Drupal and JavaScript

Want to use JavaScript in your Drupal site? Good news: Drupal relies heavily on JavaScript, both in core and in many popular modules.

This means that there are well-established ways both to leverage the JavaScript that’s already present and also to add additional “libraries” to extend your site further. Plus, if you want to use JavaScript to connect to some third-party site, you can probably find a module that’s already got you covered.

What Is a Drupal “Library”?

If you download a Drupal module that uses third-party JavaScript, you’ll often need to download a JavaScript “library”. Even if the code isn’t called a “library”, you’ll often be told to place it in sites/all/libraries. But what is a Drupal library? And how is it different from a module?

Learn more about a Drupal “library”.

jQuery: Using the JavaScript Superpowers That Come With Drupal

One “library” that already comes with Drupal core is called jQuery. jQuery basically gives you JavaScript superpowers, reducing many complex tasks to simple commands. Since the Drupal developers chose to use jQuery in Drupal, every Drupal site includes a copy of jQuery. (This is also the case in WordPress.)

Since Drupal’s already running jQuery with every page load, it makes sense to use jQuery commands in your own custom modules. You just need to learn a few code snippets to make this work.

Learn more about using jQuery in your Drupal modules.

Solving jQuery Version Troubles

While jQuery offers huge advantages, its inclusion in Drupal can sometimes cause problems. jQuery is under active development, and new releases come out much more frequently than new major versions of Drupal core. This means that Drupal is generally running an older version of jQuery than the newest available.


For your custom coding, this probably doesn’t matter. But some Drupal modules may require a newer version of jQuery than what ships with core. Fortunately, you can usually solve this problem with a few code snippets.

Learn more about solving jQuery version troubles in Drupal.

Third-Party Services With Drupal Modules

When you want to connect a third-party service like Google Analytics to your Drupal site, you’re often instructed to paste a JavaScript snippet into your page template. This JavaScript is essential, because it calls the service whenever your Drupal site loads a page. However, pasting in a bunch of JavaScript can lead to messiness, undocumented dependencies, and (eventually) conflict and breakage.

Plus, some services offer customization options, and these options can only be set by changing the JavaScript code.

A much cleaner solution is to write a Drupal module. The module gives you an easy interface to set options, and it also allows you to manage this JavaScript dependency as a module.

Even better, if the service is at all popular, someone else has probably already written this module! With a quick search, you can often find a clean, easy interface to your chosen service.

Learn more about checking for Drupal modules to use third-party JavaScript.

And check out this list of some excellent Drupal modules for third-party services like Google Analytics.


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