1.2.3 • Public • Published


Configurable comparator for use in the array.sort() call


  • Chained call of any length results in a comparator function
  • Short and simple syntax
  • Support for mapping values
  • Extendable by adding more comparators or mappers

Usage examples

import Comparator from 'comparator-pipeline';
array.sort( => something(v)).reversed);



$ npm install comparator-pipeline --save


The Comparator is a function used to compare two values and return < 0, 0 or > 0. Each Comparator call will return the comparator function (e.g. Comparator or Comparator.natural or Comparator.natural.reversed). The Comparator contains a pipeline of steps. The pipeline is performed left to right.

Make sure to call the pipeline steps in the right order because otherwise some may be ignored.

So Comparator.natural.reversed works as expected. But Comparator.reversed.natural will not be reversed because the actual sort is after the reversed step.

When no comparator is added to the pipeline, the default comparator (literal) will be used. (which will be called when needed so, for example, Comparator.reversed.natural will call the default comparator to get the reversed value, then call the natural comparator)

Possible pipeline steps:

literal Compare using < and >. (default)
natural Compare '8' before '20' when strings. (for a natural sort)
locale Compare using localization. Is configurable, so calls with args as in String.localeCompare(...) without the first, or empty for defaults.
text Map values to string (alias: string[s]).
number[s] Map values to floats (using parseFloat).
map(mapper) Map values using a mapper function. Mapper should be in the form (value, initialValue) => value. value is the value to compare (which can be different from initialValue because it may have been mapped before). initialValueis the initial array element.
ignoreCase Maps values to lowercase string.
trim Maps values to trimmed string.
reverse[d] Reverse results (ascending <-> descending). Comparators are ascending by default.
ascend[ing] Results are made ascending (a-z). (actually reverses if reversed)
descend[ing] Results are made descending (z-a). (actually reverses if not reversed)
other steps
key(name) Alias of, obj) => obj[name]).
orElse Stops the pipeline if the previous comparison is non-0 (non-equal). Otherwise resets and continues as if new.
end Stops the pipeline, even if there is no result. This may be needed when using a configurable function without braces as last step.
setup(...) Configure from strings, like 'natural', 'reversed'.
array.sort( Comparator )
array.sort( Comparator.reversed )
array.sort( Comparator.natural.descending )
array.sort( Comparator.locale.ascending )
array.sort( Comparator.key('foo').literal.strings )
array.sort( obj => obj.n * obj.a ).numbers )
array.sort( Comparator.key('foo').map( (k, obj) => k * obj.a ).numbers )
array.sort( Comparator.key('a').reversed.key('b').numbers.key('c').literal.strings )
array.sort(,o)=>o.a),o)=>o.b).descending )
array.sort( Comparator.setup('key', 'a', 'numbers', 'reversed') )
array.sort( Comparator.locale('de') )
array.sort( Comparator.locale() )
array.sort( Comparator.locale.end ) // ".end" because of no braces for configurable

Example: Key

Comparing an array of objects:

let array = [ { firstName:..., lastName:..., age:... }, ... ]

This will sort the array on lastName (natural ascending), except when the lastName is equal which will sort on firstName (literal ascending), except when the firstName is equal which will sort on age (literal descending).

The key(String) call will reset previous settings like reversed or natural. It will stop the pipeline when a non-0 (non-equal) result was achieved.

Alternatively the 'orElse' can be used:

array.sort(Comparator       .map((o,v) => o.lastName).natural
           ,v) => o.firstName)
            => o.age).reversed );

Extending pipeline functionality

Functionality can be added by assigning functions to Comparator:

Comparator[.type].name = function(...)

All steps can be added via the 'steps' type. A step function is called with a pipeline state. The this of the function is also pipeline state.

A few convenience types are available that don't have to use the pipeline state directly:

Type Parameters Return Description
comparators valueA, valueB < 0, 0 or > 0 comparator functions (default when type is omitted). must be ascending.
valueMappers value, initialValue new value Value mapper functions.
resultMappers result new result Result mapper functions.
  • The 'comparators' type is default and can be omitted.
  • When using the extension, the type (valueMappers, resultMappers, etc) should be omitted.
  • All names should be unique.
  • When an extention requires configuration, use 'configurable' (see below)

The Comparator-pipeline is called for each comparison needed to sort the array. So it will be called with two array items and should return < 0, 0 or > 0. Each pipeline-step is called until the end or until a pipeline step determines the pipeline is finished.

'steps' functions get a pipeline-state to update.

The pipeline-state has the following fields:

  • a value to compare
  • b value to compare against
  • initialA initial value of a (a may have changed due to mapping)
  • initialB initial value of b (b may have changed due to mapping)
  • result the comparison result, or undefined
  • isFinished true when no more steps in the pipeline should be executed
  • pipeline array of steps in the pipeline.
  • step current step. Step looks like { type, name, func }
  • comparator last used comparator (e.g. the literal or natural function)
  • checkResult() calls getResult() if result is undefined
  • getResult() uses comparator (default comparator if not set) to set result.
  • hasResult() true when result is not undefined and not 0.
  • reset() sets state back to begin: no result, not finished, initial a/b, comparator default.

A step function can update the current state, for example by changing a/b or setting the result.

A step function can be made configurable by setting 'configurable' in the path. The step function should return a function then:

Comparator.steps.configurable.test = (cfg1, cfg2) => state => do something with cfg1, cfg2 and state.

Comparator.valueMappers.abs = val => Math.abs(val);
array.sort( Comparator.numbers.abs )
Comparator.valueMappers.ignoreCase = v => String(v).toLowerCase();
Comparator.valueMappers.onFirstCapital = v => v.replace( /^(.*?)([A-Z][^ ]+)/, '$2$1' );
Comparator.resultMappers.reversed = result => -result;
array.sort( Comparator.numbers.abs.reversed );
Comparator.steps.stop = state => state.isFinished = true;

Extension configuration

When an extension requires configuration input, the 'configurable' key should be used, and the function should return a function.

Comparator.configurable.example = (...cfg) => (a, b) ==> { something with a, b, cfg };

For example in Comparator.abs.reversed, 'abs' does not have any configuration. But in Comparator.key('a').reversed, 'key' has one or more key-names as configuration.

(the explicit use ('configurable') is better than guessing if the function returns a function)

Overwriting functionality

It is also possible to overwrite existing handlers. For example the default 'numbers' valueMapper is this:

Comparator.valueMappers.numbers = v => parseFloat(v);

which you can change (for example) to:

Comparator.valueMappers.numbers = v => parseInt(v);

or let trim also trim braces:

Comparator.valueMappers.trim = v => v.replace( /^[{(\s]+|[})\s]+$/g, '' );

Existing functionality can be removed by using the delete keyword, without the type.

delete Comparator.trim


MIT (C) Nicolas de Jong

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