Page 1 of 2
- The Associative Array
- The String Object
- The Array object
- Typed Arrays I*
- Typed Arrays II*
- A Time Interval Object*
- Collection Object
- Stacks, Queue & Deque
- The Linked List*
- A Lisp-like list
- The Binary Tree
- Bit manipulation*
* First Draft
The Associative Array
An associative array is simply a set of key value pairs.
The value is stored in association with its key and if you provide the key the array will return the value.
This is all an associative array is and the name comes from the association between the key and the value. The key is a sort of generalized address that can be used to retrieve the stored value.
creates an object called array with two keys and two values which in this case happen to be two constant strings.
The key can be either an identifier, a string or a number but more about the difference in the key type as we progress.
You can retrieve a value via it key using array notation:
Which displays the string value2. If you try and access a key that doesn't exist then you get the result undefined.
Notice that there is something slightly odd in this syntax in that when you create the associative array the keys were entered as if they were names (of variables say) rather then strings. However when you access an array the key has to be specified as a string.
The reason for this is that the array notation allows you to use an expression as in:
In short it doesn't matter if you specify the key as an identifier or a string it all works as if you had specified a string. In fact if you want to you can always specify the key as a string e.g.
It helps to think of this in terms of the square brackets  as being the array operator that is
evaluates to the value associated with the key specified by string stored in the associative array object.
You can change the value associated with a key simply by using the array notation to assign the new value, e.g.
You can also add a key/value pair at any time simply by using the array notation to access a key that doesn't exist:
You can also change the value using assignment to a property
and you can add a new key/value pair by assigning to a property that doesn't exist:
Notice that what you can't do with property notation is specify an expression as the key. That is you cannot write:
When you specify a key using property notation it has to be fully determined at compile time. This means that array notation is more powerful than property notation.
In ECMAScript 2015 you can also use expressions in array definitions:
Associative arrays as objects
You can already store any object in an associative array so you have the equivalent of object properties. All that seems to be missing are object methods but they too are included.
The object associated with key1 is just a string object and the object associated with key2 is a function object and you can retrieve it in the usual way
and if you display the variable method's contents
you will discover that it is the text of the function:
Don't be fooled by this, the method variable doesn't contain a string; it is a function object as you can prove by: