You are previewing High Performance JavaScript.

High Performance JavaScript

Cover of High Performance JavaScript by Nicholas C. Zakas Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. High Performance JavaScript
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Preface
      1. The Internet Evolves
      2. Why Optimization Is Necessary
      3. Next-Generation JavaScript Engines
      4. Performance Is Still a Concern
      5. How This Book Is Organized
      6. JavaScript Loading
      7. Coding Technique
      8. Deployment
      9. Testing
      10. Who This Book Is For
      11. Conventions Used in This Book
      12. Using Code Examples
      13. Safari® Books Online
      14. How to Contact Us
      15. Acknowledgments
    3. 1. Loading and Execution
      1. Script Positioning
      2. Grouping Scripts
      3. Nonblocking Scripts
      4. Summary
    4. 2. Data Access
      1. Managing Scope
      2. Object Members
      3. Summary
    5. 3. DOM Scripting
      1. DOM in the Browser World
      2. DOM Access and Modification
      3. Repaints and Reflows
      4. Event Delegation
      5. Summary
    6. 4. Algorithms and Flow Control
      1. Loops
      2. Conditionals
      3. Recursion
      4. Summary
    7. 5. Strings and Regular Expressions
      1. String Concatenation
      2. Regular Expression Optimization
      3. String Trimming
      4. Summary
    8. 6. Responsive Interfaces
      1. The Browser UI Thread
      2. Yielding with Timers
      3. Web Workers
      4. Summary
    9. 7. Ajax
      1. Data Transmission
      2. Data Formats
      3. Ajax Performance Guidelines
      4. Summary
    10. 8. Programming Practices
      1. Avoid Double Evaluation
      2. Use Object/Array Literals
      3. Don’t Repeat Work
      4. Use the Fast Parts
      5. Summary
    11. 9. Building and Deploying High-Performance JavaScript Applications
      1. Apache Ant
      2. Combining JavaScript Files
      3. Preprocessing JavaScript Files
      4. JavaScript Minification
      5. Buildtime Versus Runtime Build Processes
      6. JavaScript Compression
      7. Caching JavaScript Files
      8. Working Around Caching Issues
      9. Using a Content Delivery Network
      10. Deploying JavaScript Resources
      11. Agile JavaScript Build Process
      12. Summary
    12. 10. Tools
      1. JavaScript Profiling
      2. YUI Profiler
      3. Anonymous Functions
      4. Firebug
      5. Internet Explorer Developer Tools
      6. Safari Web Inspector
      7. Chrome Developer Tools
      8. Script Blocking
      9. Page Speed
      10. Fiddler
      11. YSlow
      12. dynaTrace Ajax Edition
      13. Summary
    13. Index
    14. About the Author
    15. Colophon
    16. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
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String Trimming

Removing leading and trailing whitespace from a string is a simple but common task. Although ECMAScript 5 adds a native string trim method (and you should therefore start to see this method in upcoming browsers), JavaScript has not historically included it. For the current browser crop, it’s still necessary to implement a trim method yourself or rely on a library that includes it.

Trimming strings is not a common performance bottleneck, but it serves as a decent case study for regex optimization since there are a variety of ways to implement it.

Trimming with Regular Expressions

Regular expressions allow you to implement a trim method with very little code, which is important for JavaScript libraries that focus on file size. Probably the best all-around solution is to use two substitutions—one to remove leading whitespace and another to remove trailing whitespace. This keeps things simple and fast, especially with long strings.

if (!String.prototype.trim) {
    String.prototype.trim = function() {
        return this.replace(/^\s+/, "").replace(/\s+$/, "");

// test the new method...
// tab (\t) and line feed (\n) characters are
// included in the leading whitespace.

var str = " \t\n  test string  ".trim();
alert(str == "test string"); // alerts "true"

The if block surrounding this code avoids overriding the trim method if it already exists, since native methods are optimized and usually far faster than anything you can implement yourself using a JavaScript function. Subsequent ...

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