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How to work with DataCollection

The DHTMLX library includes two invisible components (in other words, helpers) that serve to store data:

  • DataCollection - stores a non-hierarchical set of data (data for Chart, Combobox, DataView, Grid, List)
  • TreeCollection - stores a hierarchical set of data (data for Menu, Ribbon, Sidebar, Toolbar, Tree, TreeGrid)

API methods and events of DataCollection and TreeCollection let you work with data items, namely to load, process, and edit the items.

The helpers allow using the same data set in different components. For instance, you can prepare one data set and load it into DataView, Grid, and List with the help of the load() method of DataCollection.

In this article we will consider how to work with DataCollection.

Check all methods and events of Data Collection API.

Common features of DataCollection

Here you will find some common features to understand how DataCollection works.

DataCollection methods

The syntax of the DataCollection method:;


  • component is the name of the applicable component (chart, combobox, dataview, grid, list)
  • method is the method of DataCollection

The methods of DataCollection are useful for:

  • Loading data
  • Sorting and filtering data
  • Editing data
  • Saving and restoring

Loading data

To load data into the component use the load() or parse() methods. The load() method is used to load data from an external file, the parse() method is used to load data from a local data source.

Sorting and filtering data

When working with data you may need to sort or filter it. Use the sort() method and the filter() one for this purpose.

Editing data

You can add new items into the initialized component via the add() method, remove particular items by the remove() method or remove all items at once via the removeAll() method. The update() method allows you to update the necessary configuration options of the item by its id while the changeId() method lets you change the id of the element.

Saving and restoring

The serialize() method is used to serialize data into JSON, XML or CSV format. You can send the serialized data to a new component or server. The copy() method will help you to create a copy of an item at the defined position. Use the save() method to save changes made in the data to the server side.

Check all methods of DataCollection.

DataCollection events

The syntax of the DataCollection event:"event", function(){});


  • component is the name of the applicable component (chart, combobox, dataview, grid, list)
  • event is the event of DataCollection

Events of DataCollection are helpful when you need to configure a system response to the changes made in data.

Check all events of DataCollection.

Check how to work with events in the Events basic rules guide.

The DataCollection usage sample

Let's create a sample of DataCollection usage step by step.

Please, use the DHTMLX Snippet Tool to create this sample. We will use both JavaScript code and HTML.

Let's add a List widget on the page and define a template to render items in our List.

<!-- component container -->
<div id="list" style="height: 700px; margin: 20px"></div>
//creating template
function template(item) {
let template = "<div className='list_item'>";
template += "<div className='item_name'>" + item.title; +"</div>";
template += "<div className='item_author'>";
template += item.authors + ", ";
template += item.publication_date.split("/")[2] + "</div>";
template += "</div>";
return template;

//creating list
const list = new dhx.List("list_container", {
css: "dhx_widget--bordered",
template: template

For more information about List initialization check here.

As you can see, we've initialized the list but it is still empty. To fill in our list with data we need to take the following steps:

  • At first, we prepare a data set:
<!-- dataset -->
const data = [
"title": "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6)",
"id": "book001",
"authors": "J.K. Rowling/Mary GrandPré",
"average_rating": 4.57,
"publication_date": "9/16/2006",
"in_store": true,
"isbn13": 9780439785969,
"language_code": "eng",
"num_pages": 652,
"ratings_count": 2095690,
"text_reviews_count": 27591,
"publisher": "Scholastic Inc."
"title": "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3)",
"id": "book002",
"authors": "J.K. Rowling/Mary GrandPré",
"average_rating": 4.56,
"publication_date": "5/1/2004",
"in_store": true,
"isbn13": 9780439655484,
"language_code": "eng",
"num_pages": 435,
"ratings_count": 2339585,
"text_reviews_count": 36325,
"publisher": "Scholastic Inc."
"title": "The Complete Maus",
"id": "book003",
"authors": "Art Spiegelman",
"average_rating": 4.55,
"publication_date": "10/2/2003",
"in_store": true,
"isbn13": 9780141014081,
"language_code": "eng",
"num_pages": 296,
"ratings_count": 111475,
"text_reviews_count": 5966,
"publisher": "Penguin Books"
"title": "Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1 (Fullmetal Alchemist #1)",
"id": "book004",
"authors": "Hiromu Arakawa/Akira Watanabe",
"average_rating": 4.5,
"publication_date": "5/3/2005",
"in_store": true,
"isbn13": 9781591169208,
"language_code": "eng",
"num_pages": 192,
"ratings_count": 111091,
"text_reviews_count": 1427,
"publisher": "VIZ Media LLC"
"title": "Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood #3)",
"id": "book005",
"authors": "J.R. Ward",
"average_rating": 4.45,
"publication_date": "9/5/2006",
"in_store": true,
"isbn13": 9780451219367,
"language_code": "eng",
"num_pages": 448,
"ratings_count": 144906,
"text_reviews_count": 5728,
"publisher": "Signet"
"title": "The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings #2)",
"id": "book006",
"authors": "J.R.R. Tolkien/Peter S. Beagle",
"average_rating": 4.44,
"publication_date": "9/5/2003",
"in_store": true,
"isbn13": 9780618346264,
"language_code": "eng",
"num_pages": 322,
"ratings_count": 593467,
"text_reviews_count": 5798,
"publisher": "Houghton Mifflin"
"title": "The Green Mile",
"id": "book007",
"authors": "Stephen King",
"average_rating": 4.44,
"publication_date": "9/1/1996",
"in_store": true,
"isbn13": 9780451933027,
"language_code": "eng",
"num_pages": 592,
"ratings_count": 207869,
"text_reviews_count": 4570,
"publisher": "Penguin Signet"
"title": "The Monster at the End of this Book",
"id": "book008",
"authors": "Jon Stone/Michael J. Smollin",
"average_rating": 4.44,
"publication_date": "5/11/2004",
"in_store": true,
"isbn13": 9780375829130,
"language_code": "eng",
"num_pages": 32,
"ratings_count": 114297,
"text_reviews_count": 2565,
"publisher": "Golden Books"
"title": "A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6)",
"id": "book009",
"authors": "Diana Gabaldon",
"average_rating": 4.44,
"publication_date": "8/29/2006",
"in_store": false,
"isbn13": 9780385340397,
"language_code": "eng",
"num_pages": 980,
"ratings_count": 105950,
"text_reviews_count": 3992,
"publisher": "Delta"
  • Then, to load the prepared data into the list we apply the parse() method of DataCollection:;

As a result, the list of books is rendered on the page according to the specified template. We took a small part of the list just for a convenience sample, in real-life practice, the list can be very huge.

Now, let's add a new book to the list. To do that, we need to use the add() method of DataCollection:
"title": "J.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings",
"id": "book010",
"authors": "J.R.R. Tolkien",
"average_rating": 4.59,
"publication_date": "9/25/2012",
"in_store": true,
"isbn13": 9780345538376,
"language_code": "eng",
"num_pages": 1728,
"ratings_count": 101233,
"text_reviews_count": 1550,
"publisher": "Ballantine Books"
}, 1);

Note, that we have added the new item into the list but not into the data set.

To save the current state of the list we will serialize the component data with the help of the serialize() method of DataCollection.

const state =;

After that, we can parse the serialized data to the new list. We will use the parse() method for it.

Do not forget to add a separate container for the new component.

<div id="list2" style="height: 700px; margin: 20px"></div>
//creating list2
list2 = new dhx.List("list2", {
css: "dhx_widget--bordered",
template: template

//parsing the state of list into list2;

Now we have two lists with the same data. Let's make some changes to list. For example, we can change the id of the first item using the changeId() method and, then, delete the item from the list via the remove() method, as in:

//changing the id of the element"book001", "book001-newedition");

//deleting the element"book001-newedition");

Pay attention, the data in list now are different from the data in list2 because we have sent data to list2 before removing the item of list.

Now we can create one more list, send new data to it, save data to the server with the save() method, or add more items, etc. Check all the possibilities to work with data with the help of DataCollection.

Please, look at the example we have just created.