Lance Pollard Lance Pollard - 24 days ago 6
Javascript Question

Is there a RegExp.escape function in Javascript?

I just want to create a regular expression out of any possible string.

var usersString = "Hello?!*`~World()[]";
var expression = new RegExp(RegExp.escape(usersString))
var matches = "Hello".match(expression);


Is there a built in method for that? If not, what do people use? Ruby has
RegExp.escape
. I don't feel like I'd need to write my own, there's gotta be something standard out there. Thanks!

Answer

The function linked above is insufficient. It fails to escape ^ or $ (start and end of string), or -, which in a character group is used for ranges.

Use this function:

RegExp.escape= function(s) {
    return s.replace(/[-\/\\^$*+?.()|[\]{}]/g, '\\$&');
};

While it may seem unnecessary at first glance, escaping - (as well as ^) makes the function suitable for escaping characters to be inserted into a character class as well as the body of the regex.

Escaping / makes the function suitable for escaping characters to be used in a JS regex literal for later eval.

As there is no downside to escaping either of them it makes sense to escape to cover wider use cases.

And yes, it is a disappointing failing that this is not part of standard JavaScript.

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