Javascript reduce on array of objects


Say I want to sum a.x for each element in arr.

arr = [{x:1},{x:2},{x:4}]
arr.reduce(function(a,b){return a.x + b.x})
>> NaN

I have cause to believe that a.x is undefined at some point.

The following works fine

arr = [1,2,4]
arr.reduce(function(a,b){return a + b})
>> 7

What am I doing wrong in the first example?

4/20/2011 2:31:57 PM

Accepted Answer

After the first iteration your're returning a number and then trying to get property x of it to add to the next object which is undefined and maths involving undefined results in NaN.

try returning an object contain an x property with the sum of the x properties of the parameters:

var arr = [{x:1},{x:2},{x:4}];

arr.reduce(function (a, b) {
  return {x: a.x + b.x}; // returns object with property x

// ES6
arr.reduce((a, b) => ({x: a.x + b.x}));

// -> {x: 7}

Explanation added from comments:

The return value of each iteration of [].reduce used as the a variable in the next iteration.

Iteration 1: a = {x:1}, b = {x:2}, {x: 3} assigned to a in Iteration 2

Iteration 2: a = {x:3}, b = {x:4}.

The problem with your example is that you're returning a number literal.

function (a, b) {
  return a.x + b.x; // returns number literal

Iteration 1: a = {x:1}, b = {x:2}, // returns 3 as a in next iteration

Iteration 2: a = 3, b = {x:2} returns NaN

A number literal 3 does not (typically) have a property called x so it's undefined and undefined + b.x returns NaN and NaN + <anything> is always NaN

Clarification: I prefer my method over the other top answer in this thread as I disagree with the idea that passing an optional parameter to reduce with a magic number to get out a number primitive is cleaner. It may result in fewer lines written but imo it is less readable.

8/30/2017 2:05:22 PM

A cleaner way to accomplish this is by providing an initial value:

var arr = [{x:1}, {x:2}, {x:4}];
arr.reduce(function (acc, obj) { return acc + obj.x; }, 0); // 7

The first time the anonymous function is called, it gets called with (0, {x: 1}) and returns 0 + 1 = 1. The next time, it gets called with (1, {x: 2}) and returns 1 + 2 = 3. It's then called with (3, {x: 4}), finally returning 7.

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