Placeholder Attribute Support in ALL browsers

Included along with jQuery, the following code allows you to include the HTML5 placeholder attribute work in older browsers. The idea is to find all the input elements that have a placeholder attribute that the browser is ignoring since it doesn’t understand. Check to see if the input value is empty. If it is empty, include the placeholder value temporarily as the value (preferably making it look like a placeholder). If the user focuses on the input, clear the placeholder value, which is the default behavior in browsers that support the placeholder value. When the user exits the input box, the script checks to see if there is a value. If not, reinstate the value of the placeholder.

The second script is for when the user submits the form: we want to make sure that the form is not alwasy submitting the placeholder value. The main issue with this function is that the user cannot actually enter data that matches the placeholder, so, if you’re going to use this function, make sure that the placeholder value is not one that a user would intentionally submit. For example, use ‘first name’ and ‘last name’ for names, rather than ‘john’ and ‘doe’. Use ‘phone number’ or ‘415.555.1212’ for phone numbers, and other implausible values, etc.

  //make HTML5 placeholders work in non supportive browsers
  $("input[placeholder]").each(function(){
    if($(this).val()==""){
     // $(this).addClass('hasplaceholder');
      $(this).val($(this).attr("placeholder"));
      $(this).focus(function(){
        if($(this).val()==$(this).attr("placeholder")) $(this).val("");
       // $(this).removeClass('hasplaceholder');
      });
      $(this).blur(function(){
        if($(this).val()==""){
	  // $(this).addClass('hasplaceholder');
           $(this).val($(this).attr("placeholder"));
        }
       });
    }
  });

$('form').submit(function(evt){
	$('input[placeholder]').each(function(){
		if($(this).attr("placeholder") == $(this).val()) {$(this).val('');}
	});
});

Here are the lines explained:

Finds and iterates thru each input with a placeholder attribute:
$("input[placeholder]").each(function(){

Checks to see if the value is empty
if($(this).val()==""){

Commented out, you can add this line to add a class to the inputs that currently don’t have a value, so you can stylize them to look like placeholders (in other words, change the color to light grey using CSS):
// $(this).addClass('hasplaceholder');

Find the value of the placeholder attribute and sets it as the value of the value attribute
$(this).val($(this).attr("placeholder"));

Create an onFocus event handler
$(this).focus(function(){

When focused, checks to see if the current value matches the value of the placeholder. If so, it clears the placholder
if($(this).val()==$(this).attr("placeholder")) $(this).val("");

If you included the class to stylize the placeholder look and feel, remove it when the user is focusing on this input
// $(this).removeClass('hasplaceholder');

Close out the onFocus event handler
});

Create an onBlur event handler for when the user exits the input box
$(this).blur(function(){

Check to see if the input box is empty (the user has NOT entered any data)
if($(this).val()==""){

If the value is empty, we’re going to not just put the placeholder in, we should also include a class to be able to stylize it as a placeholder would look:
// $(this).addClass('hasplaceholder');

Put the value of the placeholder in the value — as we did on page load above.
$(this).val($(this).attr("placeholder"));

Close out all the set up stuff
}
});
}
});

We also need to ensure that the element has a legitimate value when the form is sumbitted:

We create an onSubmit event handler:
$('form').submit(function(evt){

We go thru all the inputs that have the placeholder attribute:
$('input[placeholder]').each(function(){

If the current value matches the placeholder value, we clear it before sumbitting:
if($(this).attr("placeholder") == $(this).val()) {$(this).val('');}

We close out the function:
});
});

Note that if the element is ‘required’, the submit function would be different and we would test to see if the browser supports the placeholder attribute before doing any of this, but i am just providing a small snippet to show how easy (and possible) it is to make older browsers support HTML5 form features.

HTML5 Input Attributes & Browser Support

I have updated the HTML5 Web Form Browser support grid to include the various input attributes, for what input type each is relevant, and which browsers support each attribute for each type.

TYPE ⇒

Attribute

Text, search, url, tel Email Password Dateandtime
Date,
Month,
Week,
Time
Dateandtime-local,
number
range color Checkbox, radio file
accept WK, O,
FF, IE
autocomplete O O O O O O O
autofocus WK, O WK, O WK,O WK, O WK, O WK, O WK, O WK, O
checked WK, O,
FF, IE
disabled WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
Form O O O O O O O O
list WK, O WK, O WK, O WK, O WK, O WK, O
max O, WK O, WK O, WK
maxlength WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
min O, WK O, WK O, WK
multiple FF, WK, IE FF, WK
Name WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O, FF, IE WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
pattern WK, O WK, O WK, O
placeholder WK WK WK
readonly WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
required WK, O WK, O WK, O WK, O WK, O WK, O WK, O
size WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
step O, WK O, WK O, WK
checked WK, O,
FF, IE
value WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O, FF, IE WK, O,
FF, IE
WK, O,
FF, IE
  • WK = Webkit (tested Safari 5)
  • O = Opera (10.5 on Mac)
  • FF = Firefox (3.6.3 on Mac)
  • IE = Internet Explorer (IE8 on XP)

Browsers that don’t support the type attribute may still support other attributes in the input as the browser may support attributes on the text input type (such as maxlength or size), and will therefore support those attributes on a type it doesn’t support, as the input will default to text type. For example, while IE and FF don’t currently support the email type, they do support the multiple attribute on that type, since they will accept a text type including space separated email addresses.

Resources for this effort include: