How to create dictionary and add key–value pairs dynamically?

How to create dictionary and add key–value pairs dynamically?

From post:
Sending a JSON array to be received as a Dictionary
I’m trying to do this same thing as that post. The only issue is that I don’t know what the keys and the values are upfront. So I need to be able to dynamically add the key and value pairs and I don’t know how to do that.
Does anyone know how to create that object and add key value pairs dynamically?
I’ve tried:
var vars = [{key:”key”, value:”value”}];
vars[0].key = “newkey”;
vars[0].value = “newvalue”;

But that doesn’t work.


Solution 1:

var dict = []; // create an empty array

    key:   "keyName",
    value: "the value"
// repeat this last part as needed to add more key/value pairs

Basically, you’re creating an object literal with 2 properties (called key and value) and inserting it (using push()) into the array.

Edit: So almost 5 years later, this answer is getting downvotes because it’s not creating an “normal” JS object literal (aka map, aka hash, aka dictionary).
It is however creating the structure that OP asked for (and which is illustrated in the other question linked to), which is an array of object literals, each with key and value properties. Don’t ask me why that structure was required, but it’s the one that was asked for.

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But, but, if what you want in a plain JS object – and not the structure OP asked for – see tcll’s answer, though the bracket notation is a bit cumbersome if you just have simple keys that are valid JS names. You can just do this:

// object literal with properties
var dict = {
  key1: "value1",
  key2: "value2"
  // etc.

Or use regular dot-notation to set properties after creating an object:

// empty object literal with properties added afterward
var dict = {};
dict.key1 = "value1";
dict.key2 = "value2";
// etc.

You do want the bracket notation if you’ve got keys that have spaces in them, special characters, or things like that. E.g:

var dict = {};

// this obviously won't work
dict.some invalid key (for multiple reasons) = "value1";

// but this will
dict["some invalid key (for multiple reasons)"] = "value1";

You also want bracket notation if your keys are dynamic:

dict[firstName + " " + lastName] = "some value";

Note that keys (property names) are always strings, and non-string values will be coerced to a string when used as a key. E.g. a Date object gets converted to its string representation:

dict[new Date] = "today's value";

// => {
//      "Sat Nov 04 2016 16:15:31 GMT-0700 (PDT)": "today's value"
//    }

Note however that this doesn’t necessarily “just work”, as many objects will have a string representation like "[object Object]" which doesn’t make for a non-unique key. So be wary of something like:

var objA = { a: 23 },
    objB = { b: 42 };

dict[objA] = "value for objA";
dict[objB] = "value for objB";

// => { "[object Object]": "value for objB" }

Despite objA and objB being completely different and unique elements, they both have the same basic string representation: "[object Object]".

The reason Date doesn’t behave like this is that the Date prototype has a custom toString method which overrides the default string representation. And you can do the same:

// a simple constructor with a toString prototypal method
function Foo() {
  this.myRandomNumber = Math.random() * 1000 | 0;

Foo.prototype.toString = function () {
  return "Foo instance #" + this.myRandomNumber;

dict[new Foo] = "some value";

// => {
//      "Foo instance #712": "some value"
//    }

(Note that since the above uses a random number, name collisions can still occur very easily. It’s just to illustrate an implementation of toString.)

So when trying to use objects as keys, JS will use the object’s own toString implementation, if any, or use the default string representation.

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Solution 2:

var dict = {};

dict['key'] = "testing";


works just like python 🙂

console output:

Object {key: "testing"} 

Solution 3:

Its as simple as:

var blah = {}; // make a new dictionary (empty)


var blah = {key: value, key2: value2}; // make a new dictionary with two pairs 


blah.key3 = value3; // add a new key/value pair
blah.key2; // returns value2
blah['key2']; // also returns value2

Solution 4:

Since you’ve stated that you want a dictionary object (and not an array like I assume some understood) I think this is what you are after:

var input = [{key:"key1", value:"value1"},{key:"key2", value:"value2"}];

var result = {};

for(var i = 0; i < input.length; i++)
    result[input[i].key] = input[i].value;

console.log(result); // Just for testing

Solution 5:

JavaScript’s Object is in itself like a dictionary. No need to reinvent the wheel.

var dict = {};

// Adding key-value -pairs
dict['key'] = 'value'; // Through indexer
dict.anotherKey = 'anotherValue'; // Through assignment

// Looping through
for (var item in dict) {
  console.log('key:' + item + ' value:' + dict[item]);
  // Output
  // key:key value:value
  // key:anotherKey value:anotherValue

// Non existent key
console.log(dict.notExist); // undefined

// Contains key?
if (dict.hasOwnProperty('key')) {
  // Remove item
  delete dict.key;

// Looping through
for (var item in dict) {
  console.log('key:' + item + ' value:' + dict[item]);
  // Output
  // key:anotherKey value:anotherValue


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Solution 6:

You can use maps with Map, like this:

var sayings = new Map();
sayings.set('dog', 'woof');
sayings.set('cat', 'meow');