Can I call jQuery’s click() to follow an link if I haven’t bound an event handler to it with bind or click already?

I have a timer in my JavaScript which needs to emulate clicking a link to go to another page once the time elapses. To do this I’m using jQuery’s click() function. I have used $().trigger() and window.location also, and I can make it work as intended with all three.

I’ve observed some weird behavior with click() and I’m trying to understand what happens and why.

I’m using Firefox for everything I describe in this question, but I am also interested in what other browsers will do with this.

If I have not used $('a').bind('click',fn) or $('a').click(fn) to set an event handler, then calling $('a').click() seems to do nothing at all. It does not call the browser’s default handler for this event, as the browser does not load the new page.

However, if I set an event handler first, then it works as expected, even if the event handler does nothing.

$('a').click(function(){return true;}).click();

This loads the new page as if I had clicked the a myself.

So my question is twofold: Is this weird behavior because I’m doing something wrong somewhere? and why does calling click() do nothing with the default behavior if I haven’t created a handler of my own?


As Hoffman determined when he tried to duplicate my results, the outcome I described above doesn’t actually happen. I’m not sure what caused the events I observed yesterday, but I’m certain today that it was not what I described in the question.

So the answer is that you can’t “fake” clicks in the browser and that all jQuery does is call your event handler. You can still use window.location to change page, and that works fine for me.

Answer

Interesting, this is probably a “feature request” (ie bug) for jQuery. The jQuery click event only triggers the click action (called onClick event on the DOM) on the element if you bind a jQuery event to the element. You should go to jQuery mailing lists ( http://forum.jquery.com/ ) and report this. This might be the wanted behavior, but I don’t think so.

EDIT:

I did some testing and what you said is wrong, even if you bind a function to an ‘a’ tag it still doesn’t take you to the website specified by the href attribute. Try the following code:

<html>
<head>

<script src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.3/jquery.min.js"></script>
 <script>
  $(document).ready(function() {
   /* Try to dis-comment this:
   $('#a').click(function () {
    alert('jQuery.click()');
    return true;
   });
   */
  });
  function button_onClick() {
   $('#a').click();
  }
  function a_onClick() {
   alert('a_onClick');
  }
 </script>

</head>
<body>
 <input type="button" onclick="button_onClick()">
 <br>
 <a id='a' href='http://www.google.com' onClick="a_onClick()"> aaa </a>

</body>
</html> 

It never goes to google.com unless you directly click on the link (with or without the commented code). Also notice that even if you bind the click event to the link it still doesn’t go purple once you click the button. It only goes purple if you click the link directly.

I did some research and it seems that the .click is not suppose to work with ‘a’ tags because the browser does not suport “fake clicking” with javascript. I mean, you can’t “click” an element with javascript. With ‘a’ tags you can trigger its onClick event but the link won’t change colors (to the visited link color, the default is purple in most browsers). So it wouldn’t make sense to make the $().click event work with ‘a’ tags since the act of going to the href attribute is not a part of the onClick event, but hardcoded in the browser.

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