Javascript – How to extend an existing JavaScript array with another array, without creating a new array


There doesn't seem to be a way to extend an existing JavaScript array with another array, i.e. to emulate Python's extend method.

I want to achieve the following:

>>> a = [1, 2]
[1, 2]
>>> b = [3, 4, 5]
[3, 4, 5]
>>> a
[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

I know there's a a.concat(b) method, but it creates a new array instead of simply extending the first one. I'd like an algorithm that works efficiently when a is significantly larger than b (i.e. one that does not copy a).

Note: This is not a duplicate of How to append something to an array? — the goal here is to add the whole contents of one array to the other, and to do it "in place", i.e. without copying all elements of the extended array.

Best Solution

The .push method can take multiple arguments. You can use the spread operator to pass all the elements of the second array as arguments to .push:

>>> a.push(...b)

If your browser does not support ECMAScript 6, you can use .apply instead:

>>> a.push.apply(a, b)

Or perhaps, if you think it's clearer:

>>> Array.prototype.push.apply(a,b)

Please note that all these solutions will fail with a stack overflow error if array b is too long (trouble starts at about 100,000 elements, depending on the browser).
If you cannot guarantee that b is short enough, you should use a standard loop-based technique described in the other answer.