Which “href” value should I use for JavaScript links, “#” or “javascript:void(0)”?

Which “href” value should I use for JavaScript links, “#” or “javascript:void(0)”?

The following are two methods of building a link that has the sole purpose of running JavaScript code. Which is better, in terms of functionality, page load speed, validation purposes, etc.?

function myJsFunc() {
alert(“myJsFunc”);
}
Run JavaScript Code

or

function myJsFunc() {
alert(“myJsFunc”);
}
Run JavaScript Code

Solutions/Answers:

Solution 1:

I use javascript:void(0).

Three reasons. Encouraging the use of # amongst a team of developers inevitably leads to some using the return value of the function called like this:

function doSomething() {
    //Some code
    return false;
}

But then they forget to use return doSomething() in the onclick and just use doSomething().

A second reason for avoiding # is that the final return false; will not execute if the called function throws an error. Hence the developers have to also remember to handle any error appropriately in the called function.

A third reason is that there are cases where the onclick event property is assigned dynamically. I prefer to be able to call a function or assign it dynamically without having to code the function specifically for one method of attachment or another. Hence my onclick (or on anything) in HTML markup look like this:

onclick="someFunc.call(this)"

OR

onclick="someFunc.apply(this, arguments)"

Using javascript:void(0) avoids all of the above headaches, and I haven’t found any examples of a downside.

So if you’re a lone developer then you can clearly make your own choice, but if you work as a team you have to either state:

Use href="#", make sure onclick always contains return false; at the end, that any called function does not throw an error and if you attach a function dynamically to the onclick property make sure that as well as not throwing an error it returns false.

OR

Use href="javascript:void(0)"

The second is clearly much easier to communicate.

Solution 2:

Neither.

If you can have an actual URL that makes sense use that as the HREF. The onclick won’t fire if someone middle-clicks on your link to open a new tab or if they have JavaScript disabled.

If that is not possible, then you should at least inject the anchor tag into the document with JavaScript and the appropriate click event handlers.

I realize this isn’t always possible, but in my opinion it should be striven for in developing any public website.

Check out Unobtrusive JavaScript and Progressive enhancement (both Wikipedia).

Solution 3:

Doing <a href="#" onclick="myJsFunc();">Link</a> or <a href="javascript:void(0)" onclick="myJsFunc();">Link</a> or whatever else that contains an onclick attribute – was okay back five years ago, though now it can be a bad practice. Here’s why:

  1. It promotes the practice of obtrusive JavaScript – which has turned out to be difficult to maintain and difficult to scale. More on this in Unobtrusive JavaScript.

  2. You’re spending your time writing incredibly overly verbose code – which has very little (if any) benefit to your codebase.

  3. There are now better, easier, and more maintainable and scalable ways of accomplishing the desired result.

The unobtrusive JavaScript way

Just don’t have a href attribute at all! Any good CSS reset would take care of the missing default cursor style, so that is a non-issue. Then attach your JavaScript functionality using graceful and unobtrusive best practices – which are more maintainable as your JavaScript logic stays in JavaScript, instead of in your markup – which is essential when you start developing large scale JavaScript applications which require your logic to be split up into blackboxed components and templates. More on this in Large-scale JavaScript Application Architecture

Simple code example

// Cancel click event
$('.cancel-action').click(function(){
    alert('Cancel action occurs!');
});

// Hover shim for Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7.
$(document.body).on('hover','a',function(){
    $(this).toggleClass('hover');
});
a { cursor: pointer; color: blue; }
a:hover,a.hover { text-decoration: underline; }
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<a class="cancel-action">Cancel this action</a>

A blackboxed Backbone.js example

For a scalable, blackboxed, Backbone.js component example – see this working jsfiddle example here. Notice how we utilize unobtrusive JavaScript practices, and in a tiny amount of code have a component that can be repeated across the page multiple times without side-effects or conflicts between the different component instances. Amazing!

Notes

  • Omitting the href attribute on the a element will cause the element to not be accessible using tab key navigation. If you wish for those elements to be accessible via the tab key, you can set the tabindex attribute, or use button elements instead. You can easily style button elements to look like normal links as mentioned in Tracker1’s answer.

  • Omitting the href attribute on the a element will cause Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7 to not take on the a:hover styling, which is why we have added a simple JavaScript shim to accomplish this via a.hover instead. Which is perfectly okay, as if you don’t have a href attribute and no graceful degradation then your link won’t work anyway – and you’ll have bigger issues to worry about.

  • If you want your action to still work with JavaScript disabled, then using an a element with a href attribute that goes to some URL that will perform the action manually instead of via an Ajax request or whatever should be the way to go. If you are doing this, then you want to ensure you do an event.preventDefault() on your click call to make sure when the button is clicked it does not follow the link. This option is called graceful degradation.

Solution 4:

'#' will take the user back to the top of the page, so I usually go with void(0).

javascript:; also behaves like javascript:void(0);

Solution 5:

I would honestly suggest neither. I would use a stylized <button></button> for that behavior.

button.link {
  display: inline-block;
  position: relative;
  background-color: transparent;
  cursor: pointer;
  border: 0;
  padding: 0;
  color: #00f;
  text-decoration: underline;
  font: inherit;
}
<p>A button that looks like a <button type="button" class="link">link</button>.</p>

This way you can assign your onclick. I also suggest binding via script, not using the onclick attribute on the element tag. The only gotcha is the psuedo 3d text effect in older IEs that cannot be disabled.


If you MUST use an A element, use javascript:void(0); for reasons already mentioned.

  • Will always intercept in case your onclick event fails.
  • Will not have errant load calls happen, or trigger other events based on a hash change
  • The hash tag can cause unexpected behavior if the click falls through (onclick throws), avoid it unless it’s an appropriate fall-through behavior, and you want to change the navigation history.

NOTE: You can replace the 0 with a string such as javascript:void('Delete record 123') which can serve as an extra indicator that will show what the click will actually do.

Solution 6:

The first one, ideally with a real link to follow in case the user has JavaScript disabled. Just make sure to return false to prevent the click event from firing if the JavaScript executes.

<a href="#" onclick="myJsFunc(); return false;">Link</a>

If you use Angular2, this way works:

<a [routerLink]="" (click)="passTheSalt()">Click me</a>.

See here https://stackoverflow.com/a/45465728/2803344