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Detect click with pure JavaScript

Filed under: JavaScript— Tagged with: click, event

Here’s how to handle click events in vanilla JavaScript.

This will be one of those note-to-self-posts, as I learn vanilla JavaScript. Hopefully this is of help to other internet surfers, too.

onclick

I have successfully managed to use few methods in detecting click events on a page.

The onclick:

var el = document.getElementById('module')

el.onclick = function () {
  console.log('Click just happened')
}

Or with an external function:

var el = document.getElementById('module')
var clickerFn = function () {
  console.log('Click just happened')
}

el.onclick = clickerFn

This method is very browser compliant, works down to IE8.

Listen click with addEventListener

This one is the modern solution:

var el = document.getElementById('module')
var clickHandler = function () {
  console.log('Click just happened')
}

el.addEventListener('click', clickHandler)

But won’t work in IE8 (but who cares).

Detect click on a NodeList

For example, getElementById() gets one element, onclick can then listen that element. But if multiple elements are queried with getElementsByClassName() or getElementsByTagName(), iteration is needed:

var els = document.getElementsByClassName('list--item')

for (var i = 0; i < els.length; i++) {
  // Here we have the same `onclick`
  els[i].addEventListener('click', function (event) {
    console.log('Element ' + event.target.innerHTML + ' was just clicked')
  })
}

That’s not too bad, but we’re adding multiple event handlers, with event propagation we can get away with just one event handler.

Event propagation

Let’s use the following test html:

<div id="wrap">
  <ul class="list">
    <li class="list--item">Foo</li>
    <li class="list--item">Bar</li>
    <li class="list--item">Baz</li>
  </ul>
</div>

We can listen the click events on the #wrap element and let them propagate down, then we catch the wanted elements and nothing more:

var wrap = document.getElementById('wrap')

wrap.addEventListener('click', event => {
  // Check if it’s the list element, we want the clicks only from them
  if (event.target.classList.contains('list--item')) {
    console.log('The item ' + event.target.innerHTML + ' was just clicked')
  }
})

Comments would go here, but the commenting system isn’t ready yet, sorry. Tweet me @hiljaa if you want to make a correction etc.

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