Trivia (called that because it's trivial) represent the parts of the source text that are largely insignificant for normal understanding of the code. For example; whitespace, comments, and even conflict markers. Trivia is not stored in the AST (to keep it lightweight). However, it can be fetched on demand using a few ts.* APIs.

Before we show them you need to understand the following:

Trivia Ownership

In General:

  • A token owns any trivia after it on the same line upto the next token.

  • Any comment after that line is associated with the following token.

For leading and ending comments in a file:

  • The first token in the source file gets all the initial trivia.

  • The last sequence of trivia in the file is tacked onto the end-of-file token, which otherwise has zero width.

Trivia APIs

For most basic uses, comments are the "interesting" trivia. The comments that belong to a Node can be fetched through the following functions:




Given the source text and position within that text, returns ranges of comments between the first line break following the given position and the token itself (probably most useful with ts.Node.getFullStart).


Given the source text and position within that text, returns ranges of comments until the first line break following the given position (probably most useful with ts.Node.getEnd).

As an example, imagine this portion of a source file:

  /*hi*/    function

getLeadingCommentRanges for the function will only return the last 2 comments //bye and /*hi*/.

Appropriately, calling getTrailingCommentRanges on the end of the debugger statement will extract the /*hello*/ comment.

Token Start/Full Start

Nodes have what is called a "token start" and a "full start".

  • Token Start: the more natural version, which is the position in file where the text of a token begins

  • Full Start: the point at which the scanner began scanning since the last significant token

AST nodes have an API for getStart and getFullStart. In the following example:

  /*hi*/    function

for function the token start is at function whereas full start is at /*hello*/. Note that full start even includes the trivia that would otherwise be owned by the previous node.

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