Javascript Expression Language: Powerful context-based expression parser and evaluator
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Promises/A+ logo # Jexl [![Build Status](]( [![Code Climate](]( [![Test Coverage](]( Javascript Expression Language: Powerful context-based expression parser and evaluator

Quick start

Use it with promises or callbacks:

var context = {
    name: {first: 'Sterling', last: 'Archer'},
    assoc: [
        {first: 'Lana', last: 'Kane'},
        {first: 'Cyril', last: 'Figgis'},
        {first: 'Pam', last: 'Poovey'}
    age: 36

// Filter an array
jexl.eval('assoc[.first == "Lana"].last', context).then(function(res) {
    console.log(res); // Output: Kane

// Do math
jexl.eval('age * (3 - 1)', context, function(err, res) {
    console.log(res); // Output: 72

// Concatenate
jexl.eval('name.first + " " + name["la" + "st"]', context).then(function(res) {
    console.log(res); // Output: Sterling Archer

// Compound
jexl.eval('assoc[.last == "Figgis"].first == "Cyril" && assoc[.last == "Poovey"].first == "Pam"', context)
    .then(function(res) {
        console.log(res); // Output: true

// Use array indexes
jexl.eval('assoc[1]', context, function(err, res) {
    console.log(res.first + ' ' + res.last); // Output: Cyril Figgis

// Use conditional logic
jexl.eval('age > 62 ? "retired" : "working"', context).then(function(res) {
    console.log(res); // Output: working

// Transform
jexl.addTransform('upper', function(val) {
    return val.toUpperCase();
jexl.eval('"duchess"|upper + " " + name.last|upper', context).then(function(res) {
    console.log(res); // Output: DUCHESS ARCHER

// Transform asynchronously, with arguments
jexl.addTransform('getStat', function(val, stat) {
    return dbSelectByLastName(val, stat); // Returns a promise
jexl.eval('name.last|getStat("weight")', context, function(err, res) {
    if (err) console.log('Database Error', err.stack);
    else console.log(res); // Output: 184

// Add your own (a)synchronous operators
// Here's a case-insensitive string equality
jexl.addBinaryOp('_=', 20, function(left, right) {
    return left.toLowerCase() === right.toLowerCase();
jexl.eval('"Guest" _= "gUeSt"').then(function(val) {
    console.log(res); // Output: true


Jexl requires an environment that supports the Promise/A+ specification as standardized in ES6. Node.js version 0.12.0 and up is great right out of the box (no --harmony flag necessary), as well as the latest versions of many browsers. To support older browsers, just include a Promise library such as Bluebird.

For Node.js, type this in your project folder:

npm install jexl --save

For the frontend, drop dist/jexl.min.js into your project and include it on your page with:

<script src="path/to/jexl.min.js"></script>

Access Jexl the same way, backend or front:

var jexl = require('Jexl');

All the details

Unary Operators

Operation Symbol
Negate !

Binary Operators

Operation Symbol
Add, Concat +
Subtract -
Multiply *
Divide /
Divide and floor //
Modulus %
Power of ^
Logical AND &&
Logical OR ||


Comparison Symbol
Equal ==
Not equal !=
Greater than >
Greater than or equal >=
Less than <
Less than or equal <=
Element in array or string in

A note about in:

The in operator can be used to check for a substring: "Cad" in "Ron Cadillac", and it can be used to check for an array element: "coarse" in ['fine', 'medium', 'coarse']. However, the == operator is used behind-the-scenes to search arrays, so it should not be used with arrays of objects. The following expression returns false: {a: 'b'} in [{a: 'b'}].

Ternary operator

Conditional expressions check to see if the first segment evaluates to a truthy value. If so, the consequent segment is evaluated. Otherwise, the alternate is. If the consequent section is missing, the test result itself will be used instead.

Expression Result
"" ? "Full" : "Empty" Empty
"foo" in "foobar" ? "Yes" : "No" Yes
{agent: "Archer"}.agent ?: "Kane" Archer

Native Types

Type Examples
Booleans true, false
Strings "Hello "user"", 'Hey there!'
Numerics 6, -7.2, 5, -3.14159
Objects {hello: "world!"}
Arrays ['hello', 'world!']


Parentheses work just how you'd expect them to:

Expression Result
(83 + 1) / 2 42
1 < 3 && (4 > 2 || 2 > 4) true


Access variables in the context object by just typing their name. Objects can be traversed with dot notation, or by using brackets to traverse to a dynamic property name.

Example context:

    name: {
        first: "Malory",
        last: "Archer"
    exes: [
        "Nikolai Jakov",
        "Len Trexler",
        "Burt Reynolds"
    lastEx: 2
Expression Result
name.first Malory
name['la' + 'st'] Archer
exes[2] Burt Reynolds
exes[lastEx - 1] Len Trexler


Collections, or arrays of objects, can be filtered by including a filter expression in brackets. Properties of each collection can be referenced by prefixing them with a leading dot. The result will be an array of the objects for which the filter expression resulted in a truthy value.

Example context:

    employees: [
        {first: 'Sterling', last: 'Archer', age: 36},
        {first: 'Malory', last: 'Archer', age: 75},
        {first: 'Lana', last: 'Kane', age: 33},
        {first: 'Cyril', last: 'Figgis', age: 45},
        {first: 'Cheryl', last: 'Tunt', age: 28}
    retireAge: 62
Expression Result
employees[.first == 'Sterling'] [{first: 'Sterling', last: 'Archer', age: 36}]
employees[.last == 'Tu' + 'nt'].first Cheryl
employees[.age >= 30 && .age < 40] [{first: 'Sterling', last: 'Archer', age: 36},{first: 'Lana', last: 'Kane', age: 33}]
employees[.age >= 30 && .age < 40][.age < 35] [{first: 'Lana', last: 'Kane', age: 33}]
employees[.age >= retireAge].first Malory


The power of Jexl is in transforming data, synchronously or asynchronously. Transform functions take one or more arguments: The value to be transformed, followed by anything else passed to it in the expression. They must return either the transformed value, or a Promise that resolves with the transformed value. Add them with jexl.addTransform(name, function).

jexl.addTransform('split', function(val, char) {
    return val.split(char);
jexl.addTransform('lower', function(val) {
    return val.toLowerCase();
Expression Result
"Pam Poovey"|lower|split(' ')[1] poovey
"password==guest"|split('=' + '=') ['password', 'guest']

Advanced Transforms

Using Transforms, Jexl can support additional string formats like embedded JSON, YAML, XML, and more. The following, with the help of the xml2json module, allows XML to be traversed just as easily as plain javascript objects:

var xml2json = require('xml2json');

jexl.addTransform('xml', function(val) {
    return xml2json.toJson(val, {object: true});

var context = {
        "<Employees>" +
            "<Employee>" +
                "<FirstName>Cheryl</FirstName>" +
                "<LastName>Tunt</LastName>" +
            "</Employee>" +
            "<Employee>" +
                "<FirstName>Cyril</FirstName>" +
                "<LastName>Figgis</LastName>" +
            "</Employee>" +

var expr = 'xmlDoc|xml.Employees.Employee[.LastName == "Figgis"].FirstName';

jexl.eval(expr, context).then(function(res) {
    console.log(res); // Output: Cyril


Variable contexts are straightforward Javascript objects that can be accessed in the expression, but they have a hidden feature: they can include a Promise object, and when that property is used, Jexl will wait for the Promise to resolve and use that value!



A reference to the Jexl constructor. To maintain separate instances of Jexl with each maintaining its own set of transforms, simply re-instantiate with new jexl.Jexl().

jexl.addBinaryOp({string} operator, {number} precedence, {function} fn)

Adds a binary operator to the Jexl instance. A binary operator is one that considers the values on both its left and right, such as "+" or "==", in order to calculate a result. The precedence determines the operator's position in the order of operations (please refer to lib/grammar.js to see the precedence of existing operators). The provided function will be called with two arguments: a left value and a right value. It should return either the resulting value, or a Promise that resolves to the resulting value.

jexl.addUnaryOp({string} operator, {function} fn)

Adds a unary operator to the Jexl instance. A unary operator is one that considers only the value on its right, such as "!", in order to calculate a result. The provided function will be called with one argument: the value to the operator's right. It should return either the resulting value, or a Promise that resolves to the resulting value.

jexl.addTransform({string} name, {function} transform)

Adds a transform function to this Jexl instance. See the Transforms section above for information on the structure of a transform function.

jexl.addTransforms({{}} map)

Adds multiple transforms from a supplied map of transform name to transform function.

jexl.getTransform({string} name)

Returns {function|undefined}. Gets a previously set transform function, or undefined if no function of that name exists.

jexl.eval({string} expression, {{}} [context], {function} [callback])

Returns {Promise<*>}. Evaluates an expression. The context map and callback function are optional. If a callback is specified, it will be called with the standard signature of {Error} first argument, and the expression's result in the second argument. Note that if a callback function is supplied, the returned Promise will already have a .catch() attached to it.

jexl.removeOp({string} operator)

Removes a binary or unary operator from the Jexl instance. For example, "^" can be passed to eliminate the "power of" operator.


Jexl is licensed under the MIT license. Please see LICENSE.txt for full details.


Jexl was designed and created at TechnologyAdvice.