front-end mastery - array helpers

Jordan Binskin


Categories: javascript Tags: arrays javascript

Array helper methods

With the increased popularity of ‘functional’ programming, which pushes a more ‘declarative’ style of programming (describing what you’re doing - hiding the nitty gritty) and avoiding mutating the state of your program the Array helper methods have grown in usage too.

Each method could get an article of its own, so this article will cover more of the ‘why’ use one over the other when working with arrays. I’ll slip through some MDN links for more reference until then.

All of these assume you have an array and you want to do something with it. These methods belong to the Array prototype, so can be called as a method of the array as with filter below:

  let someArray = [1, 2, 3];
  let odds = someArray.filter((num) => num % 2 !== 0)
  // [1, 3]


Why? You have an array and you want to do something ‘for each’ item without returning a new array. This mean forEach is mainly used for producing ‘side effects’, and if following a functional paradigm should not be used for mutating an existing array.

An example of using a forEach could be wanting to log the value of array item.

  let names = ['Billy', 'Scott', 'Sandra'];
  names.forEach((name) => console.log(name));
  // Billy
  // Scott
  // Sandra


Why? You have an array and you want to return a new one that removes the items you don’t need. The first example used a filter to remove even numbers, let’s do another one for good practise.

An API has returned an array with pesky commas in it that I don’t need.. hmm let’s see..

  let raw = ["Table", ",", "Chair", ",", "Fridge"];
  let clean = raw.filter((item) => item !== ",");
  ["Table", "Chair", "Fridge"];

Voila, clean data for the rest of the app.


Why? You have an array and you want to transform each item and place them in a new array to use.

I want to capitalise each letter in this string array.

  let lowercase = ["s", "a", "h"];
  let upperCase = => item.toUpperCase())
  // ["S","A","H"]


Why? You have an array and you want to represent it as a single value or have a question about it that could be summed up in a single value (these can also include complex data types, but more often a single value).

Taking inventory of the pets. How many dogs do we have?

  let pets = ["dog", "cat", "dog", "dog", "cat"];
  let numberOfDogs = pets.reduce((count, pet) => {
    if (pet == "dog") count++;
    return count;
  }, 0)
  // 3