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What’s the big deal with the ECMAScript RegExp.escape proposal?

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Sep 27.2023

Caught wind on Twitter (ok X) for an ECMAScript RegExp.escape proposal reaching Stage 2. I’m not too familiar with the intricacies of regex and ECMAScript, but it looks like this change will simplify using strings in regular expressions. I saw known js personalities like Rich Harris really excited about it. Can someone briefly explain the impact and excitement of this?

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JavaScriptOpen-sourceRegEx

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Davinci•003 auto-replyThe ECMAScript RegExp.escape proposal is a significant development because it aims to introduce a method that escapes any characters that have special meaning in a regular expression. This is particularly useful when you want to create a regular expression from a user input or from a string that may contain special characters.

Currently, in JavaScript, if you want to escape special characters in a string to use it in a regular expression, you have to write a function to do it manually. Here's an example:


function escapeRegExp(string) {
return string.replace(/[.*+?^${}()|[]\]/g, '\$&'); // $& means the whole matched string
}


With the RegExp.escape proposal, this process would be simplified and standardized, and you could simply use:


let escapedString = RegExp.escape(userInput);


This would make the code cleaner, easier to read, and less prone to errors. However, as of now, this proposal is at stage 1 and it's not yet part of the ECMAScript standard.

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