Safely using .ready() before including jQuery

17 February 2012

Earlier today, I read Stop paying your jQuery tax, an excellent article by Sam Saffron which explains why it's a great idea to move all of your external JavaScripts to the end of the HTML document, then proposes a method which allows you to continue to use jQuery's .ready() method anywhere in your document, even though you've moved jQuery itself to the bottom. I've taken that a step further.

His method is essentially this:

  1. In the head, include a script that:
    • Defines an array
    • Creates a fake $ function that pushes its argument to the array
  2. In the body, just after you include jQuery, include a script that:
    • Uses jQuery to loop over the array's contents
    • ...and calls the real $ function, passing in the argument.

I decided to have a play around with the code examples Sam gave and I realised that it only caters for one of jQuery's possible ways of binding to DOM ready:

$(handler) // Where `handler` is the function to bind

jQuery also allows the following:


$().ready(handler) // although this isn't recommended

$(document).bind("ready", handler)


With this in mind, I attempted to build upon Sam's concept, but come up with a solution that covers all four possibilities. Here's what I came up with...

In your head, include:

<script>(function(w,d,u){w.readyQ=[];w.bindReadyQ=[];function p(x,y){if(x=="ready"){w.bindReadyQ.push(y);}else{w.readyQ.push(x);}};var a={ready:p,bind:p};w.$=w.jQuery=function(f){if(f===d||f===u){return a}else{p(f)}}})(window,document)</script>

In your body, just after jQuery, include:


OK, that looks like an unreadable mess, so I'll expand it out (with nicer variable/function names) and take you through it. Expanding the head script, we have:

(function (w, d, u) {

    // Define two queues for handlers
    w.readyQ = [];
    w.bindReadyQ = [];

    // Push a handler into the correct queue
    function pushToQ(x, y) {
        if (x == "ready") {
        } else {

    // Define an alias object (for use later)
    var alias = {
        ready: pushToQ,
        bind: pushToQ

    // Define the fake jQuery function to capture handlers
    w.$ = w.jQuery = function (handler) {
        if (handler === d || handler === u) {
            // Queue $(document).ready(handler), $().ready(handler)
            // and $(document).bind("ready", handler) by returning
            // an object with alias methods for pushToQ
            return alias;
        } else {
            // Queue $(handler)

})(window, document);

If you look at jQuery's .ready() method documentation, it explains that if handlers bound to DOM ready using the .bind() function are actually triggered after all other handlers have been triggered. This is the reason we have two queues - to respect that behaviour.

Expanding the body (just after jQuery) script, we have:

(function ($, doc) {
    $.each(readyQ, function (index, handler) {
    $.each(bindReadyQ, function (index, handler) {
        $(doc).bind("ready", handler);
})(jQuery, document);

In exactly the same way as Sam's example, we use jQuery's .each() method to properly bind all of our queued handlers to DOM ready, but because $(document).bind("ready", handler) may have been called earlier, we bind these too in the correct way.


Here's a quick example of how to use the scripts, followed by the console output it produces.

<!DOCTYPE html>
        <script>(function(w,d,u){w.readyQ=[];w.bindReadyQ=[];function p(x,y){if(x=="ready"){w.bindReadyQ.push(y);}else{w.readyQ.push(x);}};var a={ready:p,bind:p};w.$=w.jQuery=function(f){if(f===d||f===u){return a}else{p(f)}}})(window,document)</script>
            $(document).bind("ready", function () {
                console.log("Example D: $(document).bind(\"ready\", handler)");
            $(document).ready(function () {
                console.log("Example A: $(document).ready(handler)");
            $().ready(function () {
                console.log("Example B: $().ready(handler)");
                console.log("Example C: $(handler)");
        <script src=""></script>

This outputs:

Example A: $(document).ready(handler)
Example B: $().ready(handler)
Example C: $(handler)
Example D: $(document).bind("ready", handler)

Note that even though Example D is the first example, it uses $(document).bind("ready", handler), so it is queued separately, and is executed after the other three examples. It behaves exactly as jQuery intends.

I hope you find this useful. Please leave suggestions (or point out errors) in the comments below.

Updated on 02/03/2012:

In the comments, BRUNOa A suggested a couple of performance enhancing changes to my solution. As an extra enhancement, I'm also passing the document object as an argument into the anonymous functions. The original implementation still exists as a gist.