Jquery Selectors Readme


  • Explain the purpose of a DOM selector
  • Use a DOM selector to select an HTML element


Because jQuery was created as a way to make DOM manipulation quick and painless, a big part of that is correctly selecting the DOM node you want to work with. Thankfully, the browser provides a seamless way to select the correct HTML, similar to CSS selectors.

When we're using jQuery, we can wrap these selectors (which are just strings) in a call to $ — for example, if we wanted all the divs on a page, we could call $('div').

You will be coding your solution in index.html and js/selectors.js. There are tests for this walk-through to make sure your code works as expected.

Getting Everything Set Up

Notice that several resources have been added to index.html:

  • jQuery: <script type="text/javascript" src="js/jquery-2.1.1.min.js"></script>
  • Our JS file: <script src="js/selectors.js"></script>

Both of these script tags are at the bottom of the body, which is where script tags should usually be loaded — especially those dealing with the DOM. The order in which the scripts are loaded matters: if we plan on using jQuery in js/selectors.js, the minified jQuery file needs to be loaded first.

Using Selectors

To set up a jQuery selector, you start with the $. Every line of jQuery code should start with the $.


In between the quotation marks, you place your selector. Just like in CSS, there are many types of selectors. Let's dive into a few.

You'll want to have index.html open in the browser, with the console open.

Element Selector

The element selector returns all HTML elements with that specific tag:


Because we have six images on our page, this selector will return an array of all six images.

Class Selectors

You'll notice index.html has two divs with the class pics. Let's use selectors to select those two divs.


Just like in CSS, we use a . to denote a class. This code is selecting any HTML elements with the class pics, which in this case is two different divs.

ID Selectors

The first gif on the page is a baby doing ninja moves. An ID selector works in much the same way as a class selector; you just replace the . with a #:


Descendant Selector

Let's say we want to select all list items inside the ul tag. The li tags are descendants of the ul tag. We can use a descendant selector like this:

$('ul li')

First Child

Let's say we want to select the first img tag inside each div. We could do that with the first child selector. You set up this selector:

$('parent-tag child-tag:first-child')

Because we want to select the first image inside a div, we put div first. Next comes the element we want to select, which is img, followed by :first-child:

$('div img:first-child')

Alt Tag Selector

Let's say we want to select an image that has a specific alt text. The second image on our page (The Beatles) has the alt text "the beatles making faces". We can use that text to find the image:

$("img[alt='the beatles making faces']")

Last Selector

Let's say you want to select the last div on the page. You could use the last selector to do that



There are a tremendous number of other DOM selectors, including but not limited to last-child, nth-type-of, next sibling, input selector, and the list goes on. Take a look at the MDN docs for a full list.


If you take a look at js/selectors.js, you'll notice we don't have a document ready. Because we're just going to practice writing selectors, and not using the selectors to do anything quite yet, we don't need to worry about browser interaction.

  • Write a function paragraphSelector that does not accept any parameters. The function should use an element selector to select the p tags in index.html and return those elements. (Note that we're using the plural because the selector will always return an array when used with tags, even if there's only one!)

  • Write a function lastImageSelector that does not accept any parameters. The function should use the last jQuery selector to return the last image in index.html.

  • Write a function ninjaBabySelector that does not accept any parameters. The function should use an ID selector to return the ninja baby image.

  • Write a function divSelector that does not accept any parameters. The function should use a class selector to return the two divs with the class pics.

  • Write a function firstListItem that does not accept any parameters. The function should use a first-child selector to return the first list item in the ul with the ID pic-list.


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