Test if two URLs are "equal" in JavaScript

02 July 2020   0 comments   JavaScript

This saved my bacon today and I quite like it so I hope that others might benefit from this little tip.

So you have two "URLs" and you want to know if they are "equal". I write those words, in the last sentence, in quotation marks because they might not be fully formed URLs and what you consider equal might depend on the current business logic.

In my case, I wanted http://www.peterbe.com/path/to?a=b to be considered equal to/path/to#anchor . Because, in this case the both share the exact same pathname (/path/to). So how to do it:

function equalUrls(url1, url2) {
  return (
    new URL(url1, "http://example.com").pathname ===
    new URL(url2, "http://example.com").pathname

If you're doing TypeScript, switch the arguments to (url1: string, url2: string).

That "http://example.com" is deliberate and not a placeholder. It's because:

>> new URL("/just/a/path", "http://example.com").pathname
>> new URL("https://www.peterbe.com/a/path", "http://example.com").pathname

In other words, if you do it like that the first argument to the URL constructor can be with or without a full absolute URL.


Be careful with junk. For example new URL(null, 'http://example.com').pathname becomes /null. So you might want to extend the logic to use "falsyness" like this:

  return (
+   url1 && url2 &&
    new URL(url1, "http://example.com").pathname ===
    new URL(url2, "http://example.com").pathname


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