Tutorial :What's the fastest way to merge Array's in JavaScript where comparisons are expensive?



Question:

I want to merge two Array's in JavaScript. Unfortunately, comparisons of the particular data I am using is expensive. What is the best algorithm to merge my to lists with the least amount of comparisons?

EDIT: I should note that the two Array's are sorted and I would like the merged content to be sorted and have only unique values.

EDIT: By request I will give you my current code, but it really doesn't help..

// Merges arr1 and arr2 (placing the result in arr1)  merge = function(arr1,arr2) {      if(!arr1.length) {          Array.prototype.push.apply(arr1,arr2);          return;      }      var j, lj;      for(var s, i=0, j=0, li=arr1.length, lj=arr2.length; i<li && j<lj;) {          s = compare(arr1[i], arr2[j]);          if(s<0) ++i;          else if(s==0) ++i, ++j;          else arr1.splice(i,0, arr2[j++]);      }      if(j<lj) Array.prototype.push.apply(arr1, arr2.slice(j));  };  


Solution:1

This is exactly what merge sort does in the merging step with a minor addition that duplicate elements will be dropped off. Here's the algorithm:

function merge(left,right)      var list result      while length(left) > 0 and length(right) > 0          if first(left) ≤ first(right)              append first(left) to result              left = rest(left)          else              append first(right) to result              right = rest(right)      end while      if length(left) > 0           append left to result      else            append right to result      return result  


Solution:2

Here is a function to make the array unique:

Array.prototype.unique = function () {      var r = new Array();      o:for(var i = 0, n = this.length; i < n; i++)      {          for(var x = 0, y = r.length; x < y; x++)          {              if(r[x]==this[i])              {                  continue o;              }          }          r[r.length] = this[i];      }      return r;  }  

To merge Arrays you would do:

var MainArray= arr1.concat(arr2);  

Then to remove duplicates:

var MainArray= MainArray.unique();  

Then to sort:

var MainArray= MainArray.sort(); //Or you own sort if you have one  

I think this sounds along the lines you were looking for, but it might depend on the amount and type of data.


Solution:3

This seems to do it for me using maps to do comparisons instead of a comparison function. It results in more loops though which is often more expensive than the comparison. This was used to right join arrays of objects that had a name attribute. It also had the unique problem of having to modify the existing array vs. creating a new array and assigning. Some reference thing with D3 and force nodes.

function merge(right,left) {      var map_right = {},          map_left = {};      right.forEach(function(n) {          map_right[n.name] = n;      });      left.forEach(function(n) {          map_left[n.name] = n;      });      for(var n in map_left) {          if (map_right[n] === undefined) {              left.splice(nodes.indexOf(map_b[n]),1);          }      }      right.forEach(function (n) {          if (map_left[n.name] === undefined) {              left.push(n);          }      });  }  

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