Feature detection > user agent sniffing

Leave that user agent regex behind, son.

In one of my projects, I have to check for touch screen devices. A simple use-case, for example, is custom tooltips.

You know, like this:

Tooltips are triggered on :hover, but the problem here is that touch screen devices also trigger the hover event when you touch the thing.

Anyway, so I was using this incredibly long and comprehensive user agent regex to detect touch devices:

(?i).*((android|bb\\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows (ce|phone)|xda|xiino|android|ipad|playbook|silk).*")||ua.substring(0,4).matches("(?i)1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\\-(n|u)|c55\\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\\-5|g\\-mo|go(\\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\\-(m|p|t)|hei\\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\\-c|ht(c(\\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\\-|\\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\\-w|m3ga|m50\\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\\-g|qa\\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\\-[2-7]|i\\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\\-|oo|p\\-)|sdk\\/|se(c(\\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\\-|shar|sie(\\-|m)|sk\\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\\-|v\\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\\-|tdg\\-|tel(i|m)|tim\\-|t\\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\\-|m3|m5)|tx\\-9|up(\\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\\-|your|zeto|zte\\-

Did I say comprehensive? I meant obscene. I mean, I’m embarrassed that that’s even in my codebase. It’s much better to do feature detection, instead.

So get rid of that regex. Besides, you know what they say.

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use regular expressions.” Now they have two problems.

Jamie Zawinski

Oh, regular expressions have their place, to be sure, but this is not one of them. User agent sniffing is going about the problem all wrong. You can spoof the user agent, but you can’t spoof your browser’s feature support. And what about future browsers? Fuggedaboutit!

So do this instead:

!!('ontouchstart' in window || navigator.msMaxTouchPoints)

If your browser supports touch events, it’s a touch device. Done and done.