Determine cross-browser if an event or anchor element should be handled locally.

IE, links, local
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Luke Karrys john chesley

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Determine cross-browser if an event or anchor element should be handled locally.

NPM Build Status Sauce Test Status


npm install local-links --save


Browsers have quirks. Knowing if a link is local should be easy, since we just want to know if the hosts are the same. But this can be difficult because of the aforementioned browser quirks. A few of them:

  • IE9 will add :80 to the host of an anchor, but not the window
  • IE9 wont put a leading slash on the pathname of an anchor, but will on the window
  • Chrome 36 will report anchor.hash as '' if it has href="#"
  • More? Please report test cases!

Because of that and a few other things I was doing all the time, such as finding the closest anchor to an element based on an event object, I decided it would be a good module (that at least I would use all the time).


<a href='/page2' id="local">Local</a>
<a href='#hash' id="hash">Local</a>
<a href='' id="google">Google</a>
var local = require('local-links');

// `pathname()` will return the pathname as a string
// if the link is local, otherwise it will return null
local.pathname(document.getElementById('local')) // '/page2'
local.pathname(document.getElementById('hash')) // null
local.pathname(document.getElementById('google')) // null

// `hash()` will return the hash as a string
// if the hash is to this page, otherwise it will return null
local.hash(document.getElementById('local')) // null
local.hash(document.getElementById('hash')) // '#hash'
local.hash(document.getElementById('google')) // null



getLocalPathname(Event or HTMLElement [, HTMLElement])

Returns the pathname if it is a non-hash local link, or null if it is not. Always includes the leading /.

Alias: pathname

getLocalHash(Event or HTMLElement [, HTMLElement])

Returns the hash if it is an in-page hash link, or null if it is not. Always includes the leading #.

Alias: hash

isActive(Event or HTMLElement [, String comparePath])

Returns true/false depending on if the anchor pathname is equal to the comparePath (which defaults to window.location.pathname). Calls pathname() internally.

Alias: active

isLocal(event, anchor, [, Boolean lookForHash])

Returns the pathname (or hash if lookForHash is true) for local links, or null if it is not. This is used by pathname() and hash() under the hood. The main difference here is that you need to specify the event and anchor yourself, and the anchor wont be looked up from like it would from the other methods.

Supply either Event or HTMLElement

The above methods will accept an Event object, like the one you get from click event handlers, or any HTMLElement. You can also supply an Event object and a different HTMLElement as the second parameter and it will take precedence.

If only an Event object is supplied, the HTMLElement will be found from

Nested HTML Elements

In the case that any HTMLElement your provide is not an anchor element, the module will look up parentNodes until an anchor is found.


If an Event object is supplied, all methods will return null if any of the following are true altKey, ctrlKey, metaKey, shiftKey. This is because you almost always want to treat modified click events as external page clicks.


If the anchor has target="_blank" it will return null for both the pathname() and hash() methods.

Hash links

Using the pathname method will return null for hash links that do not point to a different page. To get the hash for one of these links use the hash() method.


Run npm start and open http://localhost:3000 to run the tests in your browser.

It is also a good idea to run sudo npm run start-80 (requires admin) which will run the tests on http://localhost because there can be unexpected behavior when the host has no port in IE9 and IE10.

To run the tests in the cli, just run npm test.