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Javascript Sort Algorithm

Almost a year ago (when the latest piece of tech was the abacus and debugging was done with a citrusy-vinegar mix) i was given the coding challenge for an interview with a Spanish social networking site (who shall remain nameless). One of the questions was quite a good exercise for the Javascript Array.sort function, which i want to keep+share with you today.

¿Here are a bunch of tickets, sort them with javascript - por favor?

  • From Stockholm, take flight SK22 to New York JFK. Gate 22, seat 7B. Baggage will we automatically transferred from your last leg.
  • Take train 78A from Madrid to Barcelona. Sit in seat 45B.
  • From Gerona Airport, take flight SK455 to Stockholm. Gate 45B, seat 3A. Baggage drop at ticket counter 344.
  • Take the airport bus from Barcelona to Gerona Airport. No seat assignment.


var ordertickets = {

	// Stops is an unordered list of stops which need to be sorted... this dwindles as the method is run
	stops : [],
	// the journey contains the ordered list of stops.
	journey : [],

	// Run at start
	// @param string Element Attr(id) Source list
	// @param string Element Attr(id) Target list
	init : function(id, idorderedlist){
		this.journey = [];
		// Get the children from the list who's 
		var listops = document.getElementById(id).children;
		var points = {'to':[],'from':[]};
		// get the stops from the HTML list
		for( var i=0;i<listops.length;i++){
			this.stops.push( listops[i].innerHTML );
			// get the first and last positions. These are only mentioned once.
			var res;
			if( res = listops[i].innerHTML.match(/[fF]rom\s*([A-Z]\w+).*?[tT]o\s*([A-Z]\w+)/) ){
				// add name to array
		// Get the unique points
		points = this.uniquepoints(points);
		// Sort and order the list

		// clear ordered list
		document.getElementById(idorderedlist).innerHTML = '';

		// create the ordered list and append it
	// Sort the journey
	// @param object {'from':string, 'to':string}
	sort : function(points){
		this.journey = this.stops.sort(function(a,b){
			// get from
			var regf = /[fF]rom\s+([A-Z]\w+)/,
				regt = /[tT]o\s+([A-Z]\w+)/,
				a_from = a.match(regf)[1],
				a_to = a.match(regt)[1],
				b_from = b.match(regf)[1],
				b_to = b.match(regt)[1];
			if( a_to === b_from )
				r = -1;
			else if( a_from === b_to )
				r = 1;
			else if( a_from === points.from )
				r = -1;
			else if( a_to === points.to )
				r = 1;
			//console.log([a_from, a_to, b_from, b_to, r]);
			return r;
	// From two arrays get the array_diff of the names and for each array return the single unique value.
	// @param object {'from':array, 'to':array}
	uniquepoints : function(points){
		// filter arrays to find the unique starting and ending points.
		for(var i=0; i<points['from'].length;i++ )
			for(var j=0; j<points['to'].length;j++ )
				if( points['to'][j] === points['from'][i] ){

		return {'to':points['to'][0], 'from':points['from'][0]};
	// create an ordered list from the values given
	// @param string Element attr(id=)
	createorderedlist : function(id){
		// populate the ordered list
		for( x in this.journey ){
			document.getElementById(id).innerHTML += '<li>'+this.journey[x]+'</li>';

It worked... but they gave the job to someone else, Estoy muy triste !


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Andrew Dodson
Since:Feb 2007

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