What Is an Array-Like Object in JavaScript?

Find out what an array-like object is in JavaScript

In JavaScript, an object is said to be "array-like" if it satisfies the following conditions:

  1. Has indexed elements (i.e. object has sequential access to its properties);
  2. Has a (non-negative) length property which tells how many elements the object has.

An array-like object can easily be converted into an array and you can iterate over its elements.

For example, creating an array-like object can be as simple as doing something like the following:

const obj = { 0: 'foo', 1: 'bar', 2: 'baz', length: 3 };

An array-like object can also potentially / possibly have gaps like the following:

const obj = { 0: 'foo', 5: 'bar', 7: 'baz', length: 8 };

They can also have random key ordering, for example:

const obj = { 5: 'bar', 7: 'baz', 0: 'foo', length: 8 };

Some common examples of array-like objects in JavaScript include; NodeList, HTMLCollection, the arguments object in a function, etc.

Please note that an array-like object does not have access to array methods such as push, forEach, indexOf, etc. This is because it doesn't inherit array properties/methods from Array.prototype as the object is not constructed using Array or []. However, some array-like objects may choose to implement similar methods (like how the NodeList object implements the NodeList.prototype.forEach() method).

By default, an array-like object might not be usable with syntaxes that expect iterables (such as a for...of loop, the spread syntax, yield*, and destructuring assignment), unless it implements the iterable protocol.


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