Sort an Array of Objects by Property Using sort(fn)

Written by David Walsh on February 27, 2012 · 5 Comments

Believe it or not, there's more to JavaScript than the helper methods and classes they provide your JavaScript library. No, like seriously bro; these JavaScript-given methods do exist. One of those methods, sort, is provided to every Array instance via its prototype. I've used this method once or twice in the history of ever, bro, since I make every effort to ensure proper sort on the server side, but sometimes you may receive a JSON dump and need to sort on the client side.

Most people would assume that sort would take no method and simply sort the basic items within the array:

[1, 3, 9, 2].sort();
	// Returns: [1, 2, 3, 9]
	
[1, "a", function(){}, {}, 12, "c"].sort();
	// Returns: [1, 12, Object, "a", "c", function (){}]

But nay, broseph! If you provide a function expression to the sort method, you can sort objects within the array using simple logic. Let's say you have an array of objects representing persons and you want to sort them by age. Oh yes, it can be done, and quite easily:

[
	{ name: "Robin Van Persie", age: 28 },
	{ name: "Theo Walcott", age: 22 },
	{ name: "Bacary Sagna", age: 26  }
].sort(function(obj1, obj2) {
	// Ascending: first age less than the previous
	return obj1.age - obj2.age;
});
	// Returns:  
	// [
	//	  { name: "Theo Walcott", age: 22 },
	//	  { name: "Bacary Sagna", age: 26  },
	//	  { name: "Robin Van Persie", age: 28 }
	// ]
	

The anonymous function returns whether or not the first object's age is less than the second's, thus sorting the entire array in ascending order by age. Reverse the first and second arguments to sort in descending order.

So brochacho, now you know how to sort an array of objects using JavaScript. Get to it!

Comments

  1. Nice read, never thought to sort objects this way. but man broseph and brochacho got me laugh to death :D

  2. Great ! how could I do this in PHP ?

  3. A little bit late, but it still may be useful… ;)

    In PHP, it is almost the same. Here is the equivalent code:

    $people = array(
      array('name' => 'Robin Van Persie', 'age' => 28),
      array('name' => 'Theo Walcott', 'age' => 22),
      array('name' => 'Bacary Sagna', 'age' => 26)
    );
    
    usort($people, function($a, $b) {
      return $a['age'] - $b['age'];
    });
    
    var_dump($people);
    

    More informations: http://php.net/manual/fr/function.usort.php

  4. Anil Gautam March 12, 2013

    Hey I am tring your code but its not working.

  5. hi, i have tryed to bud a sort function by attributes a lot really, and finally i find this blog, your code work for me if the attribute is a number not if it is a string, why? i have to do something in that case? really thank you

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