Using HTML Form Validation in Pure JavaScript

I'm a big fan of HTML form validation because it replaces JavaScript code I've been writing for nearly twenty years. Unfortunately it still isn't supported in Safari (don't get me started on Apple and their priorities when it comes to the web), but I love the idea of being able to do stuff in HTML itself. In fact, a site recently launched that demonstrates many examples of this: You Might Not Need JavaScript. If you haven't checked it out, definitely give it a read. It is a great example of how HTML, and CSS, can replace JavaScript snippets we've used over the years.

So given all of that, this morning I thought of something that was exactly the opposite of moving from JavaScript to HTML. Can we use HTML-based form validation in a purely JavaScript form? Turns out you can (again, if the browser itself supports it). Given that you can dynamically create DOM items via createElement, could you use that to add easy email validation in JavaScript? Looks like you can:

var element = document.createElement('input');
element.value = '';

All this snippet does is create a virtual input element, set the type to email, and then sets a particular value. It then simply outputs the valid state. You can rewrite this into a simple function:

var elm;
function isValidEmail(s) {
  if(!elm) {
    elm = document.createElement('input');
    elm.setAttribute('type', 'email');
  elm.value = s;
  return elm.validity.valid;


I don't like the fact that I set a global variable, but I thought it was a nice way to cache the DOM element. If this were wrapped up in a module then I'd store it local to that.

So again, it won't work in non-supported browsers, but it sure as heck is pretty simple, right? You could also use this to validate a URL and other values. Any comments on this approach?

You can run a JSBin of it here:,console

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