Wrap tags around http text

I disagree heavily that jQuery can be much use in finding a solution here. Granted you have to get down and dirty with some of the textNode element attributes but putting the DOM back together again after you split your matched node can be made a wee bit easier using the jQuery library.

The following code is documented inline to explain the action taken. I’ve written it as a jQuery plugin in case you just want to take this and move it around elsewhere. This way you can scope which elements you want to convert URLs for or you can simply use the $(“body”) selector.

(function($) {
    $.fn.anchorTextUrls = function() {
        // Test a text node's contents for URLs and split and rebuild it with an achor
        var testAndTag = function(el) {
            // Test for URLs along whitespace and punctuation boundaries (don't look too hard or you will be consumed)
            var m = el.nodeValue.match(/(https?:\/\/.*?)[.!?;,]?(\s+|"|$)/);

            // If we've found a valid URL, m[1] contains the URL
            if (m) {
                // Clone the text node to hold the "tail end" of the split node
                var tail = $(el).clone()[0];

                // Substring the nodeValue attribute of the text nodes based on the match boundaries
                el.nodeValue = el.nodeValue.substring(0, el.nodeValue.indexOf(m[1]));
                tail.nodeValue = tail.nodeValue.substring(tail.nodeValue.indexOf(m[1]) + m[1].length);

                // Rebuild the DOM inserting the new anchor element between the split text nodes
                $(el).after(tail).after($("<a></a>").attr("href", m[1]).html(m[1]));

                // Recurse on the new tail node to check for more URLs

            // Behave like a function
            return false;

        // For each element selected by jQuery
        this.each(function() {
            // Select all descendant nodes of the element and pick out only text nodes
            var textNodes = $(this).add("*", this).contents().filter(function() {
                return this.nodeType == 3

            // Take action on each text node
            $.each(textNodes, function(i, el) {

$("body").anchorTextUrls(); //Sample call

Please keep in mind that given the way I wrote this to populate the textNodes array, the method will find ALL descendant text nodes, not just immediate children text nodes. If you want it to replace URLs only amongst the text within a specific selector, remove the .add(“*”, this) call that adds all the descendants of the selected element.

Here’s a fiddle example.

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