JavaScript in HTML

JavaScript is a programming language commonly used in websites to perform functions that the HTML cannot do. It can be used for validating forms, detecting browsers, adding dynamic functionality, and more!

It is beyond the scope of this guide to teach you JavaScript, but below you can learn how to embed or integrate JavaScripts into your website using the <script> tag.

Embedding Scripts

External Files
Probably the most common way, and often preferred way, is to define the scripts in a separate file and link to them using the src attribute of the script tag. The type must be set to text\javascript, and optionally the language attribute set to JavaScript1.2 or the version of JavaScript required for you script.
<script type="text/javascript" src="scriptName.js"></script>
Between SCRIPT Tags
Instead of specifying a src attribute, you can write javascript between the <script> and </script> tags. The type and language attributes are still used the same as when specifying external scripts.
<script type="text/javascript">
var myVar="hello";
function showAlert() { alert('You triggered an alert!'); }
Inline in the HTML
Normally the HTML event attributes are used to call functions specified elsewhere in script tags. In rare cases you may wish to add the javascript code directly to these onClick or onMouseOver event tags, but this is not consdered good design.
<p><a href="#" onClick="alert('Hello');">Click Me</a></p>


Some html elements have event attributes, that can be used to call javascript functions when an event is triggered. There are many events available, but these are the ones you are most likely to use:

As the name suggests, the onClick attribute is executed when an element, such as a link or image, is clicked on.
Use the OnMouseOver attribute to call javascript functions that you want to run when a user moves the mouse onto and hovers over an element.
Another mouse event handler, except OnMouseOut is the opposite to OnMouseOver, and will be called when the users' mouse is moved back off an element.


The following example has two JavaScript functions defined in the header, which are activated by clicking on the links. Note that each link shows a different way of calling the function, you would only need to pick the one that suits you.

  <script type="text/javascript">
function functionOne() { alert('You clicked the top text'); }
function functionTwo() { alert('You clicked the bottom text'); }
 <p><a href="#" onClick="functionOne();">Top Text</a></p>
 <p><a href="javascript:functionTwo();">Bottom Text</a></p>

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Using inline javascript to change the CSS class of an image when rolling the mouse over it.

<style type="text/css">
 .red { border: 2px solid red; }
 .blue { border: 2px solid blue; }
<p><img name="photo" src="/examples/photo.jpg" 

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Notes & Warnings

JavaScript can be a powerfull tool when used properly, or a big mess when used incorrectly. Good scripts can make websites feel professional and easier to use. Bad scripts, or badly implemented scripts, can make a site annoying or prevent it from working alltogether. Some scripts can also be dangerous, exposing sites to script vulnerabilities and hacks. Some older browsers may not support Javascript, or have it disabled, so you may want to offer a non-script alternative.