How to Split an Array Into Even Chunks in JavaScript - Stack Abuse

How to Split an Array Into Even Chunks in JavaScript

Introduction

Arrays are one the most used structures in JavaScript programming, which is why it's important to know its built-in methods like the back of your pocket.

In this tutorial, we'll take a look at how to split an array into chunks of n size in JavaScript.

Specifically, we'll take a look at two approaches:

  1. Using the slice() method and a for loop
  2. Using the splice() method and a while loop

Splitting the Array Into Even Chunks Using slice() Method

The easiest way to extract a chunk of an array, or rather, to slice it up, is the slice() method:

slice(start, end) - Returns a part of the invoked array, between the start and end indices.

Note: Both start and end can be negative integers, which just denotes that they're enumerated from the end of the array. -1 being the last element of the array, -2 being the next to last and so on...

The array returned by slice() returns a shallow copy, meaning that any references within the original array will just be copied over as-is, and won't allocate memory for completely new objects.

So, to slice a list or array into even chunks, let's use the slice() method:

function sliceIntoChunks(arr, chunkSize) {
    const res = [];
    for (let i = 0; i < arr.length; i += chunkSize) {
        const chunk = arr.slice(i, i + chunkSize);
        res.push(chunk);
    }
    return res;
}

const arr = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10];
console.log(sliceIntoChunks(arr, 3));

Running the code above yields the following output:

[[ 1, 2, 3 ], [ 4, 5, 6 ], [ 7, 8, 9 ], [ 10 ]]

In the code above, we break down arr into smaller chunks of size 3, by iterating through the array and slicing it every chunkSize. In the last iteration, there'll be only one element (10) left, which will have to make up its own chunk.

Splitting the Array Into Even Chunks Using splice() Method

Even though the splice() method may seem similar to the slice() method, its use and side-effects are very different. Let's take a closer look:

// Splice does the following two things:
// 1. Removes deleteCount elements starting from startIdx (in-place)
// 2. Inserts the provided new elements (newElem1, newElem2...) into myArray starting with index startIdx (also in-place)
// The return value of this method is an array that contains all the deleted elements
myArray.splice(startIdx, deleteCount, newElem1, newElem2...)

let arrTest = [2, 3, 1, 4]
let chunk = arrTest.splice(0,2)
console.log(chunk) // [2, 3]
console.log(arrTest) // [1, 4]

Let's see this in action through a code example:

function spliceIntoChunks(arr, chunkSize) {
    const res = [];
    while (arr.length > 0) {
        const chunk = arr.splice(0, chunkSize);
        res.push(chunk);
    }
    return res;
}

const arr = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8];
console.log(spliceIntoChunks(arr, 2));

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Running this code yields:

[ [ 1, 2 ], [ 3, 4 ], [ 5, 6 ], [ 7, 8 ] ]

Here we are using a while loop to traverse the array. In each iteration we perform the splicing operation and push each chunk into a resulting array until there are no more elements left in the original array (arr.length > 0).

A very important thing to note is that splice() changes the original array. where as slice() creates a copy of the original array, so there won't be any change in the original one.

Conclusion

In this article, we have went over a couple of easy ways to split a list into even chunks in JavaScript. While doing so, we learned how to work with couple of built-in array methods like slice() and splice().

Last Updated: March 26th, 2021

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Abhilash KakumanuAuthor

Hey, I am a full-stack web developer located in India. I am a curious person who is always trying to wrap my head around new technologies. In my free time, I read novels and play with my dog!

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