jQuery.data(): underappreciated

One of the most underappreciated jQuery methods has to be .data(). It allows you to associate arbitrary named values with DOM elements. Usage is simple:

 

$("body").data("x", 1);
$("body").data("y", someObject);

 

You can store any data types and expect the same back.

 

As a web developer, I’m sure some of you have assigned arbitrary values to DOM nodes for any one of a multitude of reasons, like this:

<div class="foo1" customattribute="xyz">
<div class="foo2" customattribute="abc">

$(".foo1").attr("customattribute");
$(".foo2").attr("customattribute");

 

With .data(), you no longer have to embed oddly named attributes just to store a value to a DOM node. You can replace the above with:

 

$(".foo1").data("customattribute", "xyz");
$(".foo2").data("customattribute", "abc");
$(".foo1").data("customattribute");
$(".foo2").data("customattribute");

 

The end result is the same, but the latter gives you cleaner, valid markup.