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    JavaScript Data Structures

    Fast, fully tested and documented data structures built with JavaScript.


    This library is 100% black box tested with 400+ unit tests. This means the test suite covers the public API and ignores implementation details (like private methods), thereby avoiding brittle tests and unnecessary re-work over time.

    Unit tests follow AAA testing pattern (Arrange -> Act -> Assert).

    If you would like to run the test suite after cloning the repo, run npm install then npm test.

    Generate documentation

    You can easily build JSDoc documentation by running npm run doc.

    Technical decisions:

    • prefer using space to improve time complexity
    • prefer multiple recursion if algorithm naturally branches
    • prefer iterative solutions over simple recursion
    • prefer throwing errors over silently failing on incorrect inputs and edge cases
    • prefer conditional statements that avoid code instead of wrapping it
    • give users access to class properties
    • prefer command-query separation -- setters do not return values
    • prefer single responsibility for all functions
    • prefer high cohesion over utility modules
    • prefer descriptive, verbose identifiers

    General notes

    Performance compared to other languages

    If you need to squeeze every ounce of performance out of your data structures, JavaScript is likely not your language of choice given its high level of abstraction. That said, I imagine many JavaScript developers still build data structures on a daily basis. This library provides those developers with clean, performant examples that take into account all of JavaScript's quirks.

    Object key iteration: for in loops vs Object.keys

    Although I generally avoid for in loops in my code and prefer the Airbnb style guide way of accessing object properties through Object.keys, this is highly inefficient for large data sets. All data structures in this library are built to scale with time efficiency as the primary goal, and the linear time operation of Object.keys is simply too costly to use at scale.

    Dynamic graphs

    The graphs in this library are dynamic and flexible -- vertices can be added or deleted at whim. This means that the traditional method of building graphs with vertices labeled 0 to n-1 in array-based adjacency lists is out of the question. In that case, extra values would need to be tracked -- for example, deleting values from the middle of the array would leave holes that need to be filled, and looping would be complicated. The index for the next addition would also need to be tracked.

    Object-oriented adjacency lists avoid these issues given that keys can be named anything and still accessed in constant time.

    Library structure: ES6 classes vs OLOO pattern

    I chose to use class syntax for its familiarity compared to classic object-oriented approaches to data structures. Users transitioning from object-oriented languages like Java or Python should understand the JavaScript implementations immediately.

    If I were to build these structures without "classes", I would use Kyle Simpson's OLOO pattern (objects linked to other objects). The performance would be nearly the same, yet the code would be cleaner and more flexible. Without extraneous constructors and the new keyword, we could directly and explicitly embrace the prototype chain.

    Space complexity vs auxiliary space

    When I describe space complexity in this library, I am only referring to the extra space the algorithm uses with respect to the input size. I do not include the space used by the input. The formal definition for this is auxiliary space. For example, I would describe methods that modify every element of an array in-place as having O(1) space complexity because extra space is not required.

    Space complexities do not include call stack

    My space complexities refer to heap memory consumed rather than call stack space consumed. Call stack space is typically (logN) for depth-first search on trees and O(N) to traverse linear structures with recursive calls that aren't tail-call optimized.


    npm i @ganorberg/data-structures-javascript

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