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JavaScript Without jQuery: Tips and Practical Examples

All the cool kids use jQuery, but for a lot of it's functionality it's almost as easy to do it yourself. Look at these simple examples.

· Web Dev Zone

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jQuery is extremely popular amongst front-end developers and is the preferred JavaScript framework of most coders. But even if jQuery can simplify your JS development and add a lot of possibilities, there’s cases where you can’t use jQuery. Here are some tips and practical examples about how to do things you usually do with jQuery without using the popular framework.

Listening for Document Ready

A page can’t be manipulated safely until the document is “ready”. For that reason, we developers have taken the habit to wrap all of our JS code inside the jQuery $(document).ready() function:

$( document ).ready(function() {
    console.log( "ready!" );

The same result can be achieved easily using pure JavaScript:

document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', function () {
    console.log( "ready!" );

Adding Event Listeners

Event Listeners are a very important part of JavaScript development. jQuery has a very easy way to handle them:

$(someElement).on('click', function() {
    // TODO event handler logic

You don’t need jQuery to create event listeners in JavaScript. Here’s how to do so:

someElement.addEventListener('click', function() {
    // TODO event handler logic

Selecting Elements

jQuery makes it super easy to select elements using an ID, a class name, tag name, etc:

// By ID

// By Class name

// By tag name

// Children

// Complex selecting
$('article#first p.summary');

Pure JavaScript features various way to select elements. All of the methods below work on all modern browsers as well as IE8+.

// By ID

// By Class name

// By tag name

// Children

// Complex selecting
document.querySelectorAll('article#first p.summary');

Using AJAX

As most of you know, AJAX is a set of technologies allowing you to create asynchronous web applications. jQuery has a set of useful methods for AJAX, including get() as shown below:

$.get( "ajax/test.html", function( data ) {
    $( ".result" ).html( data );
    alert( "Load was performed." );

Although jQuery makes AJAX development easier and faster, it’s a sure thing that you don’t need the framework to use AJAX:

var request = new XMLHttpRequest();
request.open('GET', 'ajax/test.html', true);

request.onload = function (e) {
    if (request.readyState === 4) {

        // Check if the get was successful.

        if (request.status === 200) {
        } else {

Adding and Removing Classes

If you need to add or remove an element’s class, jQuery has two dedicated methods to do so:

// Adding a class

// Removing a class

Without jQuery, adding a class to an element is pretty easy. To remove a class, you’ll need to use the replace() method:

// Adding a class
document.getElementById('foo').className += 'bold';

// Removing a class
document.getElementById('foo').className = document.getElementById('foo').className.replace(/^bold$/, '');

Fade In

Here’s a practical example of why jQuery is so popular. Fading an element only takes a single line of code:


The exact same effect can be achieved in pure JavaScript, but the code is way longer and more complicated.

function fadeIn(el) {
  el.style.opacity = 0;

  var last = +new Date();
  var tick = function() {
    el.style.opacity = +el.style.opacity + (new Date() - last) / 400;
    last = +new Date();

    if (+el.style.opacity < 1) {
      (window.requestAnimationFrame && requestAnimationFrame(tick)) || setTimeout(tick, 16);



Source: Stack Overflow

Hiding and Showing Elements

Hiding and showing elements is a very common task. jQuery offers the hide() and show() methods for modifying the display of an element.

// Hiding element

// Showing element

In pure JavaScript, showing or hiding elements isn’t more complicated:

// Hiding element
el.style.display = 'none';

// Showing element
el.style.display = 'block';

DOM Manipulation

Manipulating the DOM with jQuery is very easy. Let’s say you would like to append a <p> element to #container:

$("#container").append("<p>more content</p>");

Doing so in pure JavaScript isn’t much of a big deal either:

document.getElementById("container").innerHTML += "<p>more content</p>";

Further Reading

To complete this article, I’ve compiled five very useful blog posts and websites dedicated to using JavaScript without jQuery. All links below feature many practical examples.

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Published at DZone with permission of Jean-Baptiste Jung, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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