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How to find the first matching item in an array with JavaScript

Today, we’re going to look at how to find an item in an array. Let’s dig in!

The Array.prototype.find() method

The Array.prototype.find() methoda locates the first item in an array that matches a test you pass in as a callback function. The callback accepts an argument that serves as a reference variable for the current item in the array.

Here’s a simple example that finds the item tuna in an array of sandwiches.

let sandwiches = ['turkey', 'chicken salad', 'tuna', 'pb&j', 'egg salad'];

let tuna = sandwiches.find(function (sandwich) {
	return sandwich === 'tuna';

// logs "tuna"

If an item isn’t found, it returns undefined.

let hamburger = sandwiches.find(function (sandwich) {
	return sandwich === 'hamburger';

// logs undefined

Working with more complex arrays

Where the Array.prototype.find() method really shines is with complex arrays.

For example, imagine an API that returns a JSON file with an array of todo objects, like this…

let todos = [
		item: 'Wash the dog',
		added: 20180322,
		completed: false
		item: 'Plan surprise party for Bailey',
		added: 20180314,
		completed: false
		item: 'Go see Black Panther',
		added: 20180312,
		completed: true
		item: 'Launch a podcast',
		added: 20180305,
		completed: false

How would you find the todo with the item of Go see Black Panther, including when it was added and whether or not it was completed?

Without the Array.prototype.find() method, you need to loop over each todo, check the item, store the result once you find a match, and then end the loop.

let item;
for (let todo of todos) {
	if (todo.item === 'Go see Black Panther') {
		item = todo;

With the Array.prototype.find() method, you can just check if the todo.item property is Go see Black Panther.

let item = todos.find(function (todo) {
	return todo.item === 'Go see Black Panther';