Case-insensitive search

Case-insensitive search

I’m trying to get a case-insensitive search with two strings in JavaScript working.
Normally it would be like this:
var string=”Stackoverflow is the BEST”;
var result= string.search(/best/i);
alert(result);

The /i flag would be for case-insensitive.
But I need to search for a second string; without the flag it works perfect:
var string=”Stackoverflow is the BEST”;
var searchstring=”best”;
var result= string.search(searchstring);
alert(result);

If I add the /i flag to the above example it would search for searchstring and not for what is in the variable “searchstring” (next example not working):
var string=”Stackoverflow is the BEST”;
var searchstring=”best”;
var result= string.search(/searchstring/i);
alert(result);

How can I achieve this?

Solutions/Answers:

Solution 1:

Yeah, use .match, rather than .search. The result from the .match call will return the actual string that was matched itself, but it can still be used as a boolean value.

var string = "Stackoverflow is the BEST";
var result = string.match(/best/i);
// result == 'BEST';

if (result){
    alert('Matched');
}

Using a regular expression like that is probably the tidiest and most obvious way to do that in JavaScript, but bear in mind it is a regular expression, and thus can contain regex metacharacters. If you want to take the string from elsewhere (eg, user input), or if you want to avoid having to escape a lot of metacharacters, then you’re probably best using indexOf like this:

matchString = 'best';
// If the match string is coming from user input you could do
// matchString = userInput.toLowerCase() here.

if (string.toLowerCase().indexOf(matchString) != -1){
    alert('Matched');
}

Solution 2:

Replace

var result= string.search(/searchstring/i);

with

var result= string.search(new RegExp(searchstring, "i"));

Solution 3:

If you’re just searching for a string rather than a more complicated regular expression, you can use indexOf() – but remember to lowercase both strings first because indexOf() is case sensitive:

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var string="Stackoverflow is the BEST"; 
var searchstring="best";

// lowercase both strings
var lcString=string.toLowerCase();
var lcSearchString=searchstring.toLowerCase();

var result = lcString.indexOf(lcSearchString)>=0;
alert(result);

Or in a single line:

var result = string.toLowerCase().indexOf(searchstring.toLowerCase())>=0;

Solution 4:

Suppose we want to find the string variable needle in the string variable haystack. There are three gotchas:

  1. Internationalized applications should avoid string.toUpperCase and string.toLowerCase. Use a regular expression which ignores case instead. For example, var needleRegExp = new RegExp(needle, "i"); followed by needleRegExp.test(haystack).
  2. In general, you might not know the value of needle. Be careful that needle does not contain any regular expression special characters. Escape these using needle.replace(/[-[\]{}()*+?.,\\^$|#\s]/g, "\\$&");.
  3. In other cases, if you want to precisely match needle and haystack, just ignoring case, make sure to add "^" at the start and "$" at the end of your regular expression constructor.

Taking points (1) and (2) into consideration, an example would be:

var haystack = "A. BAIL. Of. Hay.";
var needle = "bail.";
var needleRegExp = new RegExp(needle.replace(/[-[\]{}()*+?.,\\^$|#\s]/g, "\\$&"), "i");
var result = needleRegExp.test(haystack);
alert(result);

Solution 5:

ES6+:

let string="Stackoverflow is the BEST";
let searchstring="best";


let found = string.toLowerCase()
                  .includes(searchstring.toLowerCase());

includes() returns true if searchString appears at one or more positions or false otherwise.

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Solution 6:

If you are concerned about the “unterminated character class” case, removing all non-alphanumeric chars would be helpful:

searchstring = searchstring.replace(/[^a-zA-Z 0-9]+/g,'');