How to delay the .keyup() handler until the user stops typing?

I’ve got a search field. Right now it searches for every keyup. So if someone types “Windows”, it will make a search with AJAX for every keyup: “W”, “Wi”, “Win”, “Wind”, “Windo”, “Window”, “Windows”.

I want to have a delay, so it only searches when the user stops typing for 200 ms.

There is no option for this in the keyup function, and I have tried setTimeout, but it didn’t work.

How can I do that?

Answer

I use this small function for the same purpose, executing a function after the user has stopped typing for a specified amount of time or in events that fire at a high rate, like resize:

function delay(callback, ms) {
  var timer = 0;
  return function() {
    var context = this, args = arguments;
    clearTimeout(timer);
    timer = setTimeout(function () {
      callback.apply(context, args);
    }, ms || 0);
  };
}


// Example usage:

$('#input').keyup(delay(function (e) {
  console.log('Time elapsed!', this.value);
}, 500));
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<label for="input">Try it:
<input id="input" type="text" placeholder="Type something here..."/>
</label>

How it works:

The delay function will return a wrapped function that internally handles an individual timer, in each execution the timer is restarted with the time delay provided, if multiple executions occur before this time passes, the timer will just reset and start again.

When the timer finally ends, the callback function is executed, passing the original context and arguments (in this example, the jQuery’s event object, and the DOM element as this).

UPDATE 2019-05-16

I have re-implemented the function using ES5 and ES6 features for modern environments:

function delay(fn, ms) {
  let timer = 0
  return function(...args) {
    clearTimeout(timer)
    timer = setTimeout(fn.bind(this, ...args), ms || 0)
  }
}

The implementation is covered with a set of tests.

For something more sophisticated, give a look to the jQuery Typewatch plugin.

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