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JavaScript: Array's with named Properties

by Aaron Crowder on in JavaScript

Adding named properties to arrays in JavaScript can be handy in a few different cases. For instance:

  • You need a nice formatted title / description for a data set. Rather than having multiple objects you can use named properties and get away with only using one.
  • You want to add some functions to an array for whatever reason
  • Lots of other reasons that I can’t think of right now!

Basically, this just buys you a nice way to encapsulate all the data you might need, without having to use an object with a nested array, or multiple objects. Maybe your way is more clean or better for this reason or that… I just thought this was neat. :)

Let’s get into some code to play around with this. I’m going to use JSFiddle.net for this so you can play with the code yourself.

The reason that this works is because of the way that array.length is updated. In JavaScript, array.length is updated whenever you use a built-in array method (e.g., join, push, unshift, etc). So, when you build an array, all the numerically indexed properties are taken into accound as part of the length.

When you add a named property to the array it doesn’t update the length, and therefore you can iterate over an array and only get the numerically indexed items.