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HTML can do that?

ananyaneogi profile image Ananya Neogi ・2 min read

After witnessing some awesome things CSS can do, it's time for HTML to come in the same spotlight!

It's amazing that you can do so much with just HTML.

1. Dropdown with searchable text

2. Dialog box

3. Measuring progress

Styling this is not an easy task, I agree! But there's always some workaround and it's nicely explained here - How to style progress element

4. Expand/collapse details

5. Show correct mobile keypad based on input type

6. Add a simple colour picker

7. Highlight text

8. Create a direct phone number link

Similar to email link with mailto we can also create a direct phone number link.

<a href="tel:+917272727272">+91-7272727272</a>

9. Show deletion and insertion of text

10. Edit page contents

Wish to make your own browser editor? You can do that too - How to make browser editor with html.

Note: Not all browsers have implemented these elements and attributes. But we can still use these today with progressive enhancements! 🙂

HTML is the foundation of any webpage, it's only wise to pay real good attention to it. Semantic markup not only helps in SEO but also helps in accessibility.

If you've come across any such cool thing HTML is capable of, please mention below 😀

In other news, I made a silly project : https://hp-ipsum.netlify.com

Follow me on twitter @_ananyaneogi to get more tidbits 😊

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Yeah, but given no additional Javascript it's still pretty cool.


You can make dropdowns chase you without Javascript?! Count me impressed!




Nice post, I already knew all of those except for the one about dialogues, newcomers will definitely find this useful.


Dialog only works in Chrome based browsers. Firefox doesn't support it without enabling an option.

Seems to work fine for me on 67.0.4


On mobile Safari 1,2 and 6 is not working 😕


Yeah, the Dropdown can do that. :P


If you've come across any such cool thing HTML is capable of, please mention below 😀

My preferred one. On desktop:

rendering of date picker in FF

On mobile:

rendering on Safari on iPhone

Source code:

<h1>Date picker</h1>

<label>Choose a date: <input type="date"></label>

Unfortunately, it only looks this good in Firefox. Also doesn't seem to handle foreign localizations well, as is the case with Portuguese:


Also doesn't seem to handle foreign localizations well, as is the case with Portuguese

It works fine for me for the few languages I’ve tested. That seems particular to your locale. You should report the bug here: bugzilla.mozilla.org


The problem is it is still not supported by Safari and some other browsers...


I’ve struggled to find a date time picker of my material ui react application. It’s best native (built-in) input methods for portability and simplicity


Nice, the datalist is one I'll have to definitely look at. The frontend team at my job is building out a new set of components for our apps, including various dropdown/filterable elements. Same with details.


I was thinking the same, although you'd still need some kind of JavaScript fallback for older browsers, even for the datalist one. Safari for example is supporting that since 12.1. (macOS) and 12.2. (iOS) only.


thankfully we only have to support latest FF, Chrome, and soon Edge. i'm ok with that.


I found this when trying to make a searchable drop-down, and it's almost perfect except I couldn't make it show all options when it first recieves focus. So annoying.


if you were trying in firefox i think there's a known issue around that. caniuse.com may have some info on that


Great post, shame some of these features are not supported on major browsers.
Don't forget to visit caniuse.com/ before attempting to implement one of these features.


This post is magical, thank you!! 😭


But we can still use these today with progressive enhancements! 🙂

... but only after you have carefully tested nonsupporting browsers. ⚠️

The “dialog” example looks very bad on latest stable Safari (12.1):

(dialog mixed over content)

but that can be fixed with proper CSS (although I’ve tested it only superficially):

dialog {
    background: white;
    border: medium solid black;
    padding: 1em;
dialog:not([open]) {
      display: none !important;

At this point, I would still test IE and Edge before using it.


There's a polyfill for those, although Edge will arguably gain support as soon as it switches to Chromium.


In regards to your "silly project" I too have something similar. When I type potteripsum on my keyboard, it spits out

Leviosa protego arania quietus ennervate lumos morsmordre serpensortia protego nox scourgify. Aparecium petrificus oblivious serpensortia arania portus wingardium ennervate. Imperturbable apparate pepperup totalus petrificus riddikulus. Jinx homorphus finite legilimens hover. Impedimenta serpensortia mobilicorpus nox totalus imperio peskipiksi mortis momentum. Expecto mobilarbus protego locomotor nox apparate aresto mobilicorpus. Totalus colloportus alohomora patronum funnunculus ennervate petrificus engorgio legilimens babbling.
Immobilus protego peskipiksi totalus stupefy totalus densaugeo incarcerous confundus. Impedimenta ennervate sonorus incendio impedimenta aparecium evanesca aparecium locomotor wingardium. Alohomora aparecium amortentia ennervate mobilicorpus patronum. Momentum immobulus mortis protean flagrate. Serpensortia impedimenta leviosa avis tarantallegra orchideous protego.
Aresto petrificus imperius aparecium immobilus concealment.

Nice collection of HTML functionality!


I learned about datalist 1-2 years ago and it still blows my mind. I think it comes from many horrible years of fudging it with JS

Great post


Not sure if I'll ever encounter a use case for it, but deletion and insertion are pretty rad, didn't know that thing exists. 👍

However, I'd suggest adding text-decoration-skip-ink: none to the <ins> CSS, otherwise macOS font rendering will butcher some of the wavy underlines:

Screenshot of wavy underline below the word "begin", the underline is interrupted by the rather wide "g" glyph which looks inappropriate


That's a great point! I've updated the demo with text-decoration-skip-ink: none 🙂


And virtually none of these are supported by ie. When will that crap of a browser just go away?


With 5% worldwide market share (around 2% decrease since last year) and not getting any real updates for around 6 years, you might as well just show "upgrade your browser" page to the elderly people still using IE.


In my experience, it's not elderly people, it's corporations with locked down machines, which is why we'll probably need to wait a long time before it goes away entirely.


yeah, but you (well at least our company) has to code around these "elderly people" still using IE.


IE is moving to Chromium soon, so it will quickly get back in sync with modern browsers.


but there is (as far as I know) no mandate to force users to stop using current versions of IE. Heck, there are still companies using Windows 7. We'll see a small, but very vocal ie user base that refuse to give up this piece of trash for a long time yet.
Unless a company can take a stand that they will no longer support it (which I have proposed to my management), it will continue to be a thorn in our side for a long time.


Well, the dialog box will not work without JS, so it can't be considered pure HTML solution.

On the other hand, combining checkbox with some CSS, the same behavior can be implemented without JS at all.


I love this series of posts, they're really helpful. I shared this one on Twitter before even realizing it mentioned my work on a contenteditable browser editor. Haha, that was a nice surprise. Thanks for sharing with us!


Your browser editor post was really cool! 🙂


If you've come across any such cool thing HTML is capable of, please mention below 😀

<input type="time"/>

Makes entering time values consistent and also easier on mobile.

I built a polyfill for it as well so that there is no reason not to use it 😁


Definitely didn't know about datalist, thanks!!


Dropdown is awesome.
How to handle dropdown with different data between value and text?
example :

<option value="GB">United Kingdom</option>
<option value="US">United States</option>
<option value="UM">United States Minor Outlying Islands</option>
<option value="UY">Uruguay</option>


Is it fair to say that HTML can do dialogs? It's not only that there's JS involved. It's that you still have to position it. There is semantics value for accessibility though.


You don't need css to actually make it work. Yes, JS is required to put the attribute but I think it's fair to say that html is doing all of the heavy lifting!


JS is NOT required for making dialogs! It is possible to make them in pure CSS:



What about the positioning? I think overlapping everything in the page is a key feature of a dialog, and I see there is positioning in the CSS.


Nice, I like the lightweight approach. However, there are certain limitations to the HTML-native components. As has already been pointed out, the dropdown doesn't play well with scrolling. If you use a HTML , then you have little control over the look of the dropdown in CSS. It's all about those small things... I believe browsers could do a better job with the native components and their HTML integration. Currently, web devs build the most absurd constructions to achieve things like a dropdown menu, and run into the weirdest corner cases with focus handling, overlay anchoring etc.


This is awesome! I've used the details element on a project we've worked on recently, we've ended up not using JS for anything because it wasn't needed and applying this element contributed towards this outcome. 😄


So many people talk about super power of web component. And look at this default elements. This is something sad, because lots of this elements is implement badly.

Datapicker? - has broken layout and design, there is no usefull attributes
Dialog - not woking in every browser, there is no usefull attributes
Dropdown - UX sux. I choose one element and when i open list another time, i will see only this element. No atributes for change this behavior


I love the mobile keypads. That is such a great feature. I judge sites that don't use that correctly.


Weird stuff... caniuse says no FF, but MDN says it's been there since 53. Unless there's more than one meaning of dialog. They both say no IE/Edge/Safari though.

Edit... nevermind, it's behind a flag in FF, but MDN shows that as green and caniuse shows it as red. TIL.


Interestingly the demo actually works fine on Firefox without polyfills and without changing any config flags.


Nice article! I think, that it misses an important technique, that uses checkboxes and :checked selector to approximate interactive elements.

Checkboxes and radio buttons can be used to create tabs, expandable areas, dialogs and other complex interactive controls without using Javascript. They are a lot more flexible and have better cross-browser compatibility than "dialog" and "summary".


Cool. Didn't know a lot of these!


This is very interesting. I can do some implementations of these with animations using a smart combination of HTML inputs combined with CSS. I think HTML/CSS can still go beyond, there are things for which JS was not necessary anymore and yet it's the norm.

Good article :D


Your post always brightens me for an endless possibility. The things you did without JS amaze me.
Thank you for amazing posts. I'm in awe of the effort you put on the examples.


Thanks! I'm glad you find them useful 🙂


Totally unrelated but still wanna ask - where do u happen to host these apps and your own website with a domain? I see multitude of choices, is there any post about free hosting with domain vs paid ones and benefits?


Nice post. I don't knew that was possible to do the amazing dropdown with datalist html tag. Amazing!