For-i loops are somewhat out, so let's rethink nested and specifically correlated loops in a functional style in Javascript.

I want to start right away with the little problem statement:

const animals = ['ant', 'bison', 'camel', 'duck', 'elephant'];

// c-ish for-i loop
for (let i = 0; i < animals.length; i++) {
    for (let j = i + 1; j < animals.length; j++) {
        const a1 = animals[i];
        const a2 = animals[j];

        console.log(`${a1} and ${a2} are friends`);
/* expected output:

ant and bison are friends
ant and camel are friends
ant and duck are friends
ant and elephant are friends
bison and camel are friends
bison and duck are friends
bison and elephant are friends
camel and duck are friends
camel and elephant are friends
duck and elephant are friends


that works and probably there is nothing wrong with it.

But how to do the same thing functional?

Let's give it some tries:

animals.forEach((a1) => {
    animals.forEach((a2) => {
        console.log(`${a1} and ${a2} are friends`);
        // WRONG!
        // > ant and ant are friends

Hm, as you can see there is something not as expected as should be. Now all animals are combined with each other, even ones with themself.

Alright next try to fix that:

animals.forEach((a1, xi) => {
    animals.slice(xi + 1).forEach(a2 => {
        console.log(`${a1} and ${a2} are friends`);

Yeah! It works. Let's have a look why is that.

The slice function accepts an argument that is the starting index, from where on an array should be sliced. Here we handover the index + 1 of a1 so that we getting a sub array behind a1.

Alright, as a bonus let's go one more step, to make our code functional reusable.

const combine = (list) =>
    (x, xi) => list.slice(xi + 1).map((y) => [x, y])).reduce(
        (acc, tuple) => acc.concat(tuple), []);

/* expected output:

[ [ 'ant', 'bison' ],
  [ 'ant', 'camel' ],
  [ 'ant', 'duck' ],
  [ 'ant', 'elephant' ],
  [ 'bison', 'camel' ],
  [ 'bison', 'duck' ],
  [ 'bison', 'elephant' ],
  [ 'camel', 'duck' ],
  [ 'camel', 'elephant' ],
  [ 'duck', 'elephant' ] ]


now we got a lambda called combine that will yield an array of tuples that we can use as following:

var allTheAnimals = combine(animals).map(
    ([a1, a2]) => `|${a1}| and |${a2}|`).join(' are friends\n');
console.log(`${allTheAnimals} are friends`);
/* expected output:

|ant| and |bison| are friends
|ant| and |camel| are friends
|ant| and |duck| are friends
|ant| and |elephant| are friends
|bison| and |camel| are friends
|bison| and |duck| are friends
|bison| and |elephant| are friends
|camel| and |duck| are friends
|camel| and |elephant| are friends
|duck| and |elephant| are friends


Note that .map(([a1, a2]) will spread the tuple array into the one left and right.

Now it's your turn to share your approach below in the comments! I'm curious about other solutions.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers Sven