{ Local Storage. }


By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Utilize localStorage to save information in the browser
  • Compare and contrast localStorage and sessionStorage
  • Add and remove primitives to/from localStorage
  • Add and remove objects to/from localStorage

What is localStorage?

localStorage is a mechanism for storing information in the browser for a specific domain. The API is quite easy to use and very minimal - so let's get started with it!

You can read more about it here

localStorage vs sessionStorage

When you read more about localStorage you will also hear about something called sessionStorage. MDN explains them both this way:

The localStorage property allows you to access a local Storage object. localStorage is similar to sessionStorage. The only difference is that, while data stored in localStorage has no expiration time, data stored in sessionStorage gets cleared when the browsing session ends—that is, when the browser is closed.

What this basically means is:

  • sessionStorage maintains a separate storage area for each given origin that's available for the duration of the page session (as long as the browser is open, including page reloads and restores)

  • localStorage does the same thing, but persists even when the browser is closed and reopened.

Adding, retrieving and removing from localStorage

The most important thing to remember is that all of your keys in localStorage or sessionStorage must be STRINGS. localStorage stores everything as strings, so it's just good to get in the habit of setting your keys as strings to avoid confusion.

To set something into localStorage we use the setItem method and to retrieve we use the getItem method (only passing in the key)

localStorage.setItem("instructor", "Elie");
localStorage.setItem("favoriteNumber", 18);
localStorage.setItem("isHilarious", true);

localStorage.getItem("instructor"); // "Elie"

If you refresh the page - you should be able to still retrieve these keys in localStorage! Try it out a bit more!

To delete a key we use the removeItem function, and to clear everything from localStorage for this domain we use clear:


Adding objects

So far we have only added primitives, which is nice and easy, but what happens when we start adding objects? Well, things get a bit trickier.... Let's see what happens:

let instructors = ["Elie", "Matt", "Tim"];

localStorage.setItem("instructors", instructors);

When we get the instructors from localStorage, we don't have an array anymore - we have a string! Remember, when dealing with localStorage, everything gets converted into a string.

In order to get back our original data type, we need to briefly introduce something called JSON. Right now we are going to cover this quickly, but we will be discussing it quite a bit more later on.

From JSON.org:

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a lightweight data-interchange format. It is easy for humans to read and write. It is easy for machines to parse and generate.

JavaScript has a built-in JSON object, and on this object are two methods used to convert JavaScript data into JSON, and to parse JSON strings into JavaScript. The JSON object itself can't be called or constructed, and aside from its two methods it has no interesting functionality of its own. You can read more about it here

-JSON.parse parses a string as JSON. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/JavaScript/Reference/Global_Objects/JSON/parse

Using these two methods allows us to preserve the intended data structure when it is something other than a string:

let instructors = ["Elie", "Matt", "Tim"];

// the JSON.stringify call converts the instructors array into a JSON string
localStorage.setItem("instructors", JSON.stringify(instructors));

// JSON.parse converts the JSON string back into JavaScript (in this case, a valid array)

When you're ready, move on to Events Exercises


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