Sort an Array of Objects in JavaScript, TypeScript or Node.js

Sorting data is an essential task in applications. For example, a list of data in the frontend contains ways to sort the data based on a given column. Also, you might want to sort the data in ascending or descending order.

This tutorial shows you how to sort a JavaScript array of objects by a property value, independently of the property’s type.

Node.js Series Overview

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  18. Check If a String Is in Lowercase in JavaScript or Node.js
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  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
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Sort an Object Array in JavaScript

Sorting data in JavaScript follows a pattern. JavaScript provides an Array#sort method that accepts a comparator function. This comparator function gives you two items to compare. The comparison inside the function determines the return value which in turn defines the sort order (ascending or descending).

Here’s more detail for JavaScript’s Array#sort method: you’ll receive two items in your callback function provided to the sort method. The return value then defines if the first item comes before the reference, after the reference, or if they are the same (keep order):

  • return a negative value (typically -1): a comes before b
  • return a positive value (typically 1): a comes after b
  • return zero (0): a equals b
array.sort((a, b) => {  
  // the return value defines the sort order
})

Example: Sorting by Object Property

Here’s a sample list of users that can be sorted by different properties. Each property in a user object has a different type:

const users = [  
  { id: 2, name: 'Marcus' },
  { id: 1, name: 'Christian' },
  { id: 3, name: 'Norman' }
]

Here’s a general approach to sorting an object array by property. Compare the property values to determine which one is smaller than the other and then return 1 or -1:

users.sort((a, b) => {  
  return a.name >= b.name
    ? 1
    : -1
})

You may wrap this sorting into a function allowing you to switch the property dynamically:

function sortUsersBy(property) {  
  return users.sort((a, b) => {
    return a[property] >= b[property]
      ? 1
      : -1
  })
}

You may sort the users array by name like this:

const sortedUsersByName = sortUsersBy('name')  

Fine-Grained Sorting Control for Different Data Types

You typically need more fine-grained control when sorting data. For example, comparing string values means you need to think about comparing case-sensitive or case-insensitive because lowercase and uppercase characters are handled differently.

Here’s a list of tutorials available on Future Studio about sorting arrays of different data types:

Enjoy sorting!


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