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Posted 27 Nov 2017

How to Detect if Client has JavaScript Enabled/Disabled in Backend Server

, 29 Nov 2017
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Learn how to detect if client has JavaScript enabled or disabled at your backend webserver

Introduction

In this post, I will show you how to detect if a client has JavaScript enabled or disabled at your backend webserver (on any platform), so you can work with it in your backend code, and use it as a boolean.

Unfortunately, there is no out-of-the-box way to detect it. Browsers do not send http headers/metadata to the webserver that indicates if the browser has JavaScript turned on or off.

So to detect it, we need to do a little manual work.

How To Do It

Backend Code

The trick to detect it, is to set a flag (a cookie) in the client browser that indicates if the browser has JavaScript enabled/disabled.

Then the server can look at that cookie and check if JavaScript the client is indicating its JavaScript is enabled/disabled.

In this example, let's call that cookie hasjs=false. So, if the client has the cookie named hasjs and has the value false, then it means the client is indicating that JavaScript is off, otherwise JavaScript is on.

So, for every webrequest, make a boolean variable in your backend server, and call it IsJavascriptOn, and set it to false if client has the cookie hasjs=false otherwise, set it to true.

I will be using ASP.NET MVC as the code examples, but the concept is the same for all platforms.

Below is the example of a function that returns false if the client has the cookie hasjs=false, otherwise it returns true.

bool GetIsJavascriptOn()
{
    //If client has the cookie with name and value: hasjs=false
    if (Request.Cookies.ContainsKey("hasjs") &&
        Request.Cookies["hasjs"] == "false")
        return false;
    else //Client doesn't have the cookie: hasjs=false
        return true;
}

And then somewhere in our code, we can set our IsJavascriptOn variable like below:

this.IsJavascriptOn = GetIsJavascriptOn();

And now, we have our boolean that determines if the client has JavaScript enabled/disabled, so now we can use this variable everywhere in our backendcode.

Rendering HTML

So now, we have need to set the hasjs=false cookie if JavaScript is disabled, and delete the hasjs=false cookie if JavaScript is enabled. And that's done when we render the HTML.

We have to render some HTML depending on whether the client is indicating that JavaScript is enabled/disabled. And that's shown below.

We will put this code inside the <head>:

<!--If client indicates that javascript is enabled (cookie "hasjs=false" doesn't exist)-->
@if (Model.IsJavascriptOn == true)
{
    <noscript>
        <meta http-equiv="Set-Cookie" content="hasjs=false; path=/">
        <meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0">
    </noscript>
}
else //Client indicates javascript is disabled (cookie "hasjs=false" exists)
{
    <script>
        document.cookie = "hasjs=; expires=Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC; path=/";
        location.reload(true); //Refreshes the page
    </script>
}

Now we are actually done. If you just want to test it and don't want any explanation, you can skip the rest.

Here, we draw the <noscript> block if our variable IsJavascriptOn equals true, otherwise we draw the <script> block.

The <noscript> block will set the cookie hasjs=false and then refresh the page (yes, you can set a cookie and refresh the page without JavaScript).

The <script> block will delete the cookie hasjs=false and then refresh the page.

So what happens here, is if the client is indicating that JavaScript is on, then we draw the <noscript> block. But the client will not run the <noscript> block, unless it actually was disabled.

So if it runs the <noscript> block, then it means the client told the server that it had JavaScript enabled, but was wrong, and needs to update/set the hasjs to false and then refresh the page.

Then after it has done that, the server will render the <script> block instead, and then the client will never run the <script> block until it enables it again.

So when the client enables JavaScript again, then the client will run the <script> block, delete the cookie hasjs and refresh the page.

And then, the server will draw the <noscript> block and then the client will never run that block until the client disables JavaScript again.

And that's how the cycle goes.

Full Example with ASP.NET MVC

Here is a full example in ASP.NET Core MVC (.NET Framework). It's pretty straight-forward, so hopefully, non-ASP.NET programmers would understand it, since it's almost like pseudocode.

In this example, I will show a minimal website with 3 pages index (homepage), contact and about with no CSS.

HomeController.cs

This file is the starting point of where the code begins when clients request a page on a specific path. It will check if the client has the hasjs=false cookie and set our IsJavascriptOn variable to false if it exists, otherwise set it to true.

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc;

namespace WebApplication1
{
    public class ViewDataModel
    {
        public bool IsJavascriptOn;
    }
}

namespace WebApplication1.Controllers
{
    public class HomeController : Controller
    {
        public ViewDataModel ViewDataModel;

        bool GetIsJavascriptOn()
        {
            //If client has the cookie with name and value: hasjs=false
            if (Request.Cookies.ContainsKey("hasjs") &&
                Request.Cookies["hasjs"] == "false")
                return false;
            else //Client doesn't have the cookie: hasjs=false
                return true;
        }

        //Executed if path is: "/" or "/home"
        public IActionResult Index()
        {
            this.ViewDataModel = new ViewDataModel();
            this.ViewDataModel.IsJavascriptOn = this.GetIsJavascriptOn();

            //draws the Index.cshtml in @RenderBody inside _Layout.cshtml
            return View(this.ViewDataModel); 
        }

        //Executed if path is: "/home/about"
        public IActionResult About()
        {
            this.ViewDataModel = new ViewDataModel();
            this.ViewDataModel.IsJavascriptOn = this.GetIsJavascriptOn();

            //draws the About.cshtml in @RenderBody inside _Layout.cshtml
            return View(this.ViewDataModel);
        }

        //Executed if path is: "/home/about"
        public IActionResult Contact()
        {
            this.ViewDataModel = new ViewDataModel();
            this.ViewDataModel.IsJavascriptOn = this.GetIsJavascriptOn();
            
            //draws the Contact.cshtml in @RenderBody inside _Layout.cshtml
            return View(this.ViewDataModel);
        }
    }
}

_Layout.cshtml

This is the starting point when we render our HTML. The _Layout is what gets rendered no matter what page we are on, and then it fires the @RenderBody() which is an ASP.NET MVC function that will render the page we are on. And that's going to render in our case either the index.cshtml, contact.cshtml or about.cshtml.

@model ViewDataModel

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
    <title>Detect_Javascript</title>

   <!--If client indicates that javascript is enabled (cookie "hasjs=false" doesn't exist)-->
    @if (Model.IsJavascriptOn == true)
    {
        <noscript>
            <meta http-equiv="Set-Cookie" content="hasjs=false; path=/">
            <meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0">
        </noscript>
    }
    else //Client indicates javascript is disabled (cookie "hasjs=false" exists)
    {
        <script>
            document.cookie = "hasjs=; expires=Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC; path=/";
            location.reload(true); //Refreshes the page
        </script>
    }
</head>
<body>
    <ul>
        <li><a href="/home">Home</a></li>
        <li><a href="/home/about">About</a></li>
        <li><a href="/home/contact">Contact</a></li>
    </ul>
    @RenderBody()
</body>
</html>

Index.cshtml

@model ViewDataModel

<h1>Home page</h1>
<p>This is the home page</p>

@if (Model.IsJavascriptOn == true)
{
    <p>Javascript  is enabled</p>
}
else
{
    <p>Javascript is disabled</p>
}

Contact.cshtml

@model ViewDataModel

<h1>Contact page</h1>
<p>This is the contact page</p>

@if (Model.IsJavascriptOn == true)
{
    <p>Javascript  is enabled</p>
}
else
{
    <p>Javascript  is disabled</p>
}

About.cshtml

@model ViewDataModel

<h1>About page</h1>
<p>This is the about page</p>

@if (Model.IsJavascriptOn == true)
{
    <p>Javascript is enabled</p>
}
else
{
    <p>Javascript is disabled</p>
}

So, here, if you do have JavaScript on, then it will draw Yes, javascript is enabled otherwise, No, javascript is disabled.

Below are two examples on how it should look:

Last Note

Inside the <noscript>, the tag <meta http-equiv="Set-Cookie" content="hasjs=false; path=/">, it's very important to set the path to "/", because cookies can have paths, so if you navigate to different paths/sites in the website, then the client might create many different hasjs=false cookies depending on which path the client is on.

Thanks for reading, I hope this will be helpful to a lot of you. :-)

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Danny Chu
Denmark Denmark
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Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionHow you are catching js is enable at server side Pin
Mou_kol10-Dec-17 21:35
memberMou_kol10-Dec-17 21:35 
AnswerRe: How you are catching js is enable at server side Pin
Danny Chu11-Dec-17 16:37
memberDanny Chu11-Dec-17 16:37 
PraiseMessage Closed Pin
30-Nov-17 2:44
memberExpro Academy30-Nov-17 2:44 

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