with the results of calling a provided function on every element in this array.
Show Details no 1.0+ 3.0+ no no

Parameters

Function callBack Function that creates an element of the new Array from an element of the current one.
Object thisObject (zero-or-more)Object to use as this when executing callback.

Returns

Array

Example: Upper-casing the strings in an array

The following code creates a new array which contains upper-case versions of all the strings in the original.

strings = ["hello", "Array", "WORLD"];
                        function makeUpperCase(v)
                        {
                        return v.toUpperCase();
                        }
                        uppers = strings.map(makeUpperCase);
                        // uppers is now ["HELLO", "ARRAY", "WORLD"]
                        // strings is unchanged
                        
                        

Example: Mapping an array of numbers to an array of square roots

The following code takes an array of numbers and creates a new array containing the square roots of the numbers in the first array.

numbers = [1, 4, 9];
                        roots = numbers.map(Math.sqrt);
                        // roots is now [1, 2, 3]
                        // numbers is still [1, 4, 9]
                        
Remarks

map calls a provided callback function once for each element in an array, in order, and constructs a new array from the results. Arrays are treated as "dense", meaning that callback will be invoked for each index less than the array's length, even if a given index has never been explicitly assigned.

callback is invoked with three arguments: the value of the element, the index of the element, and the Array object being traversed.

If a thisObject parameter is provided to map, it will be used as the this for each invocation of the callback. If it is not provided, or is null, the global object associated with callback is used instead.

map does not mutate the array on which it is called.

The range of elements processed by map is set before the first invocation of callback. Elements which are appended to the array after the call to map begins will not be visited by callback. If existing elements of the array are changed, or deleted, their value as passed to callback will be the value at the time map visits them; elements that are deleted will have the value undefined.

Availability

JavaScript 1.6|Gecko 1.8b2

pop() : Object
Removes the last element from an array and returns that element. This method changes the length of the array.
Show Details 5.5+ 1.0+ 4.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Returns

Object

Removing the last element of an array

The following code creates the myFish array containing four elements, then removes its last element.

myFish = ["angel", "clown", "mandarin", "surgeon"];
                        popped = myFish.pop();
See Also

push|shift|unshift

Availability

JavaScript 1.2|JScript 5.5|ECMAScript v3

push(Object element1, ..., elementN) : Number
Adds one or more elements to the end of an array and returns the new length of the array. This method changes the length of the array.
Show Details 5.5+ 1.0+ 4.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Parameters

Object element1, ..., elementN (one-or-more)The elements to add to the end of the array.

Returns

Number

Adding elements to an array

The following code creates the myFish array containing two elements, then adds two elements to it. After the code executes, pushed contains 4. (In JavaScript 1.2, pushed contains "lion" after the code executes.)

myFish = ["angel", "clown"];
                        pushed = myFish.push("drum", "lion");
Remarks

The behavior of the push method is analogous to the push function in Perl 4 (not Perl 5).

See Also

pop|shift|unshift

Availability

JavaScript 1.2|JScript 5.5|ECMAScript v3

reverse() : Array
Transposes the elements of an array: the first array element becomes the last and the last becomes the first.
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Returns

Array

Reversing the elements in an array

The following example creates an array myArray, containing three elements, then reverses the array.

myArray = new Array("one", "two", "three")
                        myArray.reverse()

This code changes myArray so that:

  • myArray[0] is "three"
  • myArray[1] is "two"
  • myArray[2] is "one"
Remarks

The reverse method transposes the elements of the calling array object.

See Also

join|sort

Availability

JavaScript 1.1|JScript 2.0|ECMAScript v1

shift() : Object
Removes the first element from an array and returns that element. This method changes the length of the array.
Show Details 5.5+ 1.0+ 4.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Returns

Object

Removing an element from an array

The following code displays the myFish array before and after removing its first element. It also displays the removed element:

myFish = ["angel", "clown", "mandarin", "surgeon"];
                        document.writeln("myFish before: " + myFish);
                        shifted = myFish.shift();
                        document.writeln("myFish after: " + myFish);
                        document.writeln("Removed this element: " + shifted);

This example displays the following:

myFish before:
                        ["angel", "clown", "mandarin", "surgeon"]
                        myFish after: ["clown", "mandarin", "surgeon"]
                        Removed this element: angel
See Also

pop|push|unshift

Availability

JavaScript 1.2|JScript 5.5|ECMAScript v3

slice(Object begin, Object end) : Array
Extracts a section of an array and returns a new array.
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 4.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Parameters

Object begin Zero-based index at which to begin extraction.
Object end Zero-based index at which to end extraction. slice extracts up to but not including end.

Returns

Array

Using slice

In the following example, slice creates a new array, newCar, from myCar. Both include a reference to the object myHonda. When the color of myHonda is changed to purple, both arrays reflect the change.

                        //Using slice, create newCar from myCar.
                        myHonda = {color:"red",wheels:4,engine:{cylinders:4,size:2.2}}
                        myCar = [myHonda, 2, "cherry condition", "purchased 1997"]
                        newCar = myCar.slice(0,2)
                        
                        //Write the values of myCar, newCar, and the color of myHonda
                        // referenced from both arrays.
                        document.write("myCar = " + myCar + "<BR>")
                        document.write("newCar = " + newCar + "<BR>")
                        document.write("myCar[0].color = " + myCar[0].color + "<BR>")
                        document.write("newCar[0].color = " + newCar[0].color + "<BR><BR>")
                        
                        //Change the color of myHonda.
                        myHonda.color = "purple"
                        document.write("The new color of my Honda is " + myHonda.color + "<BR><BR>")
                        
                        //Write the color of myHonda referenced from both arrays.
                        document.write("myCar[0].color = " + myCar[0].color + "<BR>")
                        document.write("newCar[0].color = " + newCar[0].color + "<BR>")
                        

This script writes:

myCar = [{color:"red", wheels:4, engine:{cylinders:4, size:2.2}}, 2,
                        "cherry condition", "purchased 1997"]
                        newCar = [{color:"red", wheels:4, engine:{cylinders:4, size:2.2}}, 2]
                        myCar[0].color = red 
                        newCar[0].color = red
                        The new color of my Honda is purple
                        myCar[0].color = purple
                        newCar[0].color = purple
Remarks

slice does not alter the original array, but returns a new "one level deep" copy that contains copies of the elements sliced from the original array. Elements of the original array are copied into the new array as follows:

  • For object references (and not the actual object), slice copies object references into the new array. Both the original and new array refer to the same object. If a referenced object changes, the changes are visible to both the new and original arrays.
  • For strings and numbers (not String and Number objects), slice copies strings and numbers into the new array. Changes to the string or number in one array does not affect the other array.

If a new element is added to either array, the other array is not affected.

See Also

Array.splice

Availability

JavaScript 1.2|JScript 3.0|ECMAScript v3

some([Object searchElement,] [Number fromIndex]) : Boolean
Returns true if some element in the array passes the test implemented by the provided function.
Show Details no 1.0+ 4.0+ no no

Parameters

Object searchElement (optional)Element to search for in the array.
Number fromIndex (optional)Index number to begin searching the array backwards from. Default is the last element in the array, which searches the whole array.

Returns

Boolean

Example: Testing size of all array elements

The following example tests whether some element in the array is bigger than 10.

function isBigEnough(element, index, array) {
                        return (element >= 10);
                        }
                        passed = [2, 5, 8, 1, 4].some(isBigEnough);
                        // passed is false
                        passed = [12, 5, 8, 1, 44].some(isBigEnough);
                        // passed is true
                        
Remarks

some executes the provided function (callback) once for each element present in the array until it finds one where callback returns a true value. If such an element is found, the test aborts and true is returned, otherwise (callback returned a false value for each of the elements) some will return false. Arrays are treated as "dense", meaning that callback will be invoked for each index less than the array's length, even if a given index has never been explicitly assigned.

callback is invoked with three arguments: the value of the element, the index of the element, and the Array object being traversed.

If a thisObject parameter is provided to some, it will be used as the this for each invocation of the callback. If it is not provided, or is null, the global object associated with callback is used instead.

some does not mutate the array on which it is called.

The range of elements processed by some is set before the first invocation of callback. Elements that are appended to the array after the call to some begins will not be visited by callback. If an existing, unvisited element of the array is changed or deleted by callback, its value passed to the visiting callback will be the value at the time that some visits that element's index; elements that are deleted before being visited will have the value undefined.

Availability

JavaScript 1.6|Gecko 1.8b2

sort([Function compareFunction]) : Array
Sorts the elements of an array.
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Parameters

Function compareFunction (optional)Specifies a function that defines the sort order. If omitted, the array is sorted lexicographically (in dictionary order) according to the string conversion of each element.

Returns

Array

Creating, displaying, and sorting an array

The following example creates four arrays and displays the original array, then the sorted arrays. The numeric arrays are sorted without, then with, a compare function.

                        stringArray = new Array("Blue","Humpback","Beluga")
                        numericStringArray = new Array("80","9","700")
                        numberArray = new Array(40,1,5,200)
                        mixedNumericArray = new Array("80","9","700",40,1,5,200)
                        
                        function compareNumbers(a, b) {
                        return a - b
                        }
                        
                        document.write("stringArray: " + stringArray.join() +"<BR>")
                        document.write("Sorted: " + stringArray.sort() +"<P>")
                        
                        document.write("numberArray: " + numberArray.join() +"<BR>")
                        document.write("Sorted without a compare function: " + numberArray.sort() +"<BR>")
                        document.write("Sorted with compareNumbers: " + numberArray.sort(compareNumbers) +"<P>")
                        
                        document.write("numericStringArray: " + numericStringArray.join() +"<BR>")
                        document.write("Sorted without a compare function: " + numericStringArray.sort() +"<BR>")
                        document.write("Sorted with compareNumbers: " + numericStringArray.sort(compareNumbers) +"<P>")
                        
                        document.write("mixedNumericArray: " + mixedNumericArray.join() +"<BR>")
                        document.write("Sorted without a compare function: " + mixedNumericArray.sort() +"<BR>")
                        document.write("Sorted with compareNumbers: " + mixedNumericArray.sort(compareNumbers) +"<BR>")
                        

This example shows that when you use a compare function, the elements are sorted correctly whether they are numbers or numeric strings.

stringArray: Blue,Humpback,Beluga
                        Sorted: Beluga,Blue,Humpback
                        
                        numberArray: 40,1,5,200
                        Sorted without a compare function: 1,200,40,5
                        Sorted with compareNumbers: 1,5,40,200
                        
                        numericStringArray: 80,9,700
                        Sorted without a compare function: 700,80,9
                        Sorted with compareNumbers: 9,80,700
                        
                        mixedNumericArray: 80,9,700,40,1,5,200
                        Sorted without a compare function: 1,200,40,5,700,80,9
                        Sorted with compareNumbers: 1,5,9,40,80,200,700
Remarks

If compareFunction is not supplied, elements are sorted by converting them to strings and comparing strings in lexicographic ("dictionary" or "telephone book," not numerical) order. For example, "80" comes before "9" in lexicographic order, but in a numeric sort 9 comes before 80.

If compareFunction is supplied, the array elements are sorted according to the return value of the compare function. If a and b are two elements being compared, then:

  • If compareFunction(a, b) is less than 0, sort b to a lower index than a.
  • If compareFunction(a, b) returns 0, leave a and b unchanged with respect to each other, but sorted with respect to all different elements.
  • If compareFunction(a, b) is greater than 0, sort b to a higher index than a.

So, the compare function has the following form:

function compare(a, b) {
                        if (a is less than b by some ordering criterion)
                        return -1
                        if (a is greater than b by the ordering criterion)
                        return 1
                        // a must be equal to b
                        return 0
                        }

To compare numbers instead of strings, the compare function can simply subtract b from a:

function compareNumbers(a, b) {
                        return a - b
                        }

JavaScript uses a stable sort: the index partial order of a and b does not change if a and b are equal. If a's index was less than b's before sorting, it will be after sorting, no matter how a and b move due to sorting.

The behavior of the sort method changed between JavaScript 1.1 and JavaScript 1.2.

In JavaScript 1.1, on some platforms, the sort method does not work. This method works on all platforms for JavaScript 1.2.

In JavaScript 1.2, this method no longer converts undefined elements to null; instead it sorts them to the high end of the array. For example, assume you have this script:

                        a = new Array();
                        a[0] = "Ant";
                        a[5] = "Zebra";
                        
                        function writeArray(x) {
                        for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) {
                        document.write(x[i]);
                        if (i < x.length-1) document.write(", ");
                        }
                        }
                        
                        writeArray(a);
                        a.sort();
                        document.write("<BR><BR>");
                        writeArray(a);
                        

In JavaScript 1.1, JavaScript prints:

ant, null, null, null, null, zebra
                        ant, null, null, null, null, zebra

In JavaScript 1.2, JavaScript prints:

ant, undefined, undefined, undefined,
                        undefined, zebra
                        ant, zebra, undefined, undefined, undefined, undefined
See Also

join|reverse

Availability

JavaScript 1.1|JScript 2.0|ECMAScript v1

splice(Object index, [Number howMany,] Object element1, ..., elementN) : Array
Returns the array with the specified elements inserted or removed.
Show Details 5.5+ 1.0+ 4.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Parameters

Object index Index at which to start changing the array.
Number howMany (optional)An integer indicating the number of old array elements to remove. If howMany is 0, no elements are removed. In this case, you should specify at least one new element.
Object element1, ..., elementN (zero-or-more)The elements to add to the array. If you don't specify any elements, splice simply removes elements from the array.

Returns

Array

Using splice

The following script excerpt illustrates the use of splice:

                        
                        myFish = ["angel", "clown", "mandarin", "surgeon"];
                        document.writeln("myFish: " + myFish + "<BR>");
                        
                        removed = myFish.splice(2, 0, "drum");
                        document.writeln("After adding 1: " + myFish);
                        document.writeln("removed is: " + removed + "<BR>");
                        
                        removed = myFish.splice(3, 1);
                        document.writeln("After removing 1: " + myFish);
                        document.writeln("removed is: " + removed + "<BR>");
                        
                        removed = myFish.splice(2, 1, "trumpet");
                        document.writeln("After replacing 1: " + myFish);
                        document.writeln("removed is: " + removed + "<BR>");
                        
                        removed = myFish.splice(0, 2, "parrot", "anemone", "blue");
                        document.writeln("After replacing 2: " + myFish);
                        document.writeln("removed is: " + removed);
                        
                        

This script displays:

myFish: ["angel", "clown", "mandarin", "surgeon"]
                        
                        After adding 1: ["angel", "clown", "drum", "mandarin", "surgeon"]
                        removed is: undefined
                        
                        After removing 1: ["angel", "clown", "drum", "surgeon"]
                        removed is: mandarin
                        
                        After replacing 1: ["angel", "clown", "trumpet", "surgeon"]
                        removed is: drum
                        
                        After replacing 2: ["parrot", "anemone", "blue", "trumpet", "surgeon"]
                        removed is: ["angel", "clown"]
Remarks

If you insert a different number of elements than you remove, the array will have a different length at the end of the call.

The splice method returns an array containing the removed elements. If you remove only one element, splice returns one element.

See Also

Array.slice

Availability

JavaScript 1.2|JScript 5.5|ECMAScript v3

toLocaleString() : String
Returns a localized string version of the array.
Show Details 5.5+ 1.0+ 4.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Returns

String
Throws
Throws TypeError if toLocaleString is called on an object that is not an array.
See Also

Array.toString|Object.toLocaleString

Availability

JavaScript 1.5|JScript 5.5|ECMAScript v1

toSource() : String
Returns a string representing the source code of the array.
Show Details no 1.0+ 3.0+ no no

Returns

String

Example: Examining the source code of an array

To examine the source code of an array:

alpha = new Array("a", "b", "c")
                        alpha.toSource() //returns ["a", "b", "c"]
Remarks

The toSource method returns the following values:

  • For the built-in Array object, toSource returns the following string indicating that the source code is not available:
function Array() {
                        [native code]
                        }
                        
  • For instances of Array , toSource returns a string representing the source code.

This method is usually called internally by JavaScript and not explicitly in code. You can call toSource while debugging to examine the contents of an array.

See Also

toString

Availability

JavaScript 1.3

toString() : String
Returns a string representing the specified array and its elements.
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Returns

String
Remarks

The Array object overrides the toString method of Object. For Array objects, the toString method joins the array and returns one string containing each array element separated by commas. For example, the following code creates an array and uses toString to convert the array to a string.

var monthNames = new Array("Jan","Feb","Mar","Apr")
                        myVar=monthNames.toString() // assigns "Jan,Feb,Mar,Apr" to myVar

JavaScript calls the toString method automatically when an array is to be represented as a text value or when an array is referred to in a string concatenation.

Throws
Throws TypeError if toString is called on an object that is not an array.
See Also

Array.toLocaleString|Object.toString

Availability

JavaScript 1.1|JScript 2.0|ECMAScript v1

unshift(Object element1, ..., elementN) : Number
Adds one or more elements to the beginning of an array and returns the new length of the array.
Show Details 5.5+ 1.0+ 4.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Parameters

Object element1, ..., elementN (one-or-more)The elements to add to the front of the array.

Returns

Number

Adding elements to an array

The following code displays the myFish array before and after adding elements to it.

myFish = ["angel", "clown"];
                        document.writeln("myFish before: " + myFish);
                        unshifted = myFish.unshift("drum", "lion");
                        document.writeln("myFish after: " + myFish);
                        document.writeln("New length: " + unshifted);

This example displays the following:

myFish before: ["angel",
                        "clown"]
                        myFish after: ["drum", "lion", "angel", "clown"]
                        New length: 4
See Also

pop|push|shift

Availability

JavaScript 1.2|JScript 5.5|ECMAScript v3

valueOf() : Boolean|Number|String
Returns the primitive value of an array or the primitive value of its elements.
Show Details 4.0+ 1.0+ 3.0+ 7.0+ 1.0+

Returns

Boolean
Number
String
Remarks

The table below displays how the data type of an array corresponds to the data type returned by the valueOf method.

Data type of array element Return type
Boolean Boolean
Number or Date Number
All other object types String
See Also

Object.valueOf

Availability

JavaScript 1.1|JScript 2.0|ECMAScript v1

Creating an Array

The following example creates an array, msgArray, with a length of 0, then assigns values to msgArray[0] and msgArray[99], changing the length of the array to 100.

var msgArray = new Array();
         msgArray[0] = "Hello";
         msgArray[99] = "world";
         // The following statement is true,
         // because defined msgArray[99] element.
         if (msgArray.length == 100)
         myVar = "The length is 100.";

Creating a Two-dimensional Array

The following creates a two-dimensional array and assigns the results to myVar.

var myVar = "Multidimensional array test; ";
         a = new Array(4);
         for (var i = 0; i < 4; i++) {
         a[i] = new Array(4);
         for (var j = 0; j < 4; j++) {
         a[i][j] = "[" + i + "," + j + "]";
         }
         }
         for (var i = 0; i < 4; i++) {
         str = "Row " + i + ":";
         for (var j = 0; j < 4; j++) {
         str += a[i][j];
         }
         myVar += str + "; ";
         }

The following string is assigned to myVar (line breaks are used here for readability):

Multidimensional array test;
         Row 0: [0,0][0,1][0,2][0,3];
         Row 1: [1,0][1,1][1,2][1,3];
         Row 2: [2,0][2,1][2,2][2,3];
         Row 3: [3,0][3,1][3,2][3,3];

Remarks

An array is an ordered set of values associated with a single variable name.

The following example creates an Array object with an array literal; the coffees array contains three elements and has a length of three:

coffees = ["French Roast", "Columbian", "Kona"];

You can construct a dense array of two or more elements starting with index 0 if you define initial values for all elements. A dense array is one in which each element has a value. The following code creates a dense array with three elements:

myArray = new Array("Hello", myVar, 3.14159);

Indexing an array

You index an array by its ordinal number. For example, assume you define the following array:

myArray = new Array("Wind", "Rain", "Fire");

You can then refer to the elements as thus:

  • myArray[0] is the first element
  • myArray[1] is the second element
  • myArray[2] is the third element

Specifying a single parameter

When you specify a single numeric parameter with the Array constructor, you specify the initial length of the array. The following code creates an array of five elements:

billingMethod = new Array(5);

The behavior of the Array constructor depends on whether the single parameter is a number.

  • If the value specified is a number, the constructor converts the number to an unsigned, 32-bit integer and generates an array with the length property (size of the array) set to the integer. The array initially contains no elements, even though it might have a non-zero length.
  • If the value specified is not a number, an array of length 1 is created, with the first element having the specified value.

The following code creates an array of length 25, then assigns values to the first three elements:

musicTypes = new Array(25);
            musicTypes[0] = "R&B";
            musicTypes[1] = "Blues";
            musicTypes[2] = "Jazz";

Increasing the array length indirectly

An array's length increases if you assign a value to an element higher than the current length of the array. The following code creates an array of length 0, then assigns a value to element 99. This changes the length of the array to 100.

colors = new Array();
            colors[99] = "midnightblue";

Creating an array using the result of a match

The result of a match between a regular expression and a string can create an array. This array has properties and elements that provide information about the match. An array is the return value of RegExp.exec, String.match, and String.replace. To help explain these properties and elements, look at the following example and then refer to the table below:

// Match one d followed by one or more b's followed by one d
            // Remember matched b's and the following d
            // Ignore case
            
            myRe = /d(b+)(d)/i;
            myArray = myRe.exec("cdbBdbsbz");

The properties and elements returned from this match are as follows:

Property/Element Description Example
input A read-only property that reflects the original string against which the regular expression was matched. cdbBdbsbz
index A read-only property that is the zero-based index of the match in the string. 1
[0] A read-only element that specifies the last matched characters. dbBd
[1], ...[n] Read-only elements that specify the parenthesized substring matches, if included in the regular expression. The number of possible parenthesized substrings is unlimited. [1]: bB
[2]: d

Availability

JavaScript 1.1|JScript 2.0|ECMAScript v1

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