The Array JavaScript Data Structure

The Array JavaScript Data Structure

An array is a type of data structure you can use to store some data you want to use in your program. Arrays are a collection of individual values separated by a comma each with its own index/location. This collection could be anything: numbers, objects, more arrays, etc.

Arrays are the most fundamental data structure in any programming language.

Arrays are available in most (if not all) programming languages, built-in into the language.

Let’s talk about what arrays represent in most lower level programming languages, like C: they represent a set of contiguous cells in the computer memory.

Starting from a cell in the memory (it helps to visualize cells like in a spreadsheet if you want), we can create an array with 10 slots by getting 10 contiguous slots.

This allows us to perform operations like accessing the slot #2 by knowing the memory address of the first slot, #0, and simply adding 2 to that.

In JavaScript we work at a higher level, and arrays work in a different way. We don’t have access to the memory like we can with C or other lower level languages, so we are abstracted away from this kind of array math.

Arrays in lower level languages can only store one specific data type, so we can make calculation on how much memory an array will take beforehand, so we can store it safely in a place in the computer memory that can host it.

In JavaScript, arrays can host any kind of data, mixing it. We can have a number, then an object, then another array.

An array is initialized using this syntax:

const myArray = []

or

const myArray = new Array()

there’s no difference, but I prefer the shorthand syntax [].

In JavaScript we are not required to specify the array size at creation time, but we can do it:

const myArray = new Array(10)

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