You are previewing JavaScript: The Good Parts.

JavaScript: The Good Parts

Cover of JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. JavaScript: The Good Parts
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. A Note Regarding Supplemental Files
    3. Preface
      1. Conventions Used in This Book
      2. Using Code Examples
      3. Safari® Books Online
      4. How to Contact Us
      5. Acknowledgments
    4. 1. Good Parts
      1. Why JavaScript?
      2. Analyzing JavaScript
      3. A Simple Testing Ground
    5. 2. Grammar
      1. Whitespace
      2. Names
      3. Numbers
      4. Strings
      5. Statements
      6. Expressions
      7. Literals
      8. Functions
    6. 3. Objects
      1. Object Literals
      2. Retrieval
      3. Update
      4. Reference
      5. Prototype
      6. Reflection
      7. Enumeration
      8. Delete
      9. Global Abatement
    7. 4. Functions
      1. Function Objects
      2. Function Literal
      3. Invocation
      4. Arguments
      5. Return
      6. Exceptions
      7. Augmenting Types
      8. Recursion
      9. Scope
      10. Closure
      11. Callbacks
      12. Module
      13. Cascade
      14. Curry
      15. Memoization
    8. 5. Inheritance
      1. Pseudoclassical
      2. Object Specifiers
      3. Prototypal
      4. Functional
      5. Parts
    9. 6. Arrays
      1. Array Literals
      2. Length
      3. Delete
      4. Enumeration
      5. Confusion
      6. Methods
      7. Dimensions
    10. 7. Regular Expressions
      1. An Example
      2. Construction
      3. Elements
    11. 8. Methods
    12. 9. Style
    13. 10. Beautiful Features
    14. A. Awful Parts
      1. Global Variables
      2. Scope
      3. Semicolon Insertion
      4. Reserved Words
      5. Unicode
      6. typeof
      7. parseInt
      8. +
      9. Floating Point
      10. NaN
      11. Phony Arrays
      12. Falsy Values
      13. hasOwnProperty
      14. Object
    15. B. Bad Parts
      1. ==
      2. with Statement
      3. eval
      4. continue Statement
      5. switch Fall Through
      6. Block-less Statements
      7. ++ −−
      8. Bitwise Operators
      9. The function Statement Versus the function Expression
      10. Typed Wrappers
      11. new
      12. void
    16. C. JSLint
      1. Undefined Variables and Functions
      2. Members
      3. Options
      4. Semicolon
      5. Line Breaking
      6. Comma
      7. Required Blocks
      8. Forbidden Blocks
      9. Expression Statements
      10. for in Statement
      11. switch Statement
      12. var Statement
      13. with Statement
      14. =
      15. == and !=
      16. Labels
      17. Unreachable Code
      18. Confusing Pluses and Minuses
      19. ++ and −−
      20. Bitwise Operators
      21. eval Is Evil
      22. void
      23. Regular Expressions
      24. Constructors and new
      25. Not Looked For
      26. HTML
      27. JSON
      28. Report
    17. D. Syntax Diagrams
    18. E. JSON
      1. JSON Syntax
      2. Using JSON Securely
      3. A JSON Parser
    19. Index
    20. About the Author
    21. Colophon
    22. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
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Chapter 7. Regular Expressions

Whereas the contrary bringeth bliss, And is a pattern of celestial peace. Whom should we match with Henry, being a king. . .

William Shakespeare, The First Part of Henry the Sixth

Many of JavaScript's features were borrowed from other languages. The syntax came from Java, functions came from Scheme, and prototypal inheritance came from Self. JavaScript's Regular Expression feature was borrowed from Perl.

A regular expression is the specification of the syntax of a simple language. Regular expressions are used with methods to search, replace, and extract information from strings. The methods that work with regular expressions are regexp.exec, regexp.test, string.match, string.replace, string.search, and string.split. These will all be described in Chapter 8. Regular expressions usually have a significant performance advantage over equivalent string operations in JavaScript.

Regular expressions came from the mathematical study of formal languages. Ken Thompson adapted Stephen Kleene's theoretical work on type-3 languages into a practical pattern matcher that could be embedded in tools such as text editors and programming languages.

The syntax of regular expressions in JavaScript conforms closely to the original formulations from Bell Labs, with some reinterpretation and extension adopted from Perl. The rules for writing regular expressions can be surprisingly complex because they interpret characters in some positions as operators, and in slightly different ...

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