I am converting a look-up table in PHP which looks like this to JavaScript using json_encode:

 AbilitiesLookup Object
[abilities:private] => Array
        [1] => Ability_MeleeAttack Object
                [abilityid:protected] => 
                [range:protected] => 1
                [name:protected] => MeleeAttack
                [ability_identifier:protected] => MeleeAttack
                [aoe_row:protected] => 1
                [aoe_col:protected] => 1
                [aoe_shape:protected] => 
                [cooldown:protected] => 0
                [focusCost:protected] => 0
                [possibleFactions:protected] => 2
                [abilityDesc:protected] => Basic Attack

And in JSON, it is:


The problem is I get a JS object, not an array, and the identifier is a number. I see 2 ways around this problem - either find a way to access the JSON using a number (which I do not know how) or make it such that json_encode (or some other custom encoding functions) can give a JavaScript associative array.

(Yes, I am rather lacking in my JavaScript department).

Note: The JSON output doesn't match the array - this is because I do a manual json encoding for each element in the subscript, before pushing it onto an array (with the index as the key), then using json_encode on it. To be clear, the number are not sequential because it's an associative array (which is why the JSON output is not an array).


Arrays in JavaScript always have idexes squential and starting from zero. Javascript object is an associative array. There is no other type (other then object) in javascript that behaves like associative array.

Written by Kamil Szot

Accepted Answer

JavaScript object property names can be strings in any format. They can even be just digits (as it is in your case) and there's no issue with accessing them with numeric indexes/keys:

var obj = {
    "1": "foo",
    "2": "bar"

obj["1"]; // returns "foo"
obj[1]; // returns "foo" (1 will implicitly get cast to the string "1")
Written by Ates Goral
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