load scripts asynchronously


I am using several plugins, custom widgets and some other libraries from JQuery. as a result I have several .js and .css files. I need to create a loader for my site because it takes some time to load. it will be nice if I can display the loader before importing all the:

<script type="text/javascript" src="js/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/myFunctions.js"></script>
<link type="text/css" href="css/main.css" rel="stylesheet" />
... 
....
 etc

I have found several tutorials that enable me to import a JavaScript library asynchronously. for example I can do something like:

  (function () {
        var s = document.createElement('script');
        s.type = 'text/javascript';
        s.async = true;
        s.src = 'js/jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.min.js';
        var x = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
        x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);
    })();

for some reason when I do the same thing for all my files the pages does not work. I have been trying for so long to try to find where the problem is but I just cannot find it. First I thought that it was probably because some javascript functions depended on the others. but I loaded them in the right order using the time out function when one completed I proceeded with the next and the page still behaves weird. for example I am not able to click on links etc... animations still work though..

Anyways

Here is what I have been thinking... I believe browsers have a cache that's why it takes a long time to load the page for the first time and the next time it is quick. so what I am thinking of doing is replacing my index.html page with a page that loads all this files asynchronously. when ajax is done loading all those files redirect to the page that I plan on using. when using that page it should not take long to load since the files should alredy be included on the cache of the browser. on my index page (page where .js and .css file get loaded asynchronously) I don't care of getting errors. I will just be displaying a loader and redirecting the page when done...

Is this idea a good alternative? or should I keep trying on implementing the asynchronously methods?


EDIT

the way I load everything async is like:

importScripts();

function importScripts()
{
    //import: jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.min.js
    getContent("js/jquery-1.6.2.min.js",function (code) {
                var s = document.createElement('script');
                s.type = 'text/javascript';
                //s.async = true;
                s.innerHTML=code;
                var x = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
                x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);
                setTimeout(insertNext1,1);
            });


    //import: jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.min.js
    function insertNext1()
    {
        getContent("js/jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.min.js",function (code) {
                    var s = document.createElement('script');
                    s.type = 'text/javascript';
                    s.innerHTML=code;
                    var x = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
                    x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);
                    setTimeout(insertNext2,1);
                });
    }

    //import: jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.css
    function insertNext2()
    {

        getContent("css/custom-theme/jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.css",function (code) {
                    var s = document.createElement('link');
                    s.type = 'text/css';
                    s.rel ="stylesheet";
                    s.innerHTML=code;
                    var x = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
                    x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);
                    setTimeout(insertNext3,1);
                });
    }

    //import: main.css
    function insertNext3()
    {

        getContent("css/main.css",function (code) {
                    var s = document.createElement('link');
                    s.type = 'text/css';
                    s.rel ="stylesheet";
                    s.innerHTML=code;
                    var x = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
                    x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);
                    setTimeout(insertNext4,1);
                });
    }

    //import: jquery.imgpreload.min.js
    function insertNext4()
    {
        getContent("js/farinspace/jquery.imgpreload.min.js",function (code) {
                    var s = document.createElement('script');
                    s.type = 'text/javascript';
                    s.innerHTML=code;
                    var x = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
                    x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);
                    setTimeout(insertNext5,1);
                });
    }


    //import: marquee.js
    function insertNext5()
    {
        getContent("js/marquee.js",function (code) {
                    var s = document.createElement('script');
                    s.type = 'text/javascript';
                    s.innerHTML=code;
                    var x = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
                    x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);
                    setTimeout(insertNext6,1);
                });
    }


    //import: marquee.css
    function insertNext6()
    {

        getContent("css/marquee.css",function (code) {
                    var s = document.createElement('link');
                    s.type = 'text/css';
                    s.rel ="stylesheet";
                    s.innerHTML=code;
                    var x = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
                    x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);
                    setTimeout(insertNext,1);
                });
    }



    function insertNext()
    {
        setTimeout(pageReadyMan,10);        
    }
}


// get the content of url and pass that content to specified function
function getContent( url, callBackFunction )
{
     // attempt to create the XMLHttpRequest and make the request
     try
     {
        var asyncRequest; // variable to hold XMLHttpRequest object
        asyncRequest = new XMLHttpRequest(); // create request object

        // register event handler
        asyncRequest.onreadystatechange = function(){
            stateChange(asyncRequest, callBackFunction);
        } 
        asyncRequest.open( 'GET', url, true ); // prepare the request
        asyncRequest.send( null ); // send the request
     } // end try
     catch ( exception )
     {
        alert( 'Request failed.' );
     } // end catch
} // end function getContent

// call function whith content when ready
function stateChange(asyncRequest, callBackFunction)
{
     if ( asyncRequest.readyState == 4 && asyncRequest.status == 200 )
     {
           callBackFunction(asyncRequest.responseText);
     } // end if
} // end function stateChange

and the weird part is that all the style's work plus all the javascript functions. the page is frozen for some reason though...

A couple solutions for async loading:

//this function will work cross-browser for loading scripts asynchronously
function loadScript(src, callback)
{
  var s,
      r,
      t;
  r = false;
  s = document.createElement('script');
  s.type = 'text/javascript';
  s.src = src;
  s.onload = s.onreadystatechange = function() {
    //console.log( this.readyState ); //uncomment this line to see which ready states are called.
    if ( !r && (!this.readyState || this.readyState == 'complete') )
    {
      r = true;
      callback();
    }
  };
  t = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
  t.parentNode.insertBefore(s, t);
}

If you've already got jQuery on the page, just use:

$.getScript(url, successCallback)*

Additionally, it's possible that your scripts are being loaded/executed before the document is done loading, meaning that you'd need to wait for document.ready before events can be bound to the elements.

It's not possible to tell specifically what your issue is without seeing the code.

The simplest solution is to keep all of your scripts inline at the bottom of the page, that way they don't block the loading of HTML content while they execute. It also avoids the issue of having to asynchronously load each required script.

If you have a particularly fancy interaction that isn't always used that requires a larger script of some sort, it could be useful to avoid loading that particular script until it's needed (lazy loading).

* scripts loaded with $.getScript will likely not be cached


For anyone who can use modern features such as the Promise object, the loadScript function has become significantly simpler:

function loadScript(src) {
    return new Promise(function (resolve, reject) {
        var s;
        s = document.createElement('script');
        s.src = src;
        s.onload = resolve;
        s.onerror = reject;
        document.head.appendChild(s);
    });
}

Be aware that this version no longer accepts a callback argument as the returned promise will handle callback. What previously would have been loadScript(src, callback) would now be loadScript(src).then(callback).

This has the added bonus of being able to detect and handle failures, for example one could call...

loadScript(cdnSource)
    .catch(loadScript.bind(null, localSource))
    .then(successCallback, failureCallback);

...and it would handle CDN outages gracefully.


HTML5's new 'async' attribute is supposed to do the trick. 'defer' is also supported in most browsers if you care about IE.

async - The HTML

<script async src="siteScript.js" onload="myInit()"></script>

defer - The HTML

<script defer src="siteScript.js" onload="myInit()"></script>

While analyzing the new adsense ad unit code I noticed the attribute and a search lead me here: http://davidwalsh.name/html5-async


I loaded the scripts asynchronously (html 5 has that feature) when all the scripts where done loading I redirected the page to index2.html where index2.html uses the same libraries. Because browsers have a cache once the page redirects to index2.html, index2.html loads in less than a second because it has all it needs to load the page. In my index.html page I also load the images that I plan on using so that the browser place those images on the cache. so my index.html looks like:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />
    <title>Project Management</title>

    <!-- the purpose of this page is to load all the scripts on the browsers cache so that pages can load fast from now on -->

    <script type="text/javascript">

        function stylesheet(url) {
            var s = document.createElement('link');
            s.type = 'text/css';
            s.async = true;
            s.src = url;
            var x = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
            x.appendChild(s);
        }

        function script(url) {
            var s = document.createElement('script');
            s.type = 'text/javascript';
            s.async = true;
            s.src = url;
            var x = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
            x.appendChild(s);
        }

        //load scritps to the catche of browser
        (function () {            
                stylesheet('css/custom-theme/jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.css');
                stylesheet('css/main.css');
                stylesheet('css/marquee.css');
                stylesheet('css/mainTable.css');

                script('js/jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.min.js');
                script('js/jquery-1.6.2.min.js');
                script('js/myFunctions.js');
                script('js/farinspace/jquery.imgpreload.min.js');
                script('js/marquee.js');            
        })();

    </script>

    <script type="text/javascript">
       // once the page is loaded go to index2.html
        window.onload = function () {
            document.location = "index2.html";
        }
    </script>

</head>
<body>

<div id="cover" style="position:fixed; left:0px; top:0px; width:100%; height:100%; background-color:Black; z-index:100;">Loading</div>

<img src="images/home/background.png" />
<img src="images/home/3.png"/>
<img src="images/home/6.jpg"/>
<img src="images/home/4.png"/>
<img src="images/home/5.png"/>
<img src="images/home/8.jpg"/>
<img src="images/home/9.jpg"/>
<img src="images/logo.png"/>
<img src="images/logo.png"/>
<img src="images/theme/contentBorder.png"/>

</body>
</html>

another nice thing about this is that I may place a loader in the page and when the page is done loading the loader will go away and in a matte of milliseconds the new page will be running.


Example from google

<script type="text/javascript">
  (function() {
    var po = document.createElement('script'); po.type = 'text/javascript'; po.async = true;
    po.src = 'https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js?onload=onLoadCallback';
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s);
  })();
</script>

Several notes:

  • s.async = true is not very correct for HTML5 doctype, correct is s.async = 'async' (actually using true is correct, thanks to amn who pointed it out in the comment just below)
  • Using timeouts to control the order is not very good and safe, and you also make the loading time much larger, to equal the sum of all timeouts!

Since there is a recent reason to load files asynchronously, but in order, I'd recommend a bit more functional-driven way over your example (remove console.log for production use :) ):

(function() {
    var prot = ("https:"===document.location.protocol?"https://":"http://");

    var scripts = [
        "path/to/first.js",
        "path/to/second.js",
        "path/to/third.js"
    ];

    function completed() { console.log('completed'); }  // FIXME: remove logs

    function checkStateAndCall(path, callback) {
        var _success = false;
        return function() {
            if (!_success && (!this.readyState || (this.readyState == 'complete'))) {
                _success = true;
                console.log(path, 'is ready'); // FIXME: remove logs
                callback();
            }
        };
    }

    function asyncLoadScripts(files) {
        function loadNext() { // chain element
            if (!files.length) completed();
            var path = files.shift();
            var scriptElm = document.createElement('script');
            scriptElm.type = 'text/javascript';
            scriptElm.async = true;
            scriptElm.src = prot+path;
            scriptElm.onload = scriptElm.onreadystatechange = \
                checkStateAndCall(path, loadNext); // load next file in chain when
                                                   // this one will be ready 
            var headElm = document.head || document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
            headElm.appendChild(scriptElm);
        }
        loadNext(); // start a chain
    }

    asyncLoadScripts(scripts);
})();

Thanks to HTML5, you can now declare the scripts that you want to load asynchronously by adding "async" in the tag:

<script async>...</script>

Note: The async attribute is only for external scripts (and should only be used if the src attribute is present).

Note: There are several ways an external script can be executed:

  • If async is present: The script is executed asynchronously with the rest of the page (the script will be executed while the page continues the parsing)
  • If async is not present and defer is present: The script is executed when the page has finished parsing
  • If neither async or defer is present: The script is fetched and executed immediately, before the browser continues parsing the page

See this: http://www.w3schools.com/tags/att_script_async.asp


I would complete zzzzBov's answer with a check for the presence of callback and allow passing of arguments:

    function loadScript(src, callback, args) {
      var s, r, t;
      r = false;
      s = document.createElement('script');
      s.type = 'text/javascript';
      s.src = src;
      if (typeof(callback) === 'function') {
        s.onload = s.onreadystatechange = function() {
          if (!r && (!this.readyState || this.readyState === 'complete')) {
            r = true;
            callback.apply(args);
          }
        };
      };
      t = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
      t.parent.insertBefore(s, t);
    }

Here is a great contemporary solution to the asynchronous script loading though it only address the js script with async false.

There is a great article written in www.html5rocks.com - Deep dive into the murky waters of script loading .

After considering many possible solutions, the author concluded that adding js scripts to the end of body element is the best possible way to avoid blocking page rendering by js scripts.

In the mean time, the author added another good alternate solution for those people who are desperate to load and execute scripts asynchronously.

Considering you've four scripts named script1.js, script2.js, script3.js, script4.js then you can do it with applying async = false:

[
  'script1.js',
  'script2.js',
  'script3.js',
  'script4.js'
].forEach(function(src) {
  var script = document.createElement('script');
  script.src = src;
  script.async = false;
  document.head.appendChild(script);
});

Now, Spec says: Download together, execute in order as soon as all download.

Firefox < 3.6, Opera says: I have no idea what this “async” thing is, but it just so happens I execute scripts added via JS in the order they’re added.

Safari 5.0 says: I understand “async”, but don’t understand setting it to “false” with JS. I’ll execute your scripts as soon as they land, in whatever order.

IE < 10 says: No idea about “async”, but there is a workaround using “onreadystatechange”.

Everything else says: I’m your friend, we’re going to do this by the book.

Now, the full code with IE < 10 workaround:

var scripts = [
  'script1.js',
  'script2.js',
  'script3.js',
  'script4.js'
];
var src;
var script;
var pendingScripts = [];
var firstScript = document.scripts[0];

// Watch scripts load in IE
function stateChange() {
  // Execute as many scripts in order as we can
  var pendingScript;
  while (pendingScripts[0] && ( pendingScripts[0].readyState == 'loaded' || pendingScripts[0].readyState == 'complete' ) ) {
    pendingScript = pendingScripts.shift();
    // avoid future loading events from this script (eg, if src changes)
    pendingScript.onreadystatechange = null;
    // can't just appendChild, old IE bug if element isn't closed
    firstScript.parentNode.insertBefore(pendingScript, firstScript);
  }
}

// loop through our script urls
while (src = scripts.shift()) {
  if ('async' in firstScript) { // modern browsers
    script = document.createElement('script');
    script.async = false;
    script.src = src;
    document.head.appendChild(script);
  }
  else if (firstScript.readyState) { // IE<10
    // create a script and add it to our todo pile
    script = document.createElement('script');
    pendingScripts.push(script);
    // listen for state changes
    script.onreadystatechange = stateChange;
    // must set src AFTER adding onreadystatechange listener
    // else we’ll miss the loaded event for cached scripts
    script.src = src;
  }
  else { // fall back to defer
    document.write('<script src="' + src + '" defer></'+'script>');
  }
}

One reason why your scripts could be loading so slowly is if you were running all of your scripts while loading the page, like this:

callMyFunctions();

instead of:

$(window).load(function() {
      callMyFunctions();
});

This second bit of script waits until the browser has completely loaded all of your Javascript code before it starts executing any of your scripts, making it appear to the user that the page has loaded faster.

If you're looking to enhance the user's experience by decreasing the loading time, I wouldn't go for the "loading screen" option. In my opinion that would be much more annoying than just having the page load more slowly.


I would suggest you take a look at Modernizr. Its a small light weight library that you can asynchronously load your javascript with features that allow you to check if the file is loaded and execute the script in the other you specify.

Here is an example of loading jquery:

Modernizr.load([
  {
    load: '//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.6.1/jquery.js',
    complete: function () {
      if ( !window.jQuery ) {
            Modernizr.load('js/libs/jquery-1.6.1.min.js');
      }
    }
  },
  {
    // This will wait for the fallback to load and
    // execute if it needs to.
    load: 'needs-jQuery.js'
  }
]);

I wrote a little post to help out with this, you can read more here https://timber.io/snippets/asynchronously-load-a-script-in-the-browser-with-javascript/, but I've attached the helper class below. It will automatically wait for a script to load and return a specified window attribute once it does.

export default class ScriptLoader {
  constructor (options) {
    const { src, global, protocol = document.location.protocol } = options
    this.src = src
    this.global = global
    this.protocol = protocol
    this.isLoaded = false
  }

  loadScript () {
    return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
      // Create script element and set attributes
      const script = document.createElement('script')
      script.type = 'text/javascript'
      script.async = true
      script.src = `${this.protocol}//${this.src}`

      // Append the script to the DOM
      const el = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]
      el.parentNode.insertBefore(script, el)

      // Resolve the promise once the script is loaded
      script.addEventListener('load', () => {
        this.isLoaded = true
        resolve(script)
      })

      // Catch any errors while loading the script
      script.addEventListener('error', () => {
        reject(new Error(`${this.src} failed to load.`))
      })
    })
  }

  load () {
    return new Promise(async (resolve, reject) => {
      if (!this.isLoaded) {
        try {
          await this.loadScript()
          resolve(window[this.global])
        } catch (e) {
          reject(e)
        }
      } else {
        resolve(window[this.global])
      }
    })
  }
}

Usage is like this:

const loader = new Loader({
    src: 'cdn.segment.com/analytics.js',
    global: 'Segment',
})

// scriptToLoad will now be a reference to `window.Segment`
const scriptToLoad = await loader.load()

You might find this wiki article interesting : http://ajaxpatterns.org/On-Demand_Javascript

It explains how and when to use such technique.


Well, x.parentNode returns the HEAD element, so you are inserting the script just before the head tag. Maybe that's the problem.

Try x.parentNode.appendChild() instead.


Check out this https://github.com/stephen-lazarionok/async-resource-loader. It has an example that shows how to load JS, CSS and multiple files with one shot.


You can use LABJS or RequreJS

Script loaders like LABJS, RequireJS will improve the speed and quality of your code.


Have you considered using Fetch Injection? I rolled an open source library called fetch-inject to handle cases like these. Here's what your loader might look like using the lib:

fetcInject([
  'js/jquery-1.6.2.min.js',
  'js/marquee.js',
  'css/marquee.css',
  'css/custom-theme/jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.css',
  'css/main.css'
]).then(() => {
  'js/jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.min.js',
  'js/farinspace/jquery.imgpreload.min.js'
})

For backwards compatibility leverage feature detection and fall-back to XHR Injection or Script DOM Elements, or simply inline the tags into the page using document.write.


Here is my custom solution to eliminate render-blocking JavaScript:

// put all your JS files here, in correct order
const libs = {
  "jquery": "https://code.jquery.com/jquery-2.1.4.min.js",
  "bxSlider": "https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/bxslider/4.2.5/jquery.bxslider.min.js",
  "angular": "https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/angularjs/1.5.0-beta.2/angular.min.js",
  "ngAnimate": "https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/angular.js/1.5.0-beta.2/angular-animate.min.js"
}
const loadedLibs = {}
let counter = 0

const loadAsync = function(lib) {
  var http = new XMLHttpRequest()
  http.open("GET", libs[lib], true)
  http.onload = () => {
    loadedLibs[lib] = http.responseText
    if (++counter == Object.keys(libs).length) startScripts()
  }
  http.send()
}

const startScripts = function() {
  for (var lib in libs) eval(loadedLibs[lib])
  console.log("allLoaded")
}

for (var lib in libs) loadAsync(lib)

In short, it loads all your scripts asynchronously, and then executes them consequently.

Github repo: https://github.com/mudroljub/js-async-loader


Here a little ES6 function if somebody wants to use it in React for example

import {uniqueId} from 'lodash' // optional
/**
 * @param {String} file The path of the file you want to load.
 * @param {Function} callback (optional) The function to call when the script loads.
 * @param {String} id (optional) The unique id of the file you want to load.
 */
export const loadAsyncScript = (file, callback, id) => {
  const d = document
  if (!id) { id = uniqueId('async_script') } // optional
  if (!d.getElementById(id)) {
    const tag = 'script'
    let newScript = d.createElement(tag)
    let firstScript = d.getElementsByTagName(tag)[0]
    newScript.id = id
    newScript.async = true
    newScript.src = file
    if (callback) {
      // IE support
      newScript.onreadystatechange = () => {
        if (newScript.readyState === 'loaded' || newScript.readyState === 'complete') {
          newScript.onreadystatechange = null
          callback(file)
        }
      }
      // Other (non-IE) browsers support
      newScript.onload = () => {
        callback(file)
      }
    }
    firstScript.parentNode.insertBefore(newScript, firstScript)
  } else {
    console.error(`The script with id ${id} is already loaded`)
  }
}


I would suggest looking into minifying the files first and see if that gives you a big enough speed boost. If your host is slow, could try putting that static content on a CDN.