Add Search to a Static Site Using Custom Data Attributes

Posted on  • tagged with #javascript#eleventy

Creating search functionality for a static site isn't always easy. Luckily, using custom data attributes and a bit of JavaScript. You can filter blog posts by comparing the search input to post titles and visually hide posts that don't match the search query.

The blog post titles will be stored in a custom data attribute data-post-title to be compared with the user input from the search bar. Using the input event, we can compare the <input> elements value with blog post titles in the data attribute everytime the search bar changes.

This way the user input inside the search bar (ie search query) will be checked against each blog post title for every character that is added or removed to the search. The "dynamic" search feel is made possible thanks to the input event. Below is the HTML for creating a search bar <input> and corresponding <label>.

Filename: index.html
<label for="search-bar">Search the Blog</label>
<input id="search-bar" type="text" name="search" placeholder="Search...">
<!-- Blog post -->
<article class="post" data-post-title="Blog Post">..</article>

Blog post titles in the data attribute data-post-title can be accessed from the DOM via HTMLElement.dataset.postTitle. After checking the query against post titles, we can then visually hide the posts with titles not matching the search query. I'm using a sr-only class and aria-hidden="true" attribute to visually hide non-matching posts from the document and accessibility API.

Filename: style.css
.sr-only {
clip: rect(0 0 0 0);
clip-path: inset(50%);
height: 1px;
overflow: hidden;
position: absolute;
white-space: nowrap;
width: 1px;
}

Note: Using a service like Algolia will provide a more rich search functionality with all the bells and whistles. But if your search needs are minimal (like mine) this implementation could work great for you.

Creating the Search

First, we need a client-side script search.js to grab all the blog posts from the document and store them in the variable posts. You can do this by using the getElementsByClassName method of the Document interface, which returns a live HTMLCollection.

You can now iterate over the items in the posts collection and compare the search query with each data attribute, data-post-title="Some blog post".

If a post title matches the consecutive characters entered into the <input> element then visually hide the non-matching posts by adding the .sr-only class. Since the input event fires everytime the search bar text changes, we can compare the query with post titles for each change to the search input.

I'm using an Eleventy Collection to loop over all the posts in my blog and generate <article> elements. If you're not using a templating language or Eleventy, feel free to omit the Nunjucks {% for %} loop.

Here is the full code snippet for adding search functionality to your static site.

Filename: index.html
<ul class="my-posts">
{% for post in collections.posts | reverse %}
<li>
<article class="post" data-post-title="{{ post.data.title }}">
<h2><a href="{{ post.url }}">{{ post.data.title }}</a></h2>
<p>Some preview text</p>
</article>
</li>
{% endfor %}
</ul>
Filename: search.js
// grab blog posts and convert HTMLCollection to Array with the spread operator
const posts = [...document.getElementsByClassName("post")];
const searchBar = document.getElementById("#search-bar");

function getInput(e) {
return e.target.value;
}

searchBar.addEventListener("input", (e) => {
let userInput = getInput(e);
let searchQuery = [];

searchQuery.push(userInput.toLowerCase());

const matchingPost = posts.filter(post => {
return post.dataset.postTitle.toLowerCase().includes(searchQuery);
});

const nonMatchingPost = posts.filter(post => {
return !post.dataset.postTitle.toLowerCase().includes(searchQuery);
});

// if there is a matching post then visually hide non-matching posts
if (matchingPost) {
nonMatchingPost.forEach(post => {
post.classList.add("sr-only");
post.setAttribute("aria-hidden", "true");
});
}

/* if the matching post is hidden from a previous query
and matches search query, show it */

matchingPost.forEach(post => {
if (post.classList.value.includes("sr-only")) {
post.classList.remove("sr-only");
post.removeAttribute("aria-hidden");
}
});
});

Conclusion

I'm using this functionality for my websites search feature if you wanna see it in action. I would like to improve upon this by adding more data attributes to allow the search query to compare text in the blog posts preview or other data. Potentially introducing weights for search queries where if the title and preview text both contain a match, then the logic will place title matches higher than preview text. Stay tuned!