Replacing href attributes with onClick events with Regex

code | 2-23-2011

I recently had the need to override all of my links on a Sencha Touch app with an onClick event. I needed to be able to open the links using the ChildBrowser plugin for PhoneGap. The problem was that I needed to grab the links before I rendered the content to the page and apply the onClick event instead of the href.

Essentially, I wanted to turn this:

<a href="myLink.html">My Link</a>

Into this:

<a onClick="myFunction('myLink.html')">My Link</a>

So how did I do it? I wrote a function to parse the string using Regex before I rendered it to the page. I thought that the whole operation my be fairly common, so I Googled how to do it, and to my surprise, there was literally nothing on the internet about how to do it, so I naturally thought it was worth posting.

// This is the function
var overrideLink = function(functionName, str){

        // Remove links with blank href tags
        // For exampe: &lt;a href=""&gt;<a>This would break everything!&lt;/a&gt;</a>
        str = str.replace(/href=""/g, '');

        // Replaces links with onclick events
        return str.replace(/href=\"(.+?)\"/, 'onclick="' + functionName + '(\'$1\');"');

};

var myString = 'This is a string that contains &lt;a href="myLink.html"&gt;My Link&lt;/a&gt; inside of it.';

// This is how you call it
overrideLink('myFunctionName', myString);

I'm still pretty new to Regex, so there may well be a better way to do this. If you know of one, don't hesitate to put me in my place. Enjoy!



About the Author

Tyson Cadenhead is a Senior JavaScript Developer at Aloompa. He lives in the greater Nashville area. His specialty is writing large, scalable JavaScript applications on the client and server side. His passions are for good design, usability, and clean, reusable code.

Tags: JavaScript Regex

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