Accessing HTML data attributes in JavaScript with dataSet

Updated: May 27 2021

You can easily add custom data to any HTML element using custom data attributes.

Data attributes can be anything you like as long as you prefix your custom attribute with data-.

As per the MDN web docs:

“It must contain only letters, numbers, and the following characters: dash (-), dot (.), colon (:), underscore (_)—but NOT any ASCII capital letters (A to Z).”

For example, say we have multiple images and we want to add some data to label their position in a slideshow, we could create a ‘position’ attribute like this:

<img class="image-1" data-position="1" src="image-1.jpg" />
<img class="image-2" data-position="2" src="image-1.jpg" />
<img class="image-3" data-position="3" src="image-1.jpg" />

In our JavaScript we can use dataset to either get the data property or set the data property.

Dataset returns an object containing all the property values on an element.

// Get the element
const element = document.querySelector(".image-1");

// Log position of the element

In JavaScript the naming convention is converted from kebab-case to camelCase. In other words, any dashes in your attribute names will be converted to camelCase

// Get attribute called “data-first-name“

Setting a data attribute value is very similar.

// Set value to something new
element.dataset.firstName = "Harry";

The data attribute of the element would now look like this:

<div data-first-name="Harry"></div>

Summary #

Dataset is useful when you need to work with custom data attributes.

Resources #

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