Show and hide content on click with just HTML

Part of the Series:

Multiple elements were introduced in HTML5 that are not yet widely known; one of them allows you to create interactive experiences such as accordions or dropdowns, the name of this element is <details>.

Toggling content visually with just HTML

I recently wrote an article on how to create an onclick toggler without using javascript by leveraging the powerful CSS :target selector, but that is not the only/best way to achieve this.

The <details> element allows us to implement a disclosure widget that hides and shows information depending on its boolean state open. This allows us to toggle content interactively and natively:

<details class="details-example">
    <summary>If you click me I will display a list of content</summary>
    <ul>
        <li>Option 1</li>
        <li>Option 2</li>
        <li>Option 3</li>
    </ul>
</details>

Demo

If you click me I will display a list of content
  • Option 1
  • Option 2
  • Option 3

As you can see, the <summary> shows up, and when clicking it, we are showing the rest of the information (the list of options).

We are able to achieve this with just HTML, I am adding some CSS to style the dropdown but only styles.

Extra tip (Javascript integration)

You can also execute complementary javascript when the open state of the details element changes, we can do that like this:

const detailsElement = document.querySelector('.details-example');

detailsElement.addEventListener('toggle', event => {
    if (event.target.open) {
        console.log('open');
    } else {
        console.log('closed');
    }
});

Very simple yet powerful feature, some of its more notorious applications are for accordions, dropdowns and toggling visual content in general. Companies such as github use it for their menus and interactions, hopefully now you will also be able to delete some javascript in your code base and use a native HTML element instead.

If you want to read more about this element, MDN has a pretty good explanation about the topic.

Hope it was useful, see you guys in the next one.

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