table.sort()

Type Function
Library table.*
Return value none
Revision Current Public Release (2017.3068)
Keywords table, array

Overview

Sorts table elements in a given order, in-place, from table[1] to table[n], where n is the length of the table. It receives the table (array) to be sorted plus an optional compare function. This compare function receives two arguments and must return true if the first argument should come first in the sorted array. If compare is not given, then the standard Lua operator < is used instead.

The sort algorithm is not entirely stable; that is, elements considered equal by the given order may have their relative positions changed by the sort.

Syntax

table.sort( array [, compare] )
array (required)

Array. The array to sort.

compare (optional)

Function. If not given, the standard Lua operator < is used.

Examples

Low-to-High
local t = { 3,2,5,1,4 }

local function compare( a, b )
    return a < b  -- Note "<" as the operator
end

table.sort( t, compare )
print( table.concat( t, ", " ) )  --> 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
High-to-Low
local t = { 3,2,5,1,4 }

local function compare( a, b )
    return a > b  -- Note ">" as the operator
end

table.sort( t, compare )
print( table.concat( t, ", " ) )  --> 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Alphabetical (Child Tables)
local fruitList = {
    { fruitName="apple", fruitColor="red" },
    { fruitName="watermelon", fruitColor="green" },
    { fruitName="orange", fruitColor="orange" },
    { fruitName="lemon", fruitColor="yellow" }
}

local function compare( a, b )
    return a.fruitName < b.fruitName
end

table.sort( fruitList, compare )

for i,v in ipairs( fruitList ) do
    print( i, v.fruitName )
    --> 1   apple
    --> 2   lemon
    --> 3   orange
    --> 4   watermelon
end