The Hash Table data structure

#data-structures series

Posted on January 12, 2016

About the #data-structures series

The #data-structures series is a collection of posts about reimplemented data structures in JavaScript.

If you are not familiar with data structures, a quick introduction and the full list of reimplemented data structures can be found in the introduction post of the series on data structures in JavaScript.

If you feel comfortable with the concept of each data structure and only want to see the code, have a look at the summary post of the series. It removes all explanations and contains only the JavaScript code for all data structures discussed in the series.

Get the code on Github

Of course, all the code can also be found on Github in the repository data-structures-in-javascript.

The Hash Table data structure


A Hash Table (Hash Map) is a data structure used to implement an associative array, a structure that can map keys to values. A Hash Table uses a hash function to compute an index into an array of buckets or slots, from which the desired value can be found. From Wikipedia

Hash Tables are considered the more efficient data structure for lookup and for this reason, they are widely used.


Access Search Insertion Deletion
- O(1) O(1) O(1)

To get a full overview of the time and space complexity of the Hash Table data structure, have a look to this excellent Big O cheat sheet.

The code

Because my calculateHash function is overly simple (mod of the key length) I need to be sure that I am able to save more than one value for every hash. As a consequence I am storing another object for every hash in my Hash Table.

A better example would have had a calculateHash function that returns only one possible hash for every key. I could have done that with a simple JavaScript Object (the hash being the same as the key) but the specificity of the Hash Table data structure is to have this special calculateHash function.

function HashTable(size) {
  this.values = {};
  this.numberOfValues = 0;
  this.size = size;

HashTable.prototype.add = function(key, value) {
  var hash = this.calculateHash(key);
  if(!this.values.hasOwnProperty(hash)) {
    this.values[hash] = {};
  if(!this.values[hash].hasOwnProperty(key)) {
  this.values[hash][key] = value;
HashTable.prototype.remove = function(key) {
  var hash = this.calculateHash(key);
  if(this.values.hasOwnProperty(hash) && this.values[hash].hasOwnProperty(key)) {
    delete this.values[hash][key];
HashTable.prototype.calculateHash = function(key) {
  return key.toString().length % this.size;
}; = function(key) {
  var hash = this.calculateHash(key);
  if(this.values.hasOwnProperty(hash) && this.values[hash].hasOwnProperty(key)) {
    return this.values[hash][key];
  } else {
    return null;
HashTable.prototype.length = function() {
  return this.numberOfValues;
HashTable.prototype.print = function() {
  var string = '';
  for(var value in this.values) {
    for(var key in this.values[value]) {
      string += this.values[value][key] + ' ';

var hashTable = new HashTable(3);
hashTable.add('first', 1);
hashTable.add('second', 2);
hashTable.add('third', 3);
hashTable.add('fourth', 4);
hashTable.add('fifth', 5);
hashTable.print(); // => 2 4 1 3 5
console.log('length gives 5:', hashTable.length()); // => 5
console.log('search second gives 2:','second')); // => 2
hashTable.print(); // => 2 3 5
console.log('length gives 3:', hashTable.length()); // => 3