Home > javascript, jquery > Advanced radio button grouping with jQuery

Advanced radio button grouping with jQuery


I was asked to do something rather interesting with some radio button inputs the other day. I haven’t come across this particular problem before and google didn’t return anything helpful, so I decided to share what I came up with.

First, the scenario

We have a standard form with 4 radio button groups. Each group has 4 radio buttons labeled from “1” to “4”. Now, when the user selects “option 1” in “group 1”, all the remaining “option 1” items need to be disabled. To see an example in action, you can view the demo here.

The problem

When I first started, I thought that it’s simply a matter of giving each “option” (regardless of group) a common class name – then just disabling all other options with the same class name. That works, to a point, but what if the user changes his mind and selects another option ? Now I had to find all previously disabled options, re-enable them and start all over again.

The solution

Essentially what I came up with was a basic nested loop to handle setting and unsetting the relevant “disabled” attributes. To achieve this, first we assign all “option 1” a class of “number1”, “option 2” a class of “number2” and so on.

Next, we run a basic for loop, and go through each “number” class (i.e. number1 to number4). For each class, we call a function. Inside this function is another loop – this time iterating over each radio button assigned the current class name. Using this loop, we remove any “disabled” attributes which may have been assigned previously. We also find out which item in that group is currently selected (if any) – this is so we can run a second loop to disable all those options not currently selected. Confused ? Now might be a good time to go through the code

The code

$(function(){
		// fire our code when a radio button has been selected
		$("input[type=radio]").change(function(){
			var name = $(this).attr("name"); // get the current button's group name
			$("input[name="+name+"]").removeAttr("selected"); // first we deselect "all" radio buttons within the same group
			$(this).attr("selected","selected"); // make sure our currently "changed" button is selected
			for(i=1;i<=4;i++){ // go through the 4 radio classes
				processRadio(".radio"+i);
			}
		});
		/**
			Loops through each item with same "class" name and disables/enables where appropriate
		**/
		function processRadio(class){
			var empty;
			var id = "";
			var buttons = $(class); // read all buttons with the specified class name into a jQuery object
			buttons.each(function(){ // loop through each item
				var me = $(this);
				var isSelected = me.attr("selected"); // bool value, based on whether the "selected" attribute is present or not
				me.removeAttr("disabled"); // clear the disabled attribute if present
				me.siblings("label").removeClass("disabled"); // same with the associated label element
				if (isSelected != empty && isSelected != ""){
					id = $(this).attr("id"); // set our tmp id var to our currently selected item
				}
			});
			// make sure we have an id, otherwise we'll get an error
			if (id != empty && id != ""){
				buttons.each(function(){ // loop through each radio button once again
					if ($(this).attr("id") != id){ // set the disabled attributes if id attribute doesn't match our tmp id var
						$(this).attr("disabled", "disabled").siblings("label").addClass("disabled");
					}
				});
			}
		}

	});

I’ve commented as best I could, which hopefully makes more sense than my rambling above. Once again, there is a working demo available for you to play with. Be sure to have a look at the markup as well, might clear up a few questions.

I strongly suspect that there’s a more efficient method for achieving the same result – so if you have a better suggestion, tweak or link please let me know – I’d greatly appreciate it.

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  1. November 18, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    nice job,but do you think it’s really need ?

    • November 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm

      Well, it is rather unusual, and the use cases are rather limited. However, I was asked to implement this for a questionnaire on an existing site, so yes – someone needed it.

      • November 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm

        i see.

        i ask it, because in asp.net we have a “RadioButtonList” and they work fine.I always use that and then use jQuery for advanced tasks…

        thanks for sharing Calisza 😉

  2. Erik
    February 10, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    This is great. I can see using it for a survey where you need the user to rate a list of items in priority between 1 and 4

  3. kachi
    March 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    the ‘reset button’ doesn’t seem to disable the whole radio buttons

    • March 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      @kachi, thanks for the comment – that’s correct – I didn’t add any code for the reset button. It’ll perform whatever the default behaviour is for the browser you’re using.

      Adding some code for the reset button is really straight-forward and I didn’t feel it was necessary to point out at the time of writing the post.

  4. Marcus
    July 2, 2012 at 9:07 am

    why not create radio buttons with a group name? just saying, would solve most of ur problems way easier

  1. November 18, 2009 at 6:32 pm

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