Yahel Yahel - 1 month ago 14
Javascript Question

What is the shortest function for reading a cookie by name in JavaScript?

What is the shortest, accurate, and cross-browser compatible method for reading a cookie in JavaScript?

Very often, while building stand-alone scripts (where I can't have any outside dependencies), I find myself adding a function for reading cookies, and usually fall-back on the QuirksMode.org

method (280 bytes, 216 minified.)

function readCookie(name) {
var nameEQ = name + "=";
var ca = document.cookie.split(';');
for(var i=0;i < ca.length;i++) {
var c = ca[i];
while (c.charAt(0)==' ') c = c.substring(1,c.length);
if (c.indexOf(nameEQ) == 0) return c.substring(nameEQ.length,c.length);
return null;

It does the job, but its ugly, and adds quite a bit of bloat each time.

The method that jQuery.cookie uses something like this (modified, 165 bytes, 125 minified):

function read_cookie(key)
var result;
return (result = new RegExp('(?:^|; )' + encodeURIComponent(key) + '=([^;]*)').exec(document.cookie)) ? (result[1]) : null;

Note this is not a 'Code Golf' competition: I'm legitimately interested in reducing the size of my readCookie function, and in ensuring the solution I have is valid.


This will only ever hit document.cookie ONE time. Every subsequent request will be instant.

    var cookies;

    function readCookie(name,c,C,i){
        if(cookies){ return cookies[name]; }

        c = document.cookie.split('; ');
        cookies = {};

        for(i=c.length-1; i>=0; i--){
           C = c[i].split('=');
           cookies[C[0]] = C[1];

        return cookies[name];

    window.readCookie = readCookie; // or expose it however you want

I'm afraid there really isn't a faster way than this general logic unless you're free to use .forEach which is browser dependent (even then you're not saving that much)

Your own example slightly compressed to 120 bytes:

function read_cookie(k,r){return(r=RegExp('(^|; )'+encodeURIComponent(k)+'=([^;]*)').exec(document.cookie))?r[2]:null;}

You can get it to 110 bytes if you make it a 1-letter function name, 90 bytes if you drop the encodeURIComponent.

I've gotten it down to 73 bytes, but to be fair it's 82 bytes when named readCookie and 102 bytes when then adding encodeURIComponent:

function C(k){return(document.cookie.match('(^|; )'+k+'=([^;]*)')||0)[2]}