SharePoint – Timing of Master Page JavaScript

Our base SharePoint 2010 Publishing master page calls a JavaScript function that does things such as:

  • Initialize jQuery plugins
  • Configure some top-navigation tweaks
  • Miscellaneous items such as setting the date in the copyright footer
  • Initialize Google Analytics

We call this function right before the end of the head section of the master page. The contents of the JavaScript function are enclosed in a jQuery $(document).ready block, meaning that the function will run after the DOM is ready.

A drawback to this approach is that JavaScript that manipulate elements on the screen only executes after the DOM is ready. This isn’t a great user experience because the user can see the “jumpiness” on screen as the script executes.

I ran this by our resident web ninja Jacob Gable and he suggested breaking up the JavaScript function into smaller chunks and calling those chunks directly after the HTML content that they affect; for example:

<div id="footer">
    <span id="footer-year"></span>&nbsp;All rights reserved.
    <script type="text/javascript">

where SetCopyrightDate uses jQuery to set the date to the current year:

function SetCopyrightDate() 
    var today = new Date();
    var yr = today.getFullYear();
    $("#footer-year").text("© " + yr);

This is pretty obvious in retrospect; your JavaScript can be sprinkled throughout the page as needed. People are scared away by this, wanting to have a super-clean master page.

However, in this case, pulling out some JavaScript functionality into separate functions and calling them from the master page does the trick.

The remaining JavaScript can stay in a global function and run in a $(document).ready block; for us, all this does now is initialize jQuery plugins we’re using throughout the site.

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