## Access first and last elements in an Array

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I was preparing a post on looping in JavaScript but then came across this post by Cody Lindley so I'm not going to do that. Instead I'm going to talk about accessing the first and last elements in an array. Consider this code:

``````  let numbers = ['one', 'two', 'three'];

let first = numbers,
len = numbers.length,  //3
last = numbers[len - 1];

console.log(first);    // logs "one"
console.log(last);     // logs "three"
``````

So pretty simple, we assign the first element in the array to `first` and compute the last element from the length of the elements in the array and assign it to `last`. Now let's add elements to the array and see if we can still access the first and last elements.

``````  numbers.push('four', 'five');  // returns 5

console.log(first);    // logs "one"
console.log(last);     // logs "three"
``````

It puzzled me that `last` does not log `"five"`, I expected it to always track the last element but it doesn't. Why? Remember

` last = numbers[len - 1]; `
what we did there is assign `numbers` which contains `"three"` at the time, to `last`. So `last` always contains that value. It seems so obvious but I obviously didn't get it at first. How do we fix it? We do what lodash does, we write a function.

``````  function last(array) {
let length = array.length;
return array[length - 1];
}

last(numbers);       // logs "five"

numbers.push('six', 'seven');

last(numbers);       // logs "seven"

numbers = 'ten';

last(numbers);       // logs "ten"
``````

So this works. I'm so glad for the folks at /r/javascript for their help understanding this code. That's it, that's the post.