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Creating a textarea character limit indicator

sahra πŸ’« on April 05, 2024

Introduction Textareas are an essential tool of the web, allowing applications to collect additional information from users. This helps ...
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marissab profile image
Marissa B

This was very clear, clever, and simple! It's one of those form quirks that we've all seen at some point but not all of us have implemented. I like that the text warning pops up towards the end to help with accessibility too.

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sarahokolo profile image
sahra πŸ’«

Thank youu :)

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thomasbnt profile image
Thomas Bnt β˜•

Your post is constructive and very clear, thanks ! πŸ™Œ

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sarahokolo profile image
sahra πŸ’«

Thank you πŸ™‚

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steeve profile image
Steeve

Thanks for the tutorial, I'll try to implement it into a small personnal project

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sarahokolo profile image
sahra πŸ’«

You're welcome :) Awesome

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keyurparalkar profile image
Keyur Paralkar

Nice article πŸš€

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sarahokolo profile image
sahra πŸ’«

Thank you :)

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cetinogut profile image
Cetin OGUT

very good and helpful, thanks.

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madempavankumar profile image
Madem Pavan Kumar

It's super cool

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sarahokolo profile image
sahra πŸ’«

Thank you :) :)

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nyangweso profile image
Rodgers Nyangweso

awesome

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sarahokolo profile image
sahra πŸ’«

Thankss :)

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gezd profile image
G

That was really well explained, thank you.
My site has a couple of text areas so i ended up adding a for loop to the javascript which detected all text areas and looped though them. Seems to work OK.
Let me know if you would like me to post the extended code.

Cheers

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sarahokolo profile image
sahra πŸ’«

That's a great workaround πŸ‘, and sure you can post the extended code

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gezd profile image
G • Edited

Sure thing. Now i will start by saying I am still very new to all this. But here goes.

Here is the HTML for the textareas:

//Text area 1
<label for="textArea1" class="requiredfield">This is the text area 1 text box</label>
<textarea id="textArea1" name="textArea1" spellcheck="true" rows="4" cols="50" maxlength="500"></textarea>
<div id="progress-textArea1">
    <div id="progress-bar-textArea1"></div>
    <p id="remaining-chars-textArea1"></p>
</div>

...

//Text area 2
<label for="textArea2" class="requiredfield">This is the text area 2 text box</label>
<textarea id="textArea2" name="textArea2" spellcheck="true" rows="4" cols="50" maxlength="500"></textarea>
<div id="progress-textArea2">
    <div id="progress-bar-textArea2"></div>
    <p id="remaining-chars-textArea2"></p>
</div>
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Here is the updated CSS:

/*This is for the textArea character counter and progress bars*/
#progress-textArea1, #progress-textArea2 {
    width: 100%;
    height: 7px;
    box-shadow: inset 1px 1px 2px #ccc;
    border: 1px solid #bbb;
    border-radius: 15px;
  }

  #progress-bar-textArea1, #progress-bar-textArea2 {
    height: 100%;
  }

  #remaining-chars-textArea1, #remaining-chars-textArea2 {
    font-size: 11px;
    color: #b62020;
    margin-top: 3px;
    float: right;
    display: none;
  }
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And here is the updated Javascript:

/*
This section relates to the textArea character counter and progress bar
It loops through all textarea elements and processes each within the for loop.
This requires the progressBar IDs to be appended with the textArea field ID in the HTML and CSS
*/ 
let allTextArea = document.querySelectorAll("textarea");                
let numAllTextArea = allTextArea.length;                                

for (let i=0; i<=numAllTextArea; i++) {
    let fieldToProcess = allTextArea[i].id;                             
    let progressBarId = "progress-bar-"+fieldToProcess;                 
    let remCharsId = "remaining-chars-"+fieldToProcess;                 

    let textArea = document.getElementById(fieldToProcess);             
    let progressBar = document.getElementById(progressBarId);           
    let remChars = document.getElementById(remCharsId);                 

    function charCounter(inputField) {
        let maxLength = inputField.getAttribute("maxlength");           
        let currentLength = inputField.value.length;                      
        let progressWidth = (currentLength / maxLength) * 100;            

        progressBar.style.width = `${progressWidth}%`;                    
        remChars.style.display = "none";

        if (progressWidth <= 60) {
            progressBar.style.backgroundColor = "#00594c";
        } else if (progressWidth > 60 && progressWidth < 85) {
            progressBar.style.backgroundColor = "#ffd602";
        } else {
            progressBar.style.backgroundColor = "#b8232f";
        }
        remChars.innerHTML = `${maxLength - currentLength} characters left`;
        remChars.style.display = "block";
        }

        textArea.oninput = () => charCounter(textArea);
    }
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sarahokolo profile image
sahra πŸ’« • Edited

That's quite nice, but I do find some little issues that might arise with this approach. The first issue being that the warning text doesn't popup at the end, instead it's visible from start to finish, which doesn't look right. Also, I added two new texareas, but they didn't seem to be functional as the first two. Overall, having a function Inside a for loop like that isn't a very neat approach, makes the code unscalable and the function hard to maintain.

A cleaner and easier approach to achieve this for multiple textareas in the document is to separate the function from the for loop.

Here is my updated counter function:

const textareas = document.querySelectorAll(".txt");
const progressBars = document.querySelectorAll(".progress-bar");
const remCharsElems = document.querySelectorAll(".remaining-chars");

function charCounter(inputField, progress, warningTxt) {
  const maxLength = inputField.getAttribute("maxlength");
  const currentLength = inputField.value.length;

  const progressWidth = (currentLength / maxLength) * 100;
  progress.style.width = `${progressWidth}%`;
  warningTxt.style.display = "none";

  if (progressWidth <= 60) {
    progress.style.backgroundColor = "rgb(19, 160, 19)";
  } else if (progressWidth > 60 && progressWidth < 85) {
    progress.style.backgroundColor = "rgb(236, 157, 8)";
  } else {
    progress.style.backgroundColor = "rgb(241, 9, 9)";
    warningTxt.innerHTML = `${maxLength - currentLength} characters left`;
    warningTxt.style.display = "block";
  }
}
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This way the function logic has been separated and can be used anywhere.

Here is the forEach loop to get all the texareas in the document and apply the counter function to them.

textareas.forEach((textarea, i) => {
  textarea.oninput = () => charCounter(textarea, progressBars[i], remCharsElems[i]);
})
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Now, you can add as many texareas as you want, without needing to modify the JavaScript again.
You can check it out in the codepen below, where I added two new textareas with different maxlengths:

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koteisaev profile image
Kote Isaev - #StandWithUkraine

Interesting that progress tag still not so easy to use for this use case that fits into purpose of element only because getting it styled properly is not so easy as it should.

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sarahokolo profile image
sahra πŸ’«

I initially started with the progress tag, because I wanted to stick to semantics, but unfortunately it's styling capabilities and browser inconsistencies we're just too much of a hassle. They really should make the progress element more style flexible.

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koteisaev profile image
Kote Isaev - #StandWithUkraine

It seems that simplest way to achieve that would be adopting that webkit kind of implementation as default and wait till it will get enough distribution to be considered "widespread enough". Mozilla variant is more limited, sadly.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Nice, nice.

I would probably caution people not to do this unless there's a good reason though. It can be very frustrating to find a form which asks you to enter, say, the steps that caused the problem you've had, and to not have enough room to type it all.

In most situations, your application should accept such a large amount of text that displaying a message is irrelevant.

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sarahokolo profile image
sahra πŸ’«

Yeah, it most definitely isn't for all use cases. But It can be useful for a social media post, or when the information requested isn't allowed to be too lengthy.

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andreagelmini profile image
Andrea Gelmini

Hello, I liked your code and recently I have been dedicating myself to studying Stimulus.js. Therefore, I decided to create a version of your code for Stimulus. For convenience, I used Tailwind CSS

I hope it can be useful to someone.