nickf nickf - 1 year ago 66
Javascript Question

How do you access the matched groups in a JavaScript regular expression?

I want to match a portion of a string using a regular expression and then access that parenthesized substring:

var myString = "something format_abc"; // I want "abc"

var arr = /(?:^|\s)format_(.*?)(?:\s|$)/.exec(myString);

console.log(arr); // Prints: [" format_abc", "abc"] .. so far so good.
console.log(arr[1]); // Prints: undefined (???)
console.log(arr[0]); // Prints: format_undefined (!!!)

What am I doing wrong?

I've discovered that there was nothing wrong with the regular expression code above: the actual string which I was testing against was this:

"date format_%A"

Reporting that "%A" is undefined seems a very strange behaviour, but it is not directly related to this question, so I've opened a new one, Why is a matched substring returning "undefined" in JavaScript?.

The issue was that
takes its parameters like a
statement, and since the string I was logging (
) had a special value, it was trying to find the value of the next parameter.

Answer Source

You can access capturing groups like this:

var myString = "something format_abc";
var myRegexp = /(?:^|\s)format_(.*?)(?:\s|$)/g;
var match = myRegexp.exec(myString);
console.log(match[1]); // abc

And if there are multiple matches you can iterate over them:

var myString = "something format_abc";
var myRegexp = /(?:^|\s)format_(.*?)(?:\s|$)/g;
match = myRegexp.exec(myString);
while (match != null) {
  // matched text: match[0]
  // match start: match.index
  // capturing group n: match[n]
  match = myRegexp.exec(myString);

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