JavaScript Snippet – String.prototype.before()

Extending native prototypes is frowned upon by many JS engineers but can be helpful as long as the extensions are properly documented in the codebase.

Even though its NOT encouraged to extend native prototypes, at times you may find that doing so is pretty useful. One extension that you may find useful is String.prototype.before(...) which can be used to return the substring before a specified target. Here is the definition:

First I think its worth mentioning that depending on your preference you could choose to rename this function as String.prototype.leftOf(...) to clearly identify what it does. This function takes at least a target to find in the string which is either a string or a regexp. You may also optionally pass in a second argument which indicates the occurrence of the target to key off of. For example, if you wanted to extract the substring before the second comma in "one, two, three, and four" you could do something like the following:

var str = "one, two, three, and four";
var firstTwo = str.before(',', 2);

Of course, that is just one simple example of what you can do with this prototype extension. Check out some tests that exemplify how to use this helpful function:

Most likely if you like this function you will also want to check out the String.prototype.after(...) post. Enjoy using this helpful utility function. 😎

JavaScript Snippet – Simple CSV Parser

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I was recently working on a quick way to parse CSVs into an array of arrays and alternatively into an array of dictionaries keyed on the values in the first row. I ended up landing on the following definition:

As you can see the function is annotated for anyone that may be interested in using. Let’s see example of how it could be used. Here is an example string that can be parsed:

ID,First Name,Last Name,Address,Last Purchase Date,Purchase Amount,Comment,Return Customer
1,Don,Knots,"123 Main St.,
Duggietown, ET 12342",10/23/2013,23.43,"""Doesn't like cheese"" according to his mom.",Y
2,Cher,Vega,"92 Victor Ln.
Rutrow, DA 39252",01/12/2013,588.1,,N
3,Tina,Ray,"1111 Yomdip Circle
Bribloop, EV 92341",02/03/2013,234.2,,Y
4,Charlie,Bucket,"745 Caca Pl.
Hastiville, JS 92293",05/06/2013,345.4,,N

Below is an example of processing the above CSV first as an array of arrays, then as an array of dictionaries (objects), and lastly as an array of dictionaries with typed values:

As you can see from the jPaq Proof above, this parser works well with the majority of the CSVs that you would need to process. Still, in the case that you need a fully-fledged CSV parser, Papa Parse seems to be a pretty good solution. Have fun! 😎

Embedding Stylesheets in JavaScript

Now Available in YourJS

One of the cool things about JS is that you can do almost anything with it! The only thing is that you need to have the tools to get that “anything” job done. Recently, I had the desire to embed HTML, CSS, and JS all in one file that would be loaded when a specific browser event fired. The common solution is to use a library such as jQuery to load an HTML snippet but I wanted a different solution. I was thinking it would be great to be able to do something like this:

    'div.special-1, span.special-2': {
        fontFamily: 'Trebuchet MS',
        a: {
            textDecoration: null,
            '&:link, &:visited': { color: '#08F' },
            '&:hover, &:active': { color: 'red' }

Having this resulting in a stylesheet added to the HEAD with the following CSS:

div.special-1, span.special-2 {
    font-family: Trebuchet MS;
div.special-1 a, span.special-2 a {
    text-decoration: none;

div.special-1 a:link, span.special-2 a:link,
div.special-1 a:visited, span.special-2 a:visited {
    color: #08F;

div.special-1 a:hover, span.special-2 a:hover,
div.special-1 a:active, span.special-2 a:active {
    color: red;

After a bit of work to make a few Sass-like features work, I came up with the following JavaScript function:

Brief css(objStyles, opt_ancestors) Documentation

This function takes an object representing CSS rules and adds a stylesheet with those rules to the document.


  1. objStyles
    An object representing the CSS rules to be inserted into the document.

    • Property names will be used as media queries if they start with "@media ".
    • Property names will be used as rule selectors if the value is an object.
    • If a property name is to be used as a selector, if any selectors don’t contain &, "& " will be prepended to it.
    • For all selectors, & will be replaced recursively with the selectors found in the parent.
    • CSS property names will be uncamelcased by inserting dashes before each uppercased character and lower casing all characters.
    • If a value is null or undefined, it will be turned into "none".
    • If a value is a number other than 0, "px" will be appended to it.
    • If a value is an array all of the items will be concatenated together, using "," to delimit the values.
    • If a value ends with ! it will be replaced with "!important".
  2. opt_ancestors
    Optional. This can be an element or an array of elements which will get another class added to target all rules to it and its children. This can alternatively be a CSS path (selector) specifying the root on which all CSS rules created should be based.


The stylesheet that is created and appended to the document is returned.

Future Development

I feel like this function turned out pretty well so I plan on incorporating it into YourJS (whenever I finish up with that 😀 ). In the meantime, if I update the code, you will be able to see the updates here or in GitHub. One thing I would like to incorporate is the ability to have variables. Another nice-to-have thing would be the ability to supply more options such as where the stylesheet should be inserted (if it will be inserted at all), pretty-print, and helper functions (eg. darken). Feel free to leave a comment saying what other things may be nice to have. 😎