Safe array mapping

Tim Kendrick Apr 13, 2016

TL;DR: Always wrap your map() callbacks with an intermediate function. You’ve been warned!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have used ES5’s array map() method more times than you’ve had hot dinners. So what do you reckon the following code logs?

var stringIds = ["6", "8", "10", "12", "14"];

// Convert strings to integers
var ids =;

console.log(ids); // [ 6, NaN, 2, 5, 1 ] ...WHAT?!

If this revelation has left you reeling, have a think about how the map() method calls its callback:

callback(currentValue, index, array)

…and how parseInt() is defined:

function parseInt(string[, radix]) {

BOOM! In your rush to save a few keystrokes, you’ve ended up passing an index where you should be passing a radix, with disastrous results.

While any JavaScript developer worth their salt knows to act cautious around parseInt(), the potential for this mistake can crop up all-too-easily in normal-looking code:

var points = [{ x: 0, y: 0 }, { x: 1, y: 1 }, { x: 2, y: 2 }];
var mirroredPoints =; // This is fine… FOR NOW!

function getMirroredPoint(point) {
	return {
		x: -point.x,
		y: point.y

…as it is, this code is innocuous enough. But what happens when a coworker keeps things DRY by embellishing your function with an optional scale argument for reuse elsewhere?

var points = [{ x: 0, y: 0 }, { x: 1, y: 1 }, { x: 2, y: 2 }];
var mirroredPoints =; // Uh-oh.

function getMirroredPoint(point, scale) {
	var scale = scale || 1;
	return {
		x: scale * -point.x,
		y: scale * point.y

Now you’re asking for trouble, seeing as your map() call will now be passing an index into the scale argument. Plus technically this is your screw-up, seeing as all along you’ve been invoking the function incorrectly by passing too many arguments.

So what’s the moral of the story? Always make sure to wrap any map() callbacks in an intermediate function:

var mirroredPoints = {
	return getMirroredPoint(point);

Or if you’ve already roared into the 21st century, ES6 makes this super-easy:

let mirroredPoints = => getMirroredPoint(point));

…so no excuses!