JavaScript – Iterating Arrays

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The most common way to loop through the elements of an array is
with a for loop (for):

var keys = Object.keys(o);   // Get an array of property names for object o
var values = []              // Store matching property values in this array
for(var i = 0; i < keys.length; i++) {  // For each index in the array
    var key = keys[i];                  // Get the key at that index
    values[i] = o[key];                 // Store the value in the values array

In nested loops, or other contexts where performance is
critical, you may sometimes see this basic array iteration loop
optimized so that the array length is only looked up once rather than
on each iteration:

for(var i = 0, len = keys.length; i < len; i++) {
   // loop body remains the same

These examples assume that the array is dense and that all
elements contain valid data. If this is not the case, you should test
the array elements before using them. If you want to exclude null, undefined, and nonexistent elements, you can
write this:

for(var i = 0; i < a.length; i++) {
    if (!a[i]) continue;  // Skip null, undefined, and nonexistent elements
    // loop body here

If you only want to skip undefined and nonexistent elements, you
might write:

for(var i = 0; i < a.length; i++) {
    if (a[i] === undefined) continue; // Skip undefined + nonexistent elements
    // loop body here

Finally, if you only want to skip indexes for which no array
element exists but still want to handle existing undefined elements,
do this:

for(var i = 0; i < a.length; i++) {
    if (!(i in a)) continue ; // Skip nonexistent elements
    // loop body here

You can also use a for/in
loop (for/in) with sparse arrays. This loop
assigns enumerable property names (including array indexes) to the
loop variable one at a time. Indexes that do not exist will not be

for(var index in sparseArray) {
   var value = sparseArray[index];
   // Now do something with index and value

As noted in Enumerating Properties, a for/in loop can return the names of
inherited properties, such as the names of methods that have been
added to Array.prototype. For this
reason you should not use a for/in
loop on an array unless you include an additional test to filter out
unwanted properties. You might use either of these tests:

for(var i in a) {
    if (!a.hasOwnProperty(i)) continue;  // Skip inherited properties
    // loop body here

for(var i in a) {
    // Skip i if it is not a non-negative integer
    if (String(Math.floor(Math.abs(Number(i)))) !== i) continue;

The ECMAScript specification allows the for/in loop to iterate the properties of an
object in any order. Implementations typically iterate array elements
in ascending order, but this is not guaranteed. In particular, if an
array has both object properties and array elements, the property
names may be returned in the order they were created, rather than in
numeric order. Implementations differ in how they handle this case, so
if iteration order matters for your algorithm, it is best to use a
regular for loop instead of

ECMAScript 5 defines a number of new methods for iterating array
elements by passing each one, in index order, to a function that you
define. The forEach() method is the
most general of these methods:

var data = [1,2,3,4,5];     // This is the array we want to iterate
var sumOfSquares = 0;       // We want to compute the sum of the squares of data
data.forEach(function(x) {  // Pass each element of data to this function
                 sumOfSquares += x*x;  // add up the squares
sumOfSquares                // =>55 : 1+4+9+16+25

forEach() and related
iteration methods enable a simple and powerful functional programming
style for working with arrays. They are covered in ECMAScript 5 Array Methods, and we’ll return to them in Functional Programming, when we cover functional

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