Home > Articles > Open Source > Ajax & JavaScript

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book


A loop will execute a block of code over and over until you tell it to stop. It can iterate through data or HTML. For our purposes we’ll mostly be looping through data. Much the way a function is a chunk of JavaScript code, a loop can make that function execute over and over—like a little buddy you have to do your repetitive tasks for you. And they’re built right into the language!

For this one, we need some data to loop through. We’ll be using contact information for the data and saving it to a JSON object called “contacts.” Listing 6.5 shows a small sample of the contact information we’ll be looping through. I find it easier to work with data that represents people, because when something goes wrong with one of the items it’s more difficult to get angry at someone you know than it is at anything else. Feel free to substitute your own friends or family in the data so you don’t get frustrated if something goes wrong.

Listing 6.5. Creating Data in a JSON Object

var contacts = {
    "addressBook" : [
            "name": "hillisha",
            "email": "hill@example.com",
            "name": "paul",
            "email": "cleveland@example.com",
            "name": "vishaal",
            "email": "vish@example.com",
            "name": "mike",
            "email": "grady@example.com",
            "name": "jamie",
            "email": "dusted@example.com",

for Loop

There are few different types of loops in JavaScript, a while loop, a do-while loop, and a for loop. Most of them are perfectly fine; I would avoid the foreach loop because it’s known to be a performance hog, but the others are fine to use. A while loop and a for loop are basically the same thing, but the for loop is a little more direct, to the point, and it’s the most common kind of loop you’re going to find in the wild. In all the years I’ve been writing JavaScript, it’s been 99% for loops. With that in mind, we’re going to go over the for loop in this book.

Listing 6.5.1 will show you a basic for loop, and then we’ll go over what’s happening.

Listing 6.5.1. A for Loop Integrating Address Book Data

/* cache some initial variables */
var object = contacts.addressBook,
    contactsCount = object.length,

/* loop through each JSON object item until you hit #5, then stop */
for (i = 0; i < contactsCount; i = i + 1) {

     // code you want to execute over and over again

} // end for loop

Right away, you can see that we’re saving some information to variables. The first variable “object” is saving the JSON object we create to a variable so it’s a little easier to work with. The second variable, “contactsCount”, looks through the JSON object and counts the number of items in there. This will let us know how many times to loop through the data. The third variable, “i”, is just a way to declare the counting variable for our loop. Later on we’ll be setting the value.

Inside the for you can see three statements. The first statement is setting the counter variable (i) to its initial value of 0 (we start at 0). The second statement is the condition in which you run the loop. As long as the “i” value is less than the overall count of items in the data, it should execute the code contained inside the loop brackets { }. The last statement takes the “i” value and adds 1 to it each time the loop executes until it’s no longer less than the overall count. In our case, this loop will execute 5 times because there are five people in the address book.

Listing 6.5.2 will show the actual loop to iterate through the address book data saved to the JSON object, and then, using the innerHTML DOM method, output the result into the document’s <body> element. Besides the output, a main difference to note in Listing 6.5.2 is that we’re now running a check on the contactsCount variable to make sure it’s greater than 0 before continuing onto the loop. This is a general best practice to prevent unnecessary code from executing should there be an error with the data.

Listing 6.5.2. A for Loop Integrating Address Book Data

/* cache some initial variables */
var object = contacts.addressBook, // save the data object
    contactsCount = object.length, // how many items in the JSON object? "5"
    target = document.getElementsByTagName("body")[0], // where you're outputting the data
    i; // declare the "i" variable for later use in the loop

/* before doing anything make sure there are contacts to loop through */
if(contactsCount > 0) {

    /* loop through each JSON object item until you hit #5, then stop */
    for (i = 0; i < contactsCount; i = i + 1) {

        /* inside the loop "i" is the array index */
        var item = object[i],
            name = item.name,
            email = item.email;

        /* insert each person's name & mailto link in the HTML */
       target.innerHTML += '<p><a href="mailto:'+ email +'">' + name + '</a></p>';


It’s nice to be rid of that annoying alert box, isn’t it? Rather than alerting each value, we are now choosing a target within the HTML document (<body> element) and outputting the data there. This is more along the lines of what you’ll be doing in the real world, so we’ll be doing that now instead of using the alert() method.

Performance Considerations

As mentioned in an earlier chapter, JavaScript, by nature, is blocking. That means it will stop the download of other objects on the page until it is finished with its business. This can be very evident when dealing with loops. The data we’re dealing with here is only five items in length, so there isn’t a problem executing this block of code 5 times. However, as the number of elements you’re looping through increases, so will the time it takes to iterate over them. This is important to note when you’re looping through a lot of items because it can really bog down the loading time of a page.

Any variable that doesn’t change and can be defined outside the loop should be defined outside the loop. You’ll notice in our loop that there is a variable called contactsCount; it is defined outside the loop and then referenced within. We can do this because the length of the data never changes while the information is being looped through. If it were inside the loop, the length would have to be recalculated each time the loop ran, which can get very resource intensive. Little things like that can help you conserve resources when you’re working with loops.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020