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Category Archives: Browsers

What the hell, IE….

So last night I was bitten by a very unexpected behavior in the IE JavaScript engine (IE7, specifically, but I would suspect it’s present in all the other versions).

Background
I have a function that iterates through the characters in a string trying to align them with those from another string. I was doing this with a for loop from 0 through “length – 1” and then pulling out the pertinent character from the string using the indexer, e.g.

for (var c = 0; c < myString.length; c++) {
    alert("char at index " + c + " was: " + myString[c]);
}

Problem
This seemed to work fine in all of my initial tests and works like a charm in Firefox.  However, when I flipped back to IE7 to run my JSUnit tests there as well, I saw about 7 errors in my results.  Turns out it was an error from when the string was a single character, e.g. “x”.  From an object perspective, JavaScript still knows it’s a string because all of the string methods are available.  However, use of the indexer, e.g. myString[c], caused it to blow up, saying that myString[c] was undefined.

My assumption here is that, in IE, the indexer syntax actually tries to retrieve the index from its internal data structure (i.e. char[]) rather than its JS representation (i.e. String).  However, it seems that when the string is only one character long, its internal representation is just a plain ole char rather than a char array.  Very odd!

Solution/Workaround
Any which way, this was easily worked around by using the string methods instead:

for (var c = 0; c &lt; myString.length; c++) {
    alert("char at index " + c + " was: " + myString.substring(c, c + 1));
}
 
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Posted by on 2009-11-26 in Browsers, IE7, JavaScript, jWalker, Open Source

 

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