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Input placeholders for Internet Explorer

HTML5 introduced the placeholder attribute on input elements, which allows to display a greyed-out default text.

Sadly the Internet Explorer, including IE 9 does not support it.

There already are some placeholder simulator scripts out there. They typically work by putting the default-text into the input field, give it a grey color and remove it again as soon as you focus the input field.

The drawback of this approach is that the placeholder text is in the input field. Thus:

  1. scripts can't easily check whether an input field is empty
  2. server side processing must check against the default value, in order to not insert the placeholder into the database.

I would like to have a solution, where the placeholder text isn't in the input itself.

In looking at the "Web Forms : input placeholder" section of HTML5 Cross Browser Polyfills, one I saw was jQuery-html5-placeholder.

I tried the demo out with IE9, and it looks like it wraps your <input> with a span and overlays a label with the placeholder text.

  <span style="position: relative;">
    <input id="placeholder1314588474481" name="text" maxLength="6" type="text" placeholder="Hi Mom">
    <label style="font: 0.75em/normal sans-serif; left: 5px; top: 3px; width: 147px; height: 15px; color: rgb(186, 186, 186); position: absolute; overflow-x: hidden; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;" for="placeholder1314588474481">Hi Mom</label>

There are also other shims there, but I didn't look at them all. One of them, Placeholders.js, advertises itself as "No dependencies (so no need to include jQuery, unlike most placeholder polyfill scripts)."

Edit: For those more interested in "how" that "what", How to create an advanced HTML5 placeholder polyfill which walks through the process of creating a jQuery plugin that does this.

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