5 HTML Elements That Make JavaScript Libraries Obsolete!

Do we even need JavaScript anymore?

Of course we do, but maybe not as often as you would think! With the slew of hot new HTML functionality, I am increasingly finding that native HTML elements do many of the same things I used to reach for JavaScript libraries for. Come with me on this journey and we'll explore my top 5 HTML elements that replace bloated JavaScript libraries.

Table of Contents

<details> and <summary>

Accordions have been a popular feature of web apps for decades. They have historically been bundled with very heavy JS and CSS to animate the opening and closing of the accordion and added a lot of bloat to an application's bundle size. With the introduction of the <details> and <summary> elements, everyone can now have a simple accordion without the need for any additional JavaScript.


<span>What's the best fast food?</span>
<strong>Taco Bell</strong>

What's the best fast food?Taco Bell

If you are not concerned with animating the opening/closing or changing the default styles, you are done. However, if you want things to look a little more polished, you can apply some small styling changes to make opening and closing buttery smooth.


details {
padding-top: 16px;
padding-bottom: 16px;
details summary {
cursor: pointer;
margin-bottom: -16px;
transition-property: all;
transition-duration: 150ms;
transition-timing-function: cubic-bezier(0.4, 0, 0.2, 1);
details[open] summary {
margin-bottom: 16px;

What's the best fast food?Taco Bell


In the past, you may have used libraries like progress.js to create progress bars for your applications, but not anymore! Thanks to HTML's <progress> element, these libraries are now mostly obsolete.

You will probably want to create some kind of wrapper component for your progress bars, so that you can style them and easily have the values be reactive, but that is not a requirement for the base case.


<progress value="750" max="1000">



<meter> is very similar to <progress> but has a subtly different meaning. It should be used when you want to display a scalar measurement within a range, for example, disk usage.


<label for="disk_c">Disk usage:</label>
<meter id="disk_c" value="2" min="0" max="10">2 out of 10</meter>

2 out of 10


Modal dialogs are a very common thing in JavaScript applications. There are countless libraries for rendering modals, and most of them have tons of extra code you may not need. Historically, developers needed to manually apply an overlay to stop the user from clicking on other things, trap keyboard focus to the modal to avoid tabbing out of the modal context, and various other things to make the modal as usable and accessible as it could be.

Today, we have the <dialog> element to handle all of this for us out of the box. It ships with support for showing both a non-modal dialog via .show() and a modal dialog via .showModal() and either of them can be programmatically closed via the .close() method.

Unlike some of the other elements mentioned in this post, we will need a little bit more JavaScript setup to work with <dialog> since we need to store a reference to the element to be able to call .show()/.showModal() on it. In the interest of setting things up quickly, I threw together a React and Tailwind example that illustrates how you could create a small <ModalDialog/> component.


import { useRef } from 'react';
export function ModalDialog() {
const dialogRef = useRef();
function closeModal() {
function showModal() {
return (
className="fixed left-1/2 top-1/2 -ml-32 -mt-24 h-48 w-64 transform p-8"
className="rounded bg-slate-200 px-4 py-2 text-gray-900 transition-colors hover:bg-slate-400"
<p>Hello, I am a modal dialog!</p>
className="rounded bg-slate-200 px-4 py-2 text-gray-900 transition-colors hover:bg-slate-400"
Show the dialog

Hello, I am a modal dialog!


There are a TON of input types built into HTML these days that make collecting data from users a breeze. While I could list many examples, I think there are two types that really stick out to me as being able to replace complicated JavaScript libraries.

<input type="color">

The color input type is something I discovered at work while trying to fix a bug in our custom color picker logic. We were using an outdated package, that had not been maintained in years, and debugging it was proving very difficult.

While looking for alternatives, I happened to take a peek at the current input types that existed, and I was overjoyed to find type="color" as it was exactly what I needed!


<input type="color" />

<input type="date">

The date picker has plagued web developers since the dawn of web development itself. We all know we will probably need one for our applications, but there has never been a great one that handled all the necessary functionality, without bugs, worked well on mobile, and was customizable to fit the look and feel of our apps.

Enter the native HTML input type="date". This thing is amazing. It handles all the functionality you could ever want from a date picker, and since it is native will seamlessly fall back to native controls on mobile.

Pretty much the only downside is, since they are browser specific, there isn't much you can do to have a consistent look and feel across browsers. I would argue this shouldn't be a big deal though. Users are used to input controls matching the environment they are browsing in, so if they don't match your application, I think that is okay. Consistently working functionality is better than something that looks pretty, but is buggy any day of the week.


<input type="date" />

Wrapping up

Hopefully this has enlightened you to the power of native HTML solutions and will make you think twice about reaching for a library by default. What are some of your favorite HTML elements? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know! @RobbieTheWagner.