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These notes draw upon Launch School's course materials and jQuery's official documentation.


Originally conceived as browser support code aimed at providing a consistent API for interacting with the DOM, jQuery is a JS library that provides a set of convenience methods that can be called on DOM objects or collections of DOM objects. jQuery is implemented in JS.

We can include jQuery in our application using a Content Delivery Network (CDN). The code below (which should be pasted into the head of our document), allows us to access jQuery without having installed directly on the machine. It can be found here.

<script src="<VERSION_NUM>/jquery.min.js"></script>

In order to manipulate some aspect of the DOM with jQuery (or with JS, for that matter), the DOM must have properly loaded. This can be handled by placing the script tag at the bottom of the HTML body, or by using the following formulation:

$(document).ready(function() {
 // executes after DOM loaded

or its shorthand:

$(function() {
  // executes after DOM loaded

while this syntax is used for the load page event:

$(window).load(function() {
 // executed after page finishes rendering

jQuery can perform CSS query selections using this syntax:


which returns a jQuery collection. Most CSS is recognized by jQuery.

jQuery Events

Registering event listeners is accomplished in jQuery with the following syntax:

$(selectorString).on(eventName, callback);


Using this syntax, the code below will output the tagName of each element in body on which the user clicks:

$('body').on('click', function(event) {

Event listeners can be removed from a jQuery selection using:


where event filters listeners and selector filters nodes.

jQuery DOM Traversal

A full list of jQuery DOM traversal methods can be found here.

Traversing Down

Traversing down (i.e., returning descendants of the current node) can be accomplished with find, which returns a jQuery collection of all of the descendent nodes that match the selector:


The code above will return a collection of all paragraph element nodes that are descendents of the element selected by '#intro'.

Traversing Up

Traversing up (i.e., returning ancestors of the current node) can be accomplished with closest, which returns a jQuery collection of the closest single ancestor node (including the current node!) that match the selector:


Traversing Siblings

Method Return Value
next(optSelector) A jQuery collection holding the next sibling, optionally filtered by optSelector
nextAll(optSelector) A jQuery collection holding all next siblings that match optSelector
prev(optSelector) A jQuery collection holding the previous sibling, optionally filtered by optSelector
prevAll(optSelector) A jQuery collection holding all previous siblings, optionally filtered by optSelector

NB: for next and prev, if the next or previous sibling doesn't match the optional selector, no nodes will be returned.

jQuery Animations

jQuery has set functions for slides and fades, and allows the developer to specify custom animations as well.

Fades and Slides

Method Description
fadeOut Sets opacity to 0
fadeIn Sets opacity to 1
fadeToggle toggles between 0 and 1 opacity
fadeTo(duration, finalOpacity) over duration transition to finalOpacity
Method Description
slideDown Slides target element down into view
slideUp Slides target element up out of view
slideToggle Toggles between down into view and up out of view

The simple forms of both of these types of animations take optional duration, easing, and callback arguments, which denote the time over which the animation will be executed, the type of transition (linear or swing), and a function to be invoked upon animation completion, respectively.


animate performs a custom animation using an argument object that has properties and values corresponding to CSS property names and the finish values for the transition. The pre-invocation values serve as the start values for the transition:

  top: 300,
  left: 300,

Animate also takes optional duration and easing arguments. If relative values are desired, we use the following format: left: "+=50",.

Utility Methods

Method Description
delay(duration) Delays an animation for duration milliseconds when placed prior to an animation call
stop(stopAll, lastFrame) Stops animations in progress. If stopAll is true, all subsequent animations will also be stopped. If lastFrame true, then the animation jumps to its last frame
finish stops the current animation, jumps to last frame, and causes all subsequent animations to jump to last frame as well

Resetting Animations

The CSS value changes that cause jQuery animations are applied using the style attribute. Thus, animations can be reset by removing the style attribute from the animated element:


Event Delegation in jQuery

Event delegation in jQuery can be achieved using the on method with an optional second selector argument:

parent.on(event, selector, function(e) { ... });

this code listens for the given event and then, upon encountering it in the bubbling phase, checks whether is selector. If so, the handler is invoked.

jQuery's proxy

jQuery's $.proxy method is functionally equivalent to vanilla JS's bind. It takes a function argument and a context argument and returns a new function, bound to the object:

var boundFunc = $.proxy(func, context);

Data Attributes in jQuery

Read here about data attributes in JS.

jQuery provides two methods that access data attributes on DOM elements, data and attr.

data takes as argument the post - portion of the attribute's name, and returns the argument. When used as a setter, however, it creates a property/value pair internal to the DOM element, which is different than the data attribute.

attr takes the full attribute name, and can be used to set new data attributes as expected. For this reason, prefer attr when interacting with data attributes in jQuery.

Interacting with Forms using jQuery

jQuery has built-in methods for interacting with form elements. Most of these are event listeners that bind handlers to specific form events, but the most important are two that serialize forms, that is, that convert forms into different data types that are more conducive to being sent via AJAX requests.

Given the following tag in the document:

<input type="text" name="user_name" />

serialize will return a string holding the input's name and value:

$('input').serialize(); // => "user_name=bob11"

while serializeArray returns an array of objects holding the input names and values. In this case, it returns an array with a single object:

$('input').serializeArray(); // => [{ name: "user_name", value: "bob11" }]

jQuery also has a val method that returns the value held by input elements. val can also be used as a setter method to set the value held by the given input.