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Author: FlashGuru | Website: http://www.flashguru.co.uk

Associative arrays:

Associative arrays give you another way to store information. Using associative arrays, you can call the array element you need using a string rather than a number, which is often easier to remember. The downside is that these aren't as useful in a loop because they do not use numbers as the index value.

An associative array is defined in the same way as a normal array except you use a string instead of an index.

So for example we want to use store a list of cars, rather than using:

mycars=new Array()
mycars[0]="peugoet 306"
mycars[1]="citreon saxo"
mycars[2]="ford fiesta"

We could use:

mycars=new Array()
mycars["fast"]="peugoet 306"
mycars["sporty"]="citreon saxo"
mycars["old"]="ford fiesta"

This can be very useful sometimes but is not as useful as a regular array when trying to loop through each value with a "for loop" as this type of array isnt based upon index numbers.

To access a value in this type of array you again use the index, but this time the index is a string, say for example we wanted to retrieve the value of sporty, we would use:

mysportycar=mycars["sporty"]

That will create a variable called mysportycar and its value will be citreon saxo.


Associative arrays are basically objects, as you can also use the following syntax to add an element to an associative array:

name_of_associative_array.index=value

Where index is a string, lets try to create our cars array using dot syntax:

mycars=new Array()
mycars.fast="peugoet 306"
mycars.sporty="citreon saxo"
mycars.old="ford fiesta"


Smashing, that works great and is easy to code, getting the value using dot syntax is also very simple. Now lets try to retrieve the value of sporty from our cars array using dot syntax:

mysportycar=mycars.sporty

So the dot syntax to retrieve the value of an associative array is as follows:

myvariable=name_of_associative_array.index

Again where index is a string.

» Level Intermediate

Added: 2001-02-26
Rating: 8 Votes: 74
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