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Getting the first and last items in a set with vanilla JS

In jQuery, you can use the first() and last() methods to get the first and last items in a set.

For example, imagine you had a list of awesome wizards, like this.

	<li>Harry Potter</li>

If you used jQuery to get all of those list items, the first() method would match against Hermione, and the last() method would match against Dumbledore.

var wizards = $('li');

// returns Hermione

// returns Dumbledore

To be frank, this is silly. You don’t need helper methods for this. Let’s look at how you’d do this in vanilla JS.

First, we’ll use querySelectorAll() to get all matching elements.

var wizards = document.querySelectorAll('li');

Then, we can use bracket notation to get items from the NodeList by their index.

The first item has an index of 0, while the last has an index of the total length of the list, minus 1 (since indexes start at 0).

// returns Hermione

// returns Dumbledore
wizards[wizards.length - 1];

And that’s it.