How to get current URL, parameters and Hash tag using JQuery and JavaScript

While dealing with current URL, many time you want to know what is the current URL path, What are the parameters, and what is the hashtag on URL. The hash tag is pretty important if you are implementing tab structure using HTML and JQuery. To avoid confusion, let's take an example of URL: , in this example ixzz2PGmDFlPd, is a hash tag. Now, both JavaScript and JQuery provides a convenient way to retrieve current URL in the form of window.location object. You can use various properties of the window.location JavaScript object e.g. window.location.href to get complete URL, window.location.pathname to get the current path, and window.location.hash to get a hash tag from current URL. If you like to use JQuery then you can get a window.location as JQuery object and retrieve relevant properties using attr() function. 

If you are absolutely new in JQuery and unaware of the power of one of the most popular JavaScript framework, Head First JQuery is a good starting point. Being a fan of the head first book, I always approach a new technology by a Head first title, it helped to learn a lot in short time, without spending time in trivial examples. 

By the way, In this web tutorial, we are going to retrieve current URL and hash tag using JavaScript and JQuery.

How to find current URL using JavaScript and JQuery.

In JavaScript, just use window.location.href, and in JQuery use code $(location).attr('href'), both will return current URL. In our another example URL http://localhost:8080/testapp/, here window.location.href will return complete URL, but if you are just interested in the path, then you can use window.location.path, which will return /testapp.
URL : http://localhost:8080/testapp/
window.location.path = /testapp/
window.location.href = http://localhost:8080/testapp/

and if you want to get them using JQuery then use following code
var URL = $(location).attr('href');
var PATH = $(location).attr('pathname')

In next section, we will learn how to get hash tag using JavaScript and JQuery.

How to get Hashtag from current URL using JavaScript and JQuery.

Hash tags are String with prefix # (hash) in URL. If you are using tab-based UI and using div to represent different tab, and if you are current URL, when user is in tab2 is http://localhost:8080/testapp#tab2, then you can retrieve tab2 by using window.location.hash object. This will return just "tab2". You can also wrap same code in JQuery using shortcut $(). Here is the code :
URL : http://localhost:8080/testapp#tab2
window.location.hash = tab2
var hash = $(location).attr('hash');

and here is the HTML page, which combines all these JavaScript and JQuery code. We have put the JQuery code in $(document).ready(), so it will be executed when page will be loaded.

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
        <title>JQuery and JavaScript example to get current URL with parameters </title>
        <div id="choice">
            <h2>JQuery Code for getting current URL and Hash </h2>


        <script src=""></script>
            //windo.location.pathname will give you path, after http://
            var path = window.location.pathname;
            alert("window.location.pathname : " + path);
            var href = window.location.href;
            alert("window.location.href : " + href);
            var hash = window.location.hash;
            alert("window.location.hash : " + hash);

                //JQuery code for getting current URL
                var URL = $(location).attr('href');
                alert("Current URL Using JQuery : " + URL);

That's all on How to find current URL, path and hash value using JavaScript and jQuery. It's very easy, you just need to know about window.location Javascript object, but if you are jQuery fan, and want to avoid cross browser hassles, then you can also take advantage of jQuery one liner $(location).attr("href") to get current URL or any attribute from location object.

Further Reading
jQuery Fundamentals By Dan Wahlin
Advanced Techniques in JavaScript and jQuery By Kevin Murray
Head First jQuery and JavaScript

Other jQuery and JavaScript tutorials you may like to explore
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Anonymous said...

Great information, thanks. Is it also possible to get the current tab when using a plugin like jquery.easytabs? I've tried various ways already but the current tab value will only change when I browse to another tab and then refresh the page, not when I only browse to another tab...

Saumya said...

@Anonymous, I think you need to change your CSS, once tab changes. In normal HTML tab solution, using jquery to changing CSS class works fine.

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