dac3799 Sep 4, 2016
@ai @whitequark @Termina1 @kimmobrunfeldt @kud
334 lines (241 sloc) 9.69 KB

Visibility.js Build Status

Visibility.js is a wrapper for the Page Visibility API. It hides vendor prefixes and adds high level functions.

Page Visibility API allows you to determine whether your web page is either visible to a user or hidden in background tab or prerendering. It allows you to use the page visibility state in JavaScript logic and improve browser performance by disabling unnecessary timers and AJAX requests, or improve user interface experience (for example, by stopping video playback or slideshow when user switches to another browser tab).

Moreover, you can detect if the browser is just prerendering the page while the user has still not opened the link, and don’t count this as a visit in your analytics module, or do not run heavy calculations or other actions which will disable the prerendering.

Page Visibility API is natively supported by all browsers. For old browsers you can use lib/visibility.fallback.js with focus/blur hack (note that this hack has an issue: when browser just lose focus but still visible for user, its state will change to [hidden]).

Sponsored by Evil Martians


Документация на русском:


Currently the Page Visibility API supports three visibility states:

  • visible: user has opened the page and works within it.
  • hidden: user has switched to another tab or minimized browser window.
  • prerender: browser is just prerendering a page which may possibly be opened by the user to make the apparent loading time smaller.


The main use case for this library is to enable some of the times only when content is visible to the user, i.e. the ones animating a countdown animation.

Visibility.every(interval, callback) is similar to setInterval(callback, interval), but calls callback every interval ms only if the page is visible. For example, let’s create a countdown timer:

Visibility.every(1000, function () {

You can provide an additional interval which will be used when the page is hidden. In next example, a check for inbox updates will be run every 1 minute for a visible page and every 5 minutes for a hidden one:

var minute = 60 * 1000;
Visibility.every(minute, 5 * minute, function () {

Visibility.every returns a timer identifier, much like the setInterval function. However, it cannot be passed to clearInterval, and you should use Visibility.stop(id) to stop the timer.

var slideshow = Visibility.every(5 * 1000, function () {

$('.stopSlideshow').click(function () {

If the browser does not support the Page Visibility API, Visibility.every will fall back to setInterval, and callback will be run every interval ms for both the hidden and visible pages.


Another common use case is when you need to execute some actions upon a switch to particular visibility state.

Waiting until the page becomes visible

Visibility.onVisible(callback) checks current state of the page. If it is visible now, it will run callback, otherwise it will wait until state changes to visible, and then run callback.

For example, let’s show an animated notification only when the page is visible, so if some user opens a page in the background, the animation will delay until the page becomes visible, i.e. until the user has switched to a tab with the page:

Visibility.onVisible(function () {

If a browser doesn’t support Page Visibility API, Visibility.onVisible will run the callback immediately.

Wait until the page is opened after prerendering

A web developer can hint a browser (using Prerendering API) that an user is likely to click on some link (i.e. on a “Next” link in a multi-page article), and the browser then may prefetch and prerender the page, so that the user will not wait after actually going via the link.

But you may not want to count the browser prerendering a page as a visitor in your analytics system. Moreover, the browser will disable prerendering if you will try to do heavy computations or use audio/video tags on the page. So, you may decide to not run parts of the code while prerendering and wait until the user actually opens the link.

You can use Visibility.afterPrerendering(callback) in this cases. For example, this code will only take real visitors (and not page prerenderings) into account:

Visibility.afterPrerendering(function () {

If the browser doesn’t support Page Visibility API, Visibility.afterPrerendering will run callback immediately.

Low-level API

In some cases you may need more low-level methods. For example, you may want to count the time user has viewed the page in foreground and time it has stayed in background.

Visibility.isSupported() will return true if browser supports the Page Visibility API:

if( Visibility.isSupported() ) {

Visibility.state() will return a string with visibility state. More states can be added in the future, so for most cases a simpler Visibility.hidden() method can be used. It will return true if the page is hidden by any reason. For example, while prerendering, Visibility.state() will return "prerender", but Visibility.hidden() will return true.

This code will aid in collecting page visibility statistics:

$(document).load(function () {

    if ( 'hidden' == Visibility.state() ) {
    if ( 'prerender' == Visibility.state() ) {


And this example will only enable auto-playing when the page is opening as a visible tab (not a background one):

$(document).load(function () {

   if ( !Visibility.hidden() ) {;


Using Visibility.change(callback) you can listen to visibility state changing events. The callback takes 2 arguments: an event object and a state name.

Let’s collect some statistics with this events approach:

Visibility.change(function (e, state) {

Method change returns listener ID. You can use it to unbind listener by Visibility.unbind(id):

var listener = Visibility.change(function (e, state) {
    if ( !Visibility.hidden() ) {

VideoPlayer.onFinish(function () {

Methods onVisible and afterPrerendering will also return listener ID, if they wait visibility state changes. If they execute callback immediately, they return true if Page Visibility API is supported and false if they can’t detect visibility state.

var listener = Visibility.onVisible(function () {

notification.onOutOfDate(function () {
    if ( typeof(listener) == 'number' ) {



Visibility.js is shipped with 4 files:

  • visibility.core – core module.
  • visibility.timersevery and stop methods to set setInterval depend on visibility state.
  • visibilityvisibility.core and visibility.timers together.
  • visibility.fallback – fallback for browser without Page Visibility API. It use document focus/blur events, so document become to be hidden, when browser just lose focus, but still visible for user.


Visibility.js is available by Bower package manager:

bower install --save visibilityjs


Available by NPM:

npm install --save visibilityjs

Ruby on Rails

For Ruby on Rails you can use gem for Assets Pipeline.

  1. Add visibilityjs gem to Gemfile:

    gem "visibilityjs"
  2. Install gems:

    bundle install
  3. Include Visibility.js in your

    #= require visibility

    If you willn’t use every method, you can reduce library size by including only core module:

    #= require visibility.core


If you don’t use any assets packaging manager use cdnjs. Add to your site:

<script src="//"></script>


If you need just a files, you can take already minified packages from


  1. To run tests you need node.js and npm. For example, in Ubuntu run:

    sudo apt-get install nodejs npm
  2. Next install npm dependencies:

    npm install
  3. Run all tests:

    npm test
  4. Run test server, to check code in real browsers:

    ./node_modules/.bin/cake server
  5. Open tests in browser: localhost:8000.

  6. Also you can see real usage example in integration test test/integration.html.