TJ VanToll

Using jQuery UI's Slider to Polyfill HTML5's input[type=range]

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jQuery UI’s slider plugin looks and behaves much like the browser’s native input[type=range] control; therefore it makes an excellent choice for polyfilling the native behavior.

How to do it

The main issue is that the slider must be built on a block level node, not an <input>. Therefore you must create another container node (in this case a <div>) to create the slider from then hide the original <input>.

Here’s the script that I used.

$(function() {
    //Determine whether the browser natively supports input[type=range].
    //If you're using Modernizr this is equivalent to Modernizr.inputtypes.range
    var input = document.createElement('input');
    input.setAttribute('type', 'range');
    var rangeSupport = input.type != 'text';
    if (!rangeSupport) {
        var $input, $slider;
        $('input[type=range]').each(function(index, input) {
            $input = $(input);
            //Create a new div, turn it into a slider, and set its attributes based on
            //the attributes of the input.  If the input doesn't possess those attributes
            //use jQuery UI's defaults.
            $slider = $('<div />').slider({
                min: parseInt($input.attr('min'), 10) || 0,
                max: parseInt($input.attr('max'), 10) || 100,
                value: parseInt($input.attr('value'), 10) || 0,
                step: parseInt($input.attr('step'), 10) || 1,
                slide: function(event, ui) {
                    //Keep the value of the input[type=range] in sync with the slider.

            //Append the slider after the input and hide the input.  The user will only
            //interact with the slider.


This approach handles the most common use cases but it isn’t perfect. For example, if you want to disable the <input type="range"> you’ll have to disable the slider as well.

There is a feature request to add support for this natively in the slider plugin itself, but it’s been sitting inactive for quite some time now. Hopefully over time input[type=range] support will become ubiquitous enough that we can drop these workarounds.