Nebulous Program Mechanic

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    0.2.3 • Public • Published


    (read "form extra")

    Extract form values through the DOM.


    Forms are used to package related data, typically sent to an external location or processed internally. In the browser, the default behavior of submitting form data is not always preferred, as this is done through loading or reloading a document as soon as the form is submitted. In addition, applications have limited control over how the data are formatted on submission with this approach. This is why the new way of sending form data is done through AJAX/fetch requests, wherein the data are serialized into formats like JSON. To turn form data into a specific format requires access to the elements holding the values to each field in the form.

    Libraries made for extracting form values query field elements in the DOM, which is inefficient since they need to traverse the DOM tree in some way, using methods such as document.getElementsByTagName() and document.querySelector().

    Upon retrieving the field values somehow, some libraries attempt to duplicate the values of the fields as they change, for instance by attaching event listeners and storing the new values into some internal object or map. This is then retrieved by some other exposed function or mechanism within that library. This is common with reactive frameworks, where changes to the document are essential to establish functionality and improved user experience.

    With formxtra, there is no need to traverse the DOM for individual fields to get their values, provided they are:

    The values of these fields can be easily extracted, using the form.elements attribute built-in to the DOM. With this, only the reference to the form is needed. The current state of the field elements is already stored in the DOM, waiting to be accessed.


    The package can be found on:


    For an example form:

    <!-- ...  -->
    <form id="loginForm">
    	<input type="text" name="username" />
    	<input type="password" name="password" />
    	<button type="submit" name="type" value="client">Log In As Client</button>
    	<button type="submit" name="type" value="admin">Log In As Admin</button>
    	<input type="checkbox" name="remember" form="loginForm" />
    	Remember my login credentials
    <!-- ... --->

    Use the library as follows (code is in TypeScript, but can work with JavaScript as well):

    import getFormValues from '@theoryofnekomata/formxtra';
    const form: HTMLFormElement = document.getElementById('form');
    // optional, but just in case there are multiple submit buttons in the form,
    // individual submitters can be considered
    const submitter = form.querySelector('[type="submit"][name="type"][value="client"]');
    const values = getFormValues(form, { submitter });
    const processResult = (result: Record<string, unknown>) => {
    	throw new Error('Not yet implemented.');
    // Best use case is with event handlers
    form.addEventListener('submit', async e => {
    	const { target: form, submitter } = e;
    	const values = getFormValues(form, { submitter });
    	// Get the form values and send as request to some API
    	const response = await fetch(
    			method: 'POST',
    			body: JSON.stringify(values),
    			headers: {
    				'Content-Type': 'application/json',
    	if (response.ok) {
    		const result = await response.json();


    The library has been tested on the static DOM using JSDOM and Jest, and the real dynamic DOM using Cypress.


    npm i @theoryofnekomata/formxtra

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