How To Add JavaScript to HTML

As you browse the Internet, finding an HTML-only page is next to impossible. Most websites integrate JavaScript to increase interactivity, give more functional power and versatility to the page. Knowing how to introduce JS to a static page is a basic skill every front-end developer should have.

There are several ways to connect JavaScript and HTML. In this post, we’ll examine all the approaches to adding JS components to an HTML-only page.

Why Should You Introduce JavaScript?

JavaScript is the most popular front-end language according to Stack Overflow. Its impact is so huge JS is often called the language of the web. Why did millions of software developers treat JavaScript as an essential language?

Here is a sneak peek at how integrating the language into HTML code can change the look and feel of the page.

  • Adding interactivity. HTML pages are static and boring, with no animation effects. JavaScript, on the other hand, allows developers to add animations to websites and create dynamic interfaces.
  • JavaScript offers flexible loading. Being able to load data on-demand without having to reload the whole page is a huge benefit of the language, as it improves the performance of the website.
  • Introducing JavaScript improves browser support. JS is a flexible language that adapts to the functionality of the browser client the website visitor uses to browse the page. Being able to adapt to the platform is one of the fundamental concepts of the language, known as defensive scripting or the principles of unobtrusive JS. Moreover, JS can help fix the way CSS layouts are displayed in some browser clients and gives the website a uniform look.
  • JS components allow webpages to work offline. This way, web browsers can keep up with desktop software and be fully functional even when there’s no Internet access.

Having established the purpose of JavaScript, let’s take a look at the language’s benefits from a developer’s standpoint:

  • Fast integration. Introducing JavaScript to HTML is a straightforward process. In a nutshell, adding pieces of JS to the code is all it takes for all browsers to recognize scripts and dynamic components;
  • JavaScript is free to use. You don’t need a commercial license to integrate JavaScript into your files – all developers can harness the power of the language for free.

All Ways to Introduce JavaScript to HTML

There are two ways to integrate JS into a static HTML page:

  • Pasting the pieces of JavaScript code into the HTML file;
  • Creating an external file for JS editing and refer to it in the HTML code.

Let’s take a look at how to handle both, examine their respective benefits and drawbacks.

Editing the HTML file

Adding JS directly to the HTML file is nor a common way of integration – however, this one is easier for beginners to master. Also, if you want to add a lot of page-specific code, pasting it directly into the page document is more convenient than creating a separate document.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to edit your HTML document to add JS to the website:

Use <script> and </script> tags at the beginning and the end of JS code blocks.

These tags can be placed both in the <head> of the document or in the <body>. The first one is preferable when a developer wants to keep the code contained and doesn’t want JS to mix with the content of the page. The latter is used if there’s a need to run JavaScript directly on the page – in this case, a developer places the tags directly at the place where the script will be deployed. 
Here’s how the script added to the <head> of the page looks like:

<title> Here's my HTML page </title>
<script> MyScriptName.js </script>
</head>

If you want to add the code to the body of the page, the code will look like this:

<head>
<title> Here's my HTML page </title>
</head>
<body>
<script> MySciptName.js </script>
</body>
</html>

Adding a script to an HTML page takes seconds – yet, it’s enough to improve the interactivity of the code by huge numbers.

Note: Most developers don’t use direct HTML editing to embed robust scripts or those that run on multiple pages because pasting dozens of code lines into the backbone document of the page complicates maintenance and reduces code readability. If you want to implement JS into your website on a large scale, consider choosing a different approach.

Editing JavaScript in an external file

If you pay attention to the structure of most HTML pages, you will find out most of them reference multiple HTML files rather than pasting them one by one directly. This approach yields developers the following benefits:

  • Higher code readability and compactness;
  • Improved maintenance and more room for scalability;
  • Referencing a file rather than pasting it directly improves the performance of a page.

Let’s take a look at how to connect JS and HTML files. To start with, create a separate document with all JavaScript code you want to run on one or several website pages. The file should be saved in the.js format.

To reference .js code in HTML, you can either:

  • Create a JS directory to reference the code as an external asset (similar to CSS stylesheets). In this case, the code will look the following way:
project/
|- css/
I I- stylesheet_name.css
|- js/
| |- script_name.js
|- index.html
  • Insert <script src=’script.name.js’></script> within <body></body>, where the attribute in the opening tag refers to the source of the JS file.

These were the ways to integrate JS into HTML files. As an entry-level web developer, you might be wondering where you might need to use JavaScript code – here are some applications of the language:

  • Validating users’ emails and login data;
  • Displaying dynamic content – dates and such;
  • Adding auto-filling to forms and word suggestion to search tabs;
  • Updating website data in real-time without reloading the page;
  • On-page animation;
  • Ensuring the uniformity of the interface across different browser clients.

Conclusion

Integrating JavaScript into HTML files is a basic ‘Web Development 101’ skill. The embedding process is straightforward and easy to grasp, and the range of opportunities it opens is tremendous.

Mastering JavaScript and HTML convergence take some time and practice – however, in just a few weeks of creating practice projects you will be confident in the procedure and will create fully-functional, visually rich pages.

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