Understanding jQuery’s $(document).ready function


As a web developer, you may often encounter scenarios where JavaScript functionality must be applied to elements as soon as the DOM (Document Object Model) is fully loaded. For this, jQuery provides a powerful and simple-to-use function: $(document).ready(). This article delves into the details of $(document).ready(), helping you understand its usage and importance.

What is $(document).ready()?

The $(document).ready() function is a jQuery method that executes a block of code as soon as the DOM is fully loaded. This means that it runs as soon as the structural layout of the page is loaded, so it does not have to wait for all images to be loaded.

Here’s an example of how you might use it:

    // Your code here

Or, using a shorthand version:

    // Your code here

Both these examples will execute the enclosed code once the DOM is ready.

Why Use $(document).ready()?

There are several reasons why the $(document).ready() function is vital in jQuery code.

  1. Ensures that DOM is ready: When a web page is being loaded by a browser, it’s being parsed from top to bottom. If your JavaScript tries to access and manipulate elements that haven’t been loaded yet, it can result in errors. $(document).ready() ensures that the HTML document is fully loaded in the browser before the JavaScript executes.
  2. Maintains code organization: $(document).ready() provides a single location where you can place your scripts to keep them organized.
  3. Prevents global scope pollution: Code written inside $(document).ready() is enclosed in a function scope, which helps avoid unexpected results due to variables in the global scope.
  4. Multiple Uses: The jQuery library allows multiple $(document).ready() blocks in a single page. This is useful if you want to separate functionalities or if you’re including external scripts.

Comparison with window.onload

It’s important to differentiate $(document).ready() from window.onload. While window.onload also waits for the content to load before executing JavaScript, it waits until all content, including images and external media, are fully loaded. This could lead to unnecessary delays in script execution if you’re simply waiting to access elements in the DOM.


The $(document).ready() function is a crucial part of jQuery that ensures your code only runs once the DOM is fully loaded. It ensures a smooth, error-free operation of your scripts by avoiding premature element access, and it helps keep your code organized and manageable. By understanding and using $(document).ready(), you can significantly improve your jQuery code’s reliability and efficiency.

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