JavaScript: String.prototype.match

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

💡 TIP: use String.prototype.match only if you want first occurrence or first captured group. Else, use String.prototype.matchAll instead, because it's much simpler, and gets all occurrence and captured groups (if any).

str.match(findStr)
The string findStr is converted to regex first by RegExp, then str.match(regexObj) is called.
str.match(regexObj)
Return a Iterable or null if no match.

If regexObj has flag g, the result is all occurences, else it is captured groups (and if the regex does not contain any capture, it return first occurrence).

Return Value
regex has global flagregex no global flag
regex has capture groupall occurrencescaptured groups
regex has no capture groupall occurrences1st match (array of 1 item)

In result array, index 0 is the whole matched string, index 1 is 1st captured group or occurrence, index 2 is the 2nd, etc.

The result array have these properties (their values are undefined if no g flag):

  • index → The beginning position of first occurrence.
  • input → The input string.
  • groups → (JS2018) A object. Key is name of named capture group. Value is corresponding substring, or undefined if there is none.
/* get all occurrence of a match */

const xtext = `
src="cat.jpg"
src="dog.jpg"
src="house.jpg"
`;

// get all image file names
const xre = /[\w]+.jpg/g;

const xresult = xtext.match(xre);

console.log(xresult[0] === "cat.jpg");
console.log(xresult[1] === "dog.jpg");
console.log(xresult[2] === "house.jpg");

// start of match
console.log(xresult.index === undefined);

// original string
console.log(xresult.input === undefined);

// named capture
console.log(xresult.groups === undefined);
/* get all captured matches */

const xtext = `img src="cat.jpg" alt="my cat" width="600" height="400"`;

/* capture attribute values in a image tag */
const xre = /src="([^"]+)" alt="([^"]+)" width="([^"]+)" height="([^"]+)"/;

const xresult = xtext.match(xre);

// whole matched part
// note, no starting img
console.log(
  xresult[0] === `src="cat.jpg" alt="my cat" width="600" height="400"`,
);

// 1st capture
console.log(xresult[1] === "cat.jpg");

// 2nd capture
console.log(xresult[2] === "my cat");

// 3rd capture
console.log(xresult[3] === "600");

// 4th capture
console.log(xresult[4] === "400");

// start of match
console.log(xresult.index === 4);

// original string
console.log(xresult.input === xtext);

// no named capture
console.log(xresult.groups === undefined);

JavaScript Regular Expression


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