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    Check if an array contains an item using Array.prototype.includes

    Marius SchulzMarius Schulz

    We often want to check if an array includes a specific item. It's been common to do this with the Array.prototype.indexOf method, but now we have a simpler way: We can use the Array.prototype.includes method, which is available starting with ES2016.



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    To get started, open the node REPL and create an array with a bunch of numbers. Let's say you need to find out if this array contains the value 16. The traditional approach is to call the indexOf method with a given item. IndexOf will return either the items index, or -1 if the array does not contain the item.

    Now, compare the return value to -1. The result will be true for all items in the array and false otherwise. A better approach is to use the includes method, which was standardized in ES 2016. It determines whether an array includes a certain element and returns true or false as appropriate.

    The includes method accepts an optional second parameter called from index. It specifies the array position at which to start the search.

    Go ahead and search the value 16 starting at the index four. The return value will be true, because 16 is exactly at index four. If you change the four to a five, the return value will be false.

    Specify a negative value to come from the end of the array. 16 is one of the last three items, but it's not one of the last two.

    Now, create an array of numbers that includes the special not a number value or NaN. Call the index of method and try to find NaN. It will return -1. This is because NaN is not considered to be equal to itself, index of does not find it in the array.

    The includes method fixes that behavior and correctly returns true, even for NaN. Finally, notice how the includes method helps with readability. It almost looks like a regular English sentence.