Haxe Code Cookbook
Haxe programming cookbookBeginnerUsing maps

Using maps

In Haxe, Map (also known as dictionary) allows key to value mapping for arbitrary value types and many key types.

To use a map you can use the convenient Map abstract class in the toplevel package, which automatically instantiates a specialized map based on the type parameters:

MapKey typeSpecialized map used
Map<String, V>Stringhaxe.ds.StringMap
Map<Int, V>Inthaxe.ds.IntMap
Map<EnumValue, V>EnumValuehaxe.ds.EnumValueMap
Map<MyType, V>class or structurehaxe.ds.ObjectMap
Map<String, V>other typecompile-time error

The type of the value V can be any other type. All the specialized maps can ofcourse be used directly and have the same functionalities, but the underlying implementations are different for optimal performance. Map however provides some features which the concrete types don't have which is explained later.

The specialized maps can be found in the haxe.ds package.

Create a Map / Setting values

Since Map is the easiest to work with, we'll use it in this article and start with creating a map with strings as keys and integers as values.

If you are using Map you can use array access to set values map[key] = value, otherwise you have to use map.set(key, value). Another reason to use Map as much as possible.

var ageByUser = new Map<String, Int>(); 
ageByUser["John"] = 26;
ageByUser["Peter"] = 17;
ageByUser["Mark"] = 32;

This is the same as writing:

var ageByUser = new StringMap<Int>();
ageByUser.set("John", 26);
ageByUser.set("Peter", 17);
ageByUser.set("Mark", 32);

The naming convention of the map variable is "meaning of value by meaning of key".

A different way to create a map with values directly is using the comprehension syntax (key1 => value1, key2 => value2):

var ageByUser = [
  "John" => 26,
  "Peter" => 17,
  "Mark" => 32,

To give a quick visual of what we've just created above, this would be the data of our ageByUser map:

Key userValue age

Retrieving values

Now we know how to create a map and set values, let's get a value and trace it:

As explained earlier, if you are using Map you can use array access to get values map[key], otherwise you have to use map.get(key).

var ageOfMark = ageByUser["Mark"];
// output: 32

// same as:
var ageOfMark = ageByUser.get("Mark");
// output: 32

If the user "Mark" wouldn't exist in the map, the variable ageOfMark would be null. To be absolute sure if a certain key exists, you can check it using the map.exists function.

// Search for the user "Simon", which isn't defined in our map and trace its age.
var user = "Simon";
if (ageByUser.exists(user)) {
  var age = ageByUser[user];
  trace('$user is $age years old');
} else {
  trace('$user is not found');

Removing values

You can remove values using the map.remove function.

var user = "John";

// double check
trace(ageByUser.exists(user)); // false
trace(ageByUser.get(user)); // null


To iterate over all values of the map, use for (value in map).
In our example the values are defining the user's age, let's trace all ages.

for (age in ageByUser) {

To iterate over the keys of the map, use for (key in map.keys()).
In our example the keys are user names, let's trace all names.

for (user in ageByUser.keys()) {

Of course this can be combined, let's trace the user and its age:

for (user in ageByUser.keys()) {
  var age = ageByUser[user];
  trace('$user is $age years old');

The order of both values and keys in any type of map is undefined, therefore you shouldn't rely it. If order is important (when the map needs to be sorted for example), convert it to an Array. This can be easily done with Lamba.array(map) to get the values as Array or Lambda.array(map.keys()) if you want the keys as Array.

More information:

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Category:  Beginner