JS function to determine if a string is the User-Agent for a browser
JavaScript
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Permalink
Failed to load latest commit information.
lib
.gitignore
LICENSE
README.md
index.js
package.json

README.md

user-agent-is-a-browser

JS function to determine if a string is the User-Agent for a browser (even if it doesn't start with Mozilla/!)

What is this I don't even

This is a function that determines whether the string you passed in to it matches the whitelist rules of what we expect a browser's UA to look like.

It only determines if the User-Agent is a browser? Not which browser it is? What's the point of that?

Ah, because, sonny Jim, not all HTTP consumers are browsers! There's crawlers, robots, libraries, static-retrieval binaries... really, just take a look at this list of HTTP clients for a wide sampling of many User-Agents there are that aren't, strictly speaking, browsers.

If you want information on what browser is requesting the site via the User-Agent, there are several libraries to do that - just do an NPM search for "useragent".

How does it determine if the User-Agent is a browser?

Well, it starts by checking to see if the string starts with 'Mozilla/'. Ever since Netscape was released and Internet Explorer copied its UA, 99% of browsers that want to signify that they're a browser without causing compatibility issues will start their User-Agent with "Mozilla/": this check is enough to catch the latest versions of all the major browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and even Opera).

However, some browsers, out of some misguided sense of "integrity", or a desire to differentiate themselves and their compatibility, or for whatever reason, chose not to copy the Mozilla prefix (until its move to the Chromium/Blink code base, Opera was probably the highest-profile browser to do this and subsequently suffer for it). Going forward, anybody who's serious about making an HTML5-world-ready browser will have to start their UA with "Mozilla/5.0", but for the long-tail of esoteric experimental browsers (such as Lynx and w3m, which aim to making web browsing in terminals), this function uses a white list based on http://www.useragentstring.com/pages/Browserlist/ to recognize these agents as browsers as well.

Does it exclude User-Agents that impersonate browsers, like crawlers?

No. If a crawler wants to impersonate a browser by prefixing its User-Agent with "Mozilla/", this function will let it.

But why?

meta.sh uses this for its base paths, to determine whether to serve a requestor the HTML page for a script (for browsers), or the plain text of the script (for curl/wget/etc). The world of looking up shell scripts is probably one that is most likely to encounter esoteric browser agents, so a simple "Mozilla/" check isn't good enough.

Is there any browser on that list that ISN'T included in the tests?

No... well, except for Enigma Browser.