on Saturday, 25th of July, 2020

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Dart supports many different types of collections, or data types that contain multiple values. The most common collections:

  • List (known as an array in some languages)
  • Set
  • Map


Perhaps the most common collection in nearly every programming language is the array, or ordered group of objects. In Dart, arrays are List objects, so most people just call them lists.

Dart list literals look like JavaScript array literals. Here's a simple Dart list:

var list = List();
list.add(1, 2);

// list literal definition
var list2 = [1, 2, 3];

Dart infers that this is variable of type List<int>. When using data structures like a List or Map, you use < and > to define the types of the values within the List or Map.

The above could also be written like this:

final List<int> list = [1, 2, 3];

Because Dart is type safe, every member in a collection must be the same type. If you really wanted a list with different types, you could define the list as List<dynamic>, but this is rarely useful.

The List class includes a number of members to manipulate a list.

final list = [1,2,3];

assert(list.length == 3); // true
// 1

// 3

// [1,2,3,4,5,6]

Spread operator

Lists support being "spread out" into other lists. The spread operator puts each element from a list into a target list.

var list = [1,2,3];
var list2 = [0, ...list];
// [0,1,2,3];

// use null aware spread to avoid null-pointer crashes 
var list3 = [0, ...?list2];

Collection If

You can use simple if and for statements inside list literals in order to programmatically add values. You cannot include a code block with these if and for statements inside collections, you can only add single values.

bool showToday = false;

var listOfDays = [
  if (showToday) "Today", // won't be added!

// ["Yesterday", "Tomorrow"]

Collection For

Collection for is used to add multiple values to a list programmatically.

var listOfDays = [
  DateTime(2018, 5, 6), 
  DateTime(2016, 5, 7), 
  DateTime(2018, 5, 8),

var humanReadableListOfDays = [
  "2018-05-05 00:00:00.000",
  for (var day in listOfDays) day.toString(),
  "2018-05-09 00:00:00.000",

// ["2018-05-05 00:00:00.000", "2018-05-06 00:00:00.000", "2018-05-07 00:00:00.000", "2018-05-08 00:00:00.000", "2018-05-09 00:00:00.000",]

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