Archive for March, 2009

6 jQuery snippets you can use to manipulate select inputs

March 29, 2009 50 comments

When it comes to manipulating the DOM, fewer elements are more tiresome than the good old select input. Fortunately for us, jQuery makes what was once a headache, a walk in the park.

Listed below are 6 snippets which should make manipulating those selects more pleasant than say, pulling your own teeth.

1. Getting the value of a selected option.


This couldn’t be simpler. Remember how before jQuery, you had to use selectedIndex and all those lovely javascript methods. I do, and I don’t miss it one bit.

2. Getting the text of a selected option.

$('#selectList :selected').text();

Similar in concept to the first snippet with one difference. Where the first example gives you the “value” of the selected option, this example gives you the actual text contained inside the option tag.

3. Getting the text/value of multiple selected options.

var foo = [];
$('#multiple :selected').each(function(i, selected){
foo[i] = $(selected).text();
// to get the selected values, just use .val() - this returns a string or array
foo = $('#multiple :selected').val();

Once again, the same concept as the first two examples, except we’re now using jQuery’s “each()” method to loop through all selected options in a multiple select list. Each value or text value is read into an array for later use.

4. Using selected options in conditional statements

switch ($('#selectList :selected').text()) {
case 'First Option':
//do something
case 'Something Else':
// do something else


Much like example 2, we’re getting the text() value of a selected option, only this time we’re going to use it inside a switch statement.

5. Removing an option.

$("#selectList option[value='2']").remove();

Using an attribute filter, we can find and therefore manipulate specific options within a select list. In this example we’re telling jQuery to find the option with value=”2″ and then remove it from the select list. We can similarly add options to a select list as we’ll see in example 6.

6. Moving options from list A to list B.

$().ready(function() {
$('#add').click(function() {
return !$('#select1 option:selected').appendTo('#select2');
$('#remove').click(function() {
return !$('#select2 option:selected').appendTo('#select1');

Originally posted by Jeremy Martin, here we have 2 select lists and 2 buttons. If you click the “add” button, we remove the selected option from select1 and add that same option to select2. The “remove” button just does things the opposite way around. Thanks to jQuery’s chaining capabilities, what was once a rather tricky undertaking with JS can now be done in 6 lines of code.

And there you go. That wasn’t so bad now was it ? If you have any other handy snippets, or you’ve found an easier way to do something already covered here, why not leave a comment and share the love!


Incidentally, a few hours after first publishing this post I came across the following “select element cheat sheet”. Technically speaking, it may be a little big to be called a cheat sheet, but the author has given a very thorough and practical guide which I’m definitely going to be making use of.

How to validate Date of Birth with jQuery

March 9, 2009 13 comments

In a recent project I had to implement what’s commonly referred to as a Legal Drinking Age (LDA) page. Basically what needs to happen is that the user has to enter their date of birth and thus ‘confirm’ that they are of a legal drinking age for their respective country. You can view an example of just such a page here.

This brought me to an interesting requirement – the user needs to enter their birth of date (in this case via 3 select boxes), their age then needs to be calculated from the entered date and they are either granted, or denied access based on the result.

Interestingly enough, after having a quick look around I hadn’t been able to find any similar example, so I had to come up with something myself. The following code is my solution :

var day = $(“#day”).val();
var month = $(“#month”).val();
var year = $(“#year”).val();
var age = 18;

var mydate = new Date();
mydate.setFullYear(year, month-1, day);

var currdate = new Date();
currdate.setFullYear(currdate.getFullYear() – age);
if ((currdate – mydate) < 0){ alert("Sorry, only persons over the age of " + age + " may enter this site"); return false; } return true; }); [/sourcecode] First, we get the relevant entered date values - the “day”, “month” and “year”. I’ve also added an “age” var so that this can be easily edited if necessary – the current value is set to 18.

Next we create a Date object and call it “mydate”. We then use the object’s “setFullYear” method to set the value of “mydate” to the user’s entered birth date. You can view more information about this method here. The only thing to notice here is that we have subtract 1 from the “month” value as it’s 0 indexed.

Now that we have the user’s birth date sorted, we then create another Date object and call it “currdate”. The default value for “currdate” is the current date. We then set “currdate” to whatever the current date is minus our “age” value – i.e. Today – 18 years. Once again, we use the “setFullYear” method to set the date. However, to get the current date in a useable format, we use the “getFullYear” method and THEN subtract 18 from the resulting value. So to do this we use “currdate.getFullYear() – age”.

Once we have the date of 18 years ago and the user’s birth date, both in the same format, it’s simply a matter of making sure that the required date minus the birth date isn’t greater than 0. If so, we output an alert to inform the user then return “false” to make sure that the form doesn’t get submitted.

Pretty straightforward.

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