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Setting form autofocus

From: HTML5 First Look

Video: Setting form autofocus

In the past, we would often turn to JavaScript to help us control a form's behavior. While this is functional, it would be nice if there were easier ways to control basic form functionality. In HTML5, many common form behaviors have been formalized into the form elements themselves, eliminating the need for external script controls. Let's take a quick look at one of those by setting our form's autofocus. I'm going to scroll down to our form. It looks just like we left it in the last exercise. Notice that we have our email and our URL input type.

Setting form autofocus

In the past, we would often turn to JavaScript to help us control a form's behavior. While this is functional, it would be nice if there were easier ways to control basic form functionality. In HTML5, many common form behaviors have been formalized into the form elements themselves, eliminating the need for external script controls. Let's take a quick look at one of those by setting our form's autofocus. I'm going to scroll down to our form. It looks just like we left it in the last exercise. Notice that we have our email and our URL input type.

So, we are good there, but one of the things I'd like to do is go ahead and set the autofocus for the form, so that the user doesn't have to click into the form in order to use it. This probably isn't the best form to show that behavior, because this form is towards the bottom of the page, but at least this illustrates how easy it is to do that. So, we want our first form element to have the initial focus of the user, so that they could just begin typing, and that would be trail name. So, I'm going to find that input. It's on right here on line 84. What I'm going to do is I'm just going to place my cursor right here at the very last property, tabindex=10, hitting my Spacebar, and one of the things I see right off the bat is autocomplete and autofocus.

So, those are two attributes that are going to allow us to extend the functionality of certain form elements, by either enabling autocomplete if the device supports that, or in this case autofocus. So, I'm just going to say autofocus. Now, you'll notice that that has an option of having the Boolean value of true or false, but you really don't need to do that. You can turn autofocus off that way certainly, but I'm going to go ahead and just leave it as saying autofocus. We don't have to go in and explicitly say true value. If the autofocus property is found, it's just assumed to be true.

So, I'm going to go ahead and save this. I want to test this in a few browsers, so you can see who supports this functionality and who doesn't. So, the first thing I'm going to do is go ahead and test this in Opera. As soon as I test it in Opera, notice that it jumps right to that form element, the field is focused, and it's ready for input. Again, not the best solution because this particular form is so far down the page, but it shows you how easy it is to do that. I'm going to test it in Chrome now, and in Chrome notice we get a similar behavior and down at the bottom of the page, the form element is already entered into and ready to be filled out.

So Chrome supports this as well. Testing in Safari gives us a similar result. In Safari, we're already down the page, and the form is ready to be filled out. So, autofocus is supported in Safari. Finally, when I test this in Firefox, you'll notice that Firefox does not support autofocus. So, Firefox users would need to manually click into the form. So, not all forms need autofocus. This one probably doesn't. You should be aware that some browsers will scroll down through the page and show these autofocused elements if they're towards the bottom of the page, just like the behavior that we saw here.

But for times when it's appropriate, being able to set autofocus through a single attribute is a welcome change from what we've had to do in the past.

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This video is part of

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HTML5 First Look

50 video lessons · 73824 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 3m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 50s
    3. Who is this course for?
      1m 5s
  2. 21m 12s
    1. Exploring prior standards
      4m 26s
    2. Why do we need HTML5?
      3m 32s
    3. HTML5 timeline
      4m 24s
    4. Current HTML5 support
      4m 25s
    5. What HTML5 is (and what it isn't)
      4m 25s
  3. 27m 49s
    1. HTML5 vs. HTML4
      3m 25s
    2. New structural tags
      6m 1s
    3. New content tags
      4m 7s
    4. New application-focused tags
      5m 32s
    5. Deprecated elements
      4m 28s
    6. API overview
      4m 16s
  4. 22m 29s
    1. Content models
      5m 33s
    2. Understanding the outline algorithm
      3m 21s
    3. The role of ‹div› tags
      4m 20s
    4. Using ID and class attributes
      2m 6s
    5. DOCTYPE declarations
      4m 16s
    6. Character encoding
      2m 53s
  5. 41m 27s
    1. Basic page structure
      3m 40s
    2. Structuring top-level elements
      7m 30s
    3. Structuring interior content
      8m 42s
    4. Building headers
      9m 11s
    5. Checking document outlines
      5m 46s
    6. Ensuring cross-browser structure
      6m 38s
  6. 27m 53s
    1. New input types
      5m 57s
    2. Setting form autofocus
      2m 53s
    3. Using placeholder data
      4m 4s
    4. Marking required fields
      3m 24s
    5. Working with number inputs
      5m 49s
    6. Using date pickers
      5m 46s
  7. 1h 1m
    1. Canvas overview
      6m 21s
    2. Adding canvas content
      8m 58s
    3. Drawing in the canvas environment
      12m 9s
    4. Drag-and-drop API overview
      6m 18s
    5. Offline applications overview
      7m 11s
    6. Video overview
      5m 45s
    7. Encoding video
      8m 23s
    8. Adding video
      5m 58s
  8. 57m 33s
    1. Geolocation API overview
      5m 50s
    2. Web storage API overview
      5m 40s
    3. WebSockets overview
      4m 16s
    4. CSS3 overview
      6m 38s
    5. Enhancing typography with CSS3
      7m 42s
    6. Using @font-face
      7m 11s
    7. Styling HTML5 with CSS3
      10m 23s
    8. Using CSS3 transitions
      9m 53s
  9. 5m 6s
    1. Final thoughts
      3m 49s
    2. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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