Input elements hold references to their labels

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This post is part of my Today I learned series in which I share all my learnings regarding web development.

Today I came across an MDN page which describes the labels property of textarea elements. I hadn't used this property before and started playing around with it.

It turns out that input elements (and textareas) hold references to their connected labels.

Assuming you wrote HTML below, you can access the label element using the labels property. labels returns a NodeList with the connected elements.

<label for="foo">Some input</label>
<input type="text" id="foo">

<script>
  console.log(document.getElementById('foo').labels);
  // NodeList (1) [label]
</script>

I never had a use case for this property, but I bet that accessibility linters use the labels property quite heavily to validate accessible forms. Label your input elements, friends!

When creating forms, I prefer to not use the for attribute on labels and place input elements inside of labels instead. This approach increases the clickable area that will focus the input, and I can save giving the input element an id and the label the for attribute.

I was delighted to find out that the labels property works fine with this approach, too!

<label>
  <span>
    Some input
  </span>
  <input type="text" id="foo">
</label>

<script>
  console.log(document.getElementById('foo').labels);
  // NodeList (1) [label]
</script>

It even returns multiple labels if you're using several labels for one input element.

<label>
  <span>
    Some input
  </span>
  <input type="text" id="foo">
</label>
<label for="foo">Some input</label>

<script>
  console.log(document.getElementById('foo').labels);
  // NodeList (2) [label, label]
</script>

And that's it! Maybe you're writing an accessibility linter right at this moment โ€“ then labels can be helpful. :)

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