Node.js — How to Reset and Empty an Array

When emptying an array in JavaScript/Node.js you’ll surely think of reassigning your array’s value to a new array. There’s another way to reset an array: set the length to zero. Let’s have a look at both ways.

Node.js Series Overview

  1. String Replace All Appearances
  2. Remove All Whitespace From a String in JavaScript
  3. Generate a Random ID or String in Node.js or JavaScript
  4. Remove Extra Spaces From a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  5. Remove Numbers From a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  6. Get the Part Before a Character in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  7. Get the Part After a Character in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  8. How to Check if a Value is a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  9. Check If a String Includes All Strings in JavaScript/Node.js/TypeScript
  10. Check if a Value is a String in JavaScript and Node.js
  11. Limit and Truncate a String to a Given Length in JavaScript and Node.js
  12. Split a String into a List of Characters in JavaScript and Node.js
  13. How to Generage a UUID in Node.js
  14. Reverse a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  15. Split a String into a List of Lines in JavaScript or Node.js
  16. Split a String into a List of Words in JavaScript or Node.js
  17. Detect if a String is in camelCase Format in Javascript or Node.js
  18. Check If a String Is in Lowercase in JavaScript or Node.js
  19. Check If a String is in Uppercase in JavaScript or Node.js
  20. Get the Part After First Occurrence in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  21. Get the Part Before First Occurrence in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  22. Get the Part Before Last Occurrence in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  23. Get the Part After Last Occurrence in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  24. How to Count Words in a File
  25. How to Shuffle the Characters of a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  26. Append Characters or Words to a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  27. Check if a String is Empty in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  28. Ensure a String Ends with a Given Character in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  29. Left-Trim Characters Off a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  30. Right-Trim Characters Off a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  31. Lowercase the First Character of a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  32. Uppercase the First Character of a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  33. Prepend Characters or Words to a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  1. Get Number of Seconds Since Epoch in JavaScript
  2. Get Tomorrow’s Date in JavaScript
  3. Increase a Date in JavaScript by One Week
  4. Add Seconds to a Date in Node.js and JavaScript
  5. Add Month(s) to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js
  6. Add Week(s) to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js
  7. Get the Current Year in JavaScript or Node.js
  8. How to Get a UNIX Timestamp in JavaScript or Node.js
  9. How to Convert a UNIX Timestamp to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js
  10. Add Days to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js
  11. Get Yesterday's Date in JavaScript or Node.js
  12. Add Minutes to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  13. Add Hours to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  14. Check If a Date Is Today in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  15. Check If a Date is Tomorrow in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  16. Check If a Date is Yesterday in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  17. How to Format a Date YYYY-MM-DD in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)

Assign an Empty Array

A common way to reset an array is assigning an empty array:

let items = [ 'item1', 'item2', 'item3' ]  
items = []

console.log(items.length)  
// -> output: 0

This comes with the downside of creating a new array and leaving the old one for the garbage collector. Garbage collection is an optimized process in nowadays Node.js runtimes. It won’t create much headache for you as a developer.

Using a new array will not affect any value that references your array. Depending on where this array comes from this is safe to use because you’re not changing the values themselves.

Set the Array Length to Zero

Setting the length to zero will empty the existing array. It will also empty all participants.

let items = [ 'item1', 'item2', 'item3' ]  
items.length = 0

console.log(items.length)  
// -> output: 0

Using this approach, you don’t leave work for the garbage collector, but possibly affect referenced arrays and reset them as well. All JavaScript runtimes (Browser, Node.js) are optimized for the operation to set the array length to zero. There’s no performance penalty going this way.


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