This is a new technology, part of the ECMAScript 2015 (ES6) standard .
This technology's specification has been finalized, but check the compatibility table for usage and implementation status in various browsers.

The WeakMap object is a collection of key/value pairs in which the keys are objects and the values can be arbitrary values.

Syntax

new WeakMap([iterable])

Parameters

iterable
Iterable is an Array or other iterable object whose elements are key-value pairs (2-element Arrays). Each key-value pair will be added to the new WeakMap. null is treated as undefined.

Description

Keys of WeakMaps are of the type Object only. Primitive data types as keys are not allowed (e.g. a Symbol can't be a WeakMap key).

Why WeakMap?

The experienced JavaScript programmer will notice that this API could be implemented in JavaScript with two arrays (one for keys, one for values) shared by the four API methods. Such an implementation would have two main inconveniences. The first one is an O(n) search (n being the number of keys in the map). The second one is a memory leak issue. With manually written maps, the array of keys would keep references to key objects, preventing them from being garbage collected. In native WeakMaps, references to key objects are held "weakly", which means that they do not prevent garbage collection in case there would be no other reference to the object.

Because of references being weak, WeakMap keys are not enumerable (i.e. there is no method giving you a list of the keys). If they were, the list would depend on the state of garbage collection, introducing non-determinism. If you want to have a list of keys, you should maintain it yourself.

Properties

WeakMap.length
The value of the length property is 0.
WeakMap.prototype
Represents the prototype for the WeakMap constructor. Allows the addition of properties to all WeakMap objects.

WeakMap instances

All WeakMap instances inherit from WeakMap.prototype.

Properties

WeakMap.prototype.constructor
Returns the function that created an instance's prototype. This is the WeakMap function by default.

Methods

WeakMap.prototype.delete(key)
Removes any value associated to the key. WeakMap.prototype.has(key) will return false afterwards.
WeakMap.prototype.get(key)
Returns the value associated to the key, or undefined if there is none.
WeakMap.prototype.has(key)
Returns a Boolean asserting whether a value has been associated to the key in the WeakMap object or not.
WeakMap.prototype.set(key, value)
Sets the value for the key in the WeakMap object. Returns the WeakMap object.
WeakMap.prototype.clear()
Removes all key/value pairs from the WeakMap object. Note that it is possible to implement a WeakMap-like object that has a .clear() method by encapsulating a WeakMap object that hasn't it (see example on page WeakMap)

Examples

Using WeakMap

var wm1 = new WeakMap(),
    wm2 = new WeakMap(),
    wm3 = new WeakMap();
var o1 = {},
    o2 = function(){},
    o3 = window;

wm1.set(o1, 37);
wm1.set(o2, "azerty");
wm2.set(o1, o2); // a value can be anything, including an object or a function
wm2.set(o3, undefined);
wm2.set(wm1, wm2); // keys and values can be any objects. Even WeakMaps!

wm1.get(o2); // "azerty"
wm2.get(o2); // undefined, because there is no value for o2 on wm2
wm2.get(o3); // undefined, because that is the set value

wm1.has(o2); // true
wm2.has(o2); // false
wm2.has(o3); // true (even if the value itself is 'undefined')

wm3.set(o1, 37);
wm3.get(o1); // 37

wm1.has(o1); // true
wm1.delete(o1);
wm1.has(o1); // false

Implementing a WeakMap-like class with a .clear() method

For expository purpose, the following example uses the new ECMAScript 6 class construct, which is currently not widely implemented.

class ClearableWeakMap {
  constructor(init) {
    this._wm = new WeakMap(init)
  }
  clear() {
    this._wm = new WeakMap
  }
  delete(k) {
    return this._wm.delete(k)
  }
  get(k) {
    return this._wm.get(k)
  }
  has(k) {
    return this._wm.has(k)
  }
  set(k, v) {
    this._wm.set(k, v)
    return this
  }
}

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
ECMAScript 2015 (6th Edition, ECMA-262)
The definition of 'WeakMap' in that specification.
Standard Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 36 6.0 (6.0) 11 23 7.1
new WeakMap(iterable) 38 36 (36) Not supported 25 Not supported
clear() 36 20.0 (20.0) 11 23 7.1
Constructor argument: new WeakMap(null) (Yes) 37 (37) ? ? ?
Monkey-patched set() in constructor (Yes) 37 (37) ? ? ?
WeakMap() without new throws ? 42 (42) ? ? ?
Feature Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support 35 6.0 (6.0) Not supported Not supported 8
new WeakMap(iterable) 38 36.0 (36) Not supported Not supported Not supported
clear() 35 20.0 (20.0) Not supported Not supported 8
Constructor argument: new WeakMap(null) ? 37.0 (37) Not supported ? ?
Monkey-patched set() in constructor ? 37.0 (37) Not supported ? ?
WeakMap() without new throws ? 42.0 (42) ? ? ?

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: fscholz,