Jquery select first letter?

I am simply attempting to get jquery to identify the first letter of a paragraph. How would I do this?

For example, I have a page with a number of paragrahs on a page. I would like only the paragraphs starting with a specified letter to be given the class "current" and all others to be hidden. I pretty much know how to add the class and hide the others but, I cant get jquery to recognize the first letter.

Secondly, is it possible to pull this 'first letter' variable from the url string?

For example, Page 1 - There is a list of letters. The user clicks 'B' and the url is


And page2 picks up that variable (b) and applies it to the Jquery, showing only those paragraphs




    if(jQuery(this).text().substr(0,1).toUpperCase() == 'B'){

You can use PHP to clean the variable and the print it in JS:

<script type="text/javascript">
var letter = '<?php  echo (strlen($_GET['letter']) == 1) ? $_GET['letter'] : ''; ?>'

Or just grab it with document.location and extract it.


If you'd like to use JavaScript to grab the letter from the URL query string, run a regular expression on window.location.search:

var letterParam = window.location.search.match(/letter=([a-z])/i), letter;

if (letterParam)
    letter = letterParam[1];

To match paragraphs starting with that letter, use the charAt() method in JavaScript strings:

if (letter)
        if ($(this).text().charAt(0).toUpperCase() == 'B')
            // Apply the CSS class or change the style...

To hide the <p> tags whose text does not start with the letter B:

$('p').filter(function() {
  return $(this).text().charAt(0).toUpperCase() != 'B';
$('p').hide().filter(function(){return $(this).text().match(/^b/i);}).show();

or indented

                         return $(this).text().match(/^b/i);

remove the i in the match if you want it to be case sensitive..

and you can look at http://jquery-howto.blogspot.com/2009/09/get-url-parameters-values-with-jquery.html on how to get the url parameters..


I don't know if its relevant here, but I am using this to style the first character.

$(".menu ul li.page_item a").each(function() {
var text = $(this).html();
var first = $('<span>'+text.charAt(0)+'</span>').addClass('caps');



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