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A mimetic poly-alloy of the Quicksilver scoring algorithm, essentially LiquidMetal. </Schwarzenegger Voice>
tag: v1.0

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A mimetic poly-alloy of the Quicksilver scoring algorithm, essentially LiquidMetal. </Schwarzenegger Voice>

Flex matching short abbreviations against longer strings is a boon in productivity for typists. Applications like Quicksilver, Alfred, LaunchBar, and Launchy have made this method of keyboard entry a popular one. It's time to bring this same functionality to web controls. LiquidMetal makes scoring long strings against abbreviations easy.


Include the library:

<script src="liquidmetal.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

Score any string against an abbreviation:

LiquidMetal.score("FooBar",  "foo")   //=> 0.950
LiquidMetal.score("FooBar",  "fb")    //=> 0.917
LiquidMetal.score("Foo Bar", "fb")    //=> 0.929
LiquidMetal.score("Foo Bar", "baz")   //=> 0.0
LiquidMetal.score("Foo Bar", "")      //=> 0.8

All scores fall between a range of 0.0 (no match) to 1.0 (perfect match).

Inspired By


  • To satisfy my own requirements for the jquery.flexselect plugin
  • The Quicksilver algorithm doesn't give proper weight to abbreviations that match the first character of the scored string.
  • The Quicksilver algorithm is extremely slow for certain length string/abbreviation combinations because of its use of recursion. While slightly slower for shorter length string/abbreviation combinations, LiquidMetal outperforms the Quicksilver algorithm by orders of magnitude under other conditions.
  • The javascript version of the Quicksilver algorithm (Quicksilver.js) is case sensitive and doesn't give added weight to camel case strings; whereas, LiquidMetal is case insensitive and does give added weight to uppercase letters in camel case strings.


  • More tests
  • Consider tweaking the scores for "trailing" characters
  • Some abbreviations are capable of yielding multiple scores. Return the highest score instead of just the first.
  • See if it's possible to tune the performance further.


Ryan McGeary (@rmm5t)


MIT License

Copyright (c) 2009, Ryan McGeary (ryanonjavascript -[at]- mcgeary [dot] org)

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