Trusted answers to developer questions
Trusted Answers to Developer Questions

Related Tags

javascript
communitycreator

Dot vs. Bracket notation when accessing a JavaScript object

Programming Bytes

We can access the property of an object by:

  • Dot notation
  • Bracket notation

Dot notation

Dot notation makes code more readable. It is the most popular way to access the property of an object.

Syntax: obj.property_name

var user = {name : "Mark"};
user.name ; // "Mark"

When not to use dot notation

Consider that we have a property named 123:

var obj = {
 '123' : 123
};

In the above case, we cannot access this using obj.123; because an identifier that begins with a number is not a valid dot notation identifier.

obj.123; 

So, if the property name is not a valid identifier, we cannot access its value using . notation.

In this case, we can use bracket notation:

var obj = {
 '123' : 123
};
obj['123']; // 123

In JavaScript, and _ are valid identifiers. Therefore, we can access them properties using . notation.

var obj = {
   $ : 10,
   _ : 20
}
obj.$; // 10
obj._; // 20

Bracket notation

Bracket notation is used when the property name is an invalid dot notation identifierstarts with a number, contains symbols.

Syntax: obj[property_name]

var obj = {
 test-123 : "test"
}
// in this case we cannot use dot notation
obj['test-123']; // "test"

If the property name is a whole number, then we don’t need to wrap the name inside single/double quotes. If the property name is a double, then we need to wrap the property name inside single/double quotes.

Example 1: Whole number

var obj = {
 123456 : 10
}
obj[123456]; // 10

Example 2: Double

var obj = {
 123.456 : 10
}
obj[123.456]; // undefined
obj['123.456']; // 10

Example 3: Using an invalid number

var obj = {
   '123.123.123' : 10
};
obj['123.123.123']; // 10

Example 4: Using special symbols

var obj = {
  '123-test' : "test" 
}
obj[123-test]; // error (test is not defined)
obj['123-test']; // "test"

Using a variable as the property name

If the object’s key value is only known at runtime, then we need to use bracket notation.

Example:

var obj = {
  name : "Mark",
  age : 20
}
var name = "age";
obj[name]; // 20
obj["name"]; // Mark

We can also use an object as the property name, but that will be converted into [object Object].

var a = {};
var b = {};
var c = {};
c[a] = 10;
c ; // {[object Object]: 10}
c[b] = 20; // this will replace old [object Object] value
c; // {[object Object]: 20}

We can also have an empty string as the property name.

var obj= {};
var emptyString = "";
obj[emptyString] = "10";
obj[emptyString]; // "10"

RELATED TAGS

javascript
communitycreator
RELATED COURSES

View all Courses

Keep Exploring