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A quick introduction to JavaScript Maps

 By on February 21, 2022


Map is a JavaScript datatype for storing key/value data while remembering insertion order, which was introduced in ES6. While it is not as well known as Arrays or Objects, it still can be helpful. This article has a short intro to Maps and when to use them.

How to use Maps

Maps are fairly simple to use. However, they use different methods than arrays or objects, like not using dot notation and using classes, so there is some to learn.

Creating a map

To create a Map, you run new Map() and pass an array of key/value pairs.

const map = new Map([["propertyName","value"]])

Reading a value

To read a value from a Map, you can use map.get("propertyName").

const map = new Map([["propertyName","value"]])
console.log(map.get("propertyName"))
// expected output: "value"

Setting a value

To set a value in a Map after initialization, you can use map.set("propertyName","value").

const map = new Map([["propertyName","value"]])
map.set("propertyName","newValue")
console.log(map.get("propertyName"))
// expected output: "newValue"

Deleting a value

To delete a value, you can use map.delete("propertyName")

const map = new Map([["propertyName","value"]])
map.delete("propertyName")
console.log(map.get("propertyName"))
// expected output: undefined

That is it! Now you should know the basics of using Maps. Now we will look at how they differ from Objects and Arrays.

What makes Maps different

Differences from Objects

  • Maps retain insertion order, like Arrays.
  • Maps can have keys of any type, like number or boolean, instead of just strings.
  • JSON does not support Maps. However, some other serialization formats do.
  • Maps are optimized for frequently changing data.

Differences from Arrays

  • Maps use keys like Objects.
  • As said before, JSON does not support Maps. However, some other serialization formats do.
  • Maps are optimized for frequently changing data.

Use cases for maps

  • K/V data that reliably retains insertion order.
  • Frequently changing data.
  • When you need keys of different types

Conclusion

Hopefully, now you know how and when to use Maps. If you want to learn more about things like this, be sure to subscribe to the mailing list. Thanks for reading.

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