The ultimate framework for building and validating responsive HTML5 forms.
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Ideal Forms logo

Ideal Forms is the ultimate framework for building and validating responsive HTML5 forms.


  • Fully responsive (AKA adaptive, adapts to the container, no css media queries needed)
  • Keyboard support
  • Every input type can be customized including select, radio, checkbox and file
  • Custom datepicker using jQuery UI (with fallback)
  • "On the spot" validation
  • Localization



  • Add flags to grunt build and fix globalFlags not loading.

Update history




  • Help localizing Ideal Forms in other languages.

Table of contents:


  • Load jQuery library
  • Load js/min/jquery.idealforms.min.js plugin
  • Load css/jquery.idealforms.css stylesheet
  • Load jQuery UI for datepicker support
  • Replace your document's opening <html> tag with the following conditional comments. This will load the appropiate fixes for all supported IE versions:
<!--[if IE 8]> <html class="ie8" lang="en"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 9]> <html class="ie9" lang="en"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if (gt IE 9)|!(IE)]><!--> <html lang="en"> <!--<![endif]-->
  • Load an HTML5 shim for IE8 unless you're using Modernizr which already has a shim.
  • To localize Ideal Forms in your language, load the corresponding file from js/i18n after loading the plugin.
  • Finally, call Ideal Forms on each form separately. Assign each form to a variable to have access to the public methods.
var $myform = $('#my-form').idealforms({ options }).data('idealforms');


For Ideal Forms to work its magic create your markup using the following template as a reference, nothing fancy, just the usual form tags wrapped in a <div>. Drop the form into a container of any size and Ideal Forms will do the rest.

<form id="my-form">

  <!-- TAB -->
  <section name="First tab">

    <!-- Heading -->
      <h1>My Heading</h1>
      <p>Description here</p>

    <!-- Text -->
    <div><label>Username:</label><input type="text" name="username"/></div>
    <div><label>Date:</label><input type="text" name="date" class="datepicker" placeholder="mm/dd/yy"/></div>
    <div><label>Comments:</label><textarea name="comments"></textarea></div>

    <!-- File -->
    <div><label>File Upload:</label><input type="file" multiple name="file"/></div>

    <!-- Select -->
      <select name="colors">
          <option value="default">Choose a color</option>
          <option value="Red">Red</option>
          <option value="Blue">Blue</option>
          <option value="Green">Green</option>

  </section> <!-- END TAB -->

  <!-- TAB -->
  <section name="Second tab">

      <h1>My Heading</h1>
      <p>Description here</p>

    <!-- Checkbox -->
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="langs[]" value="English"/>English</label>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="langs[]" value="Chinese"/>Chinese</label>
      <label><input type="checkbox" name="langs[]" value="Spanish"/>Spanish</label>

    <!-- Radio -->
      <label><input type="radio" name="options" value="One"/>One</label>
      <label><input type="radio" name="options" value="Two"/>Two</label>
      <label><input type="radio" name="options" value="Three"/>Three</label>

  </section> <!-- END TAB -->

  <!-- Separator -->

  <!-- Buttons -->
    <button type="submit">Submit</button>
    <button id="reset" type="button">Reset</button>


The name attribute will be used in the plugin's options to add filters to each input. This provides a lot of flexibility and the possibility to create custom errors, and tweak the filter's values.

Alternatively, for very simple forms, you can do it "the easy way" and just add the filters to the data-ideal attribute.

<form id="my-form">
  <div><label>Username:</label><input type="text" name="username" data-ideal="required username"/></div>
  <div><label>Password:</label><input type="text" name="password" data-ideal="required pass"/></div>
  <div><label>E-Mail:</label><input type="text" name="email" data-ideal="required email"/></div>


  • If you're working with dynamic fields check documentation on addFields.
  • If you want to add custom elements to the form always wrap them in a div with class ideal-wrap.



Add all the inputs you want to validate here. Use the name attribute of the input as key. To be consistent always put the key in quotes. Array group names can be used too, ie. name[].

  • filters: A space separated string of filters.
  • data: Filters that take values can be specified in here. Check documentation on Filters for more info.
  • errors: Use the filter name as the key value and add your custom error. You can use inline HTML tags within the error string.
  • flags: Flags are simply functions that run when an input tries to validate. See documentation on Flags.
inputs: {
  // The name attribute of the input in quotes
  'myinput': {
    filters: 'required min',
    data: { min: 10 },
    errors: { min: 'At least 10 characters' },
    flags: 'noclass noinvalidicon'


List the flags that you want to apply to all inputs.

globalFlags: 'noerror noicons'


onSuccess: function(e) {
  // Form validates


onFail: function(){
  // Form does NOT validate


By default, Ideal Forms will make the form "adaptive". It will adapt to the container allowing it to work with any responsive grid system. You can change this behavior by assigning a number value to the responsiveAt option.

// Make responsive only at a certain window size.
// Default is `"auto"` to adapt to the container
// Set to `false` to disable responsiveness
// To always show the responsive layout use a large number ie `3000`
responsiveAt: 480


Disables custom inputs and uses system default so you can use other replacement plugins.

disableCustom: 'file select radiocheck button'



The field is required. This filter ONLY works with text inputs (text, password, textarea). For select use exclude to exclude the default option. For radio and checkbox use min: 1 which will require at least one option to be checked.


Must be a number.


Only digits.


Only numbers within a range. Usually combined with number or digits.

'myinput': {
  filters: 'number range',
  data: { range: [ 1, 100 ] }


Must be at least 3 characters long, and must only contain letters.


Must be between 4 and 32 characters long and start with a letter. You may use letters, numbers, underscores, and one dot (.)


Must be at least 6 characters long, and contain at least one number, one uppercase and one lowercase letter.


Must be at least 8 characters long and contain at least one uppercase and one lowercase letter and one number or special character.


Must be a valid e-mail address.


Must be a valid US phone number.


Must be a valid US zip code.


Must be a valid URL.


Must be a valid date. This filter effectively validates a date, so stuff like 02-31-2012 or 30/80/2000 would be invalid. You can use any format with 4 digit year and any delimiter character. The default format is mm/dd/yyyy.

'myinput': {
  filters: 'date',
  data: { date: 'dd-mm-yyyy' } // or `yyyy~dd~mm` or `mm*yyyy*dd`

To use the datepicker you need to load jQuery UI and add the class datepicker to your date input. Ideal Forms will apply the custom format that you specify without having to configure the datepicker. It's seamless.


Must be a valid date of birth in this century, that is 100 years range from the current year.

'myinput': {
  filters: 'dob',
  data: { dob: 'yyyy/dd/mm' }


  • Must be at least x characters minimum.
  • Must have at least x checkboxes checked.
'myinput': {
  filters: 'min',
  data: { min: 10 }


  • x characters maximum.
  • No more than x checkboxes checked.
'myinput': {
  filters: 'max',
  data: { max: 10 }


  • Prevent validation if the value matches any value in the given array.
  • Use this filter to exclude the default (usually first) option of a select input.
'myinput': {
  filters: 'exclude',
  data: {
    // Always an array even if just one value
    // Values are case-sensitive
    exclude: ['one', 'two', 'three']


The value must match a value of another input.

'myinput': {
  filters: 'equalto',
  data: { equalto: '#myid' } // You can use any valid jQuery selector


This filter is designed for file inputs. It supports multifile in HTML5 browsers.

'myinput': {
  filters: 'extension',
  data: { extension: [ 'jpg', 'png' ] } // Always array even if just one


Validate a response from the server. The ajax filter must be added at last after all other filters.

This method is a light wrapper around $.ajax, so any parameter valid in jQuery's $.ajax is also valid in Ideal Forms' ajax except success and error because they are set up automatically but you can use _success and _error instead.

In most cases passing the url should be enough. The server will receive the value of the input in $_POST[inputname]. The default dataType is json. Ideal Forms handles success and error from the server. The field will switch to loading status if the response takes some time to come back. Here's an example in PHP:


$usernames = array('mike', 'john', 'louis', 'james'); // Unavailable usernames, usually from a database
sleep(2); // Simulate delay from the server to see loading status
echo json_encode(!in_array($_POST['username'], $usernames));


'username': {
  filters: 'required username ajax',
  data: {
    ajax: { 
      url: 'validate.php',
      _success: function( resp, text, xhr ) {
        // The request was succesful
      _error: function( xhr, text, error ) {
        // The request failed  
      // Other $.ajax methods
  errors: {
    ajax: {
      success: 'Username not available.',
      error: 'Sorry, there was an error on the server. Try again later.'


Flags are custom functions that you can run on an input whenever a validation event is triggered.

  • noerror: hide the error from the input
  • noicons: hide the icons
  • novalidicon
  • noinvalidicon
  • noclass: no valid/invalid class
  • novalidclass
  • noinvalidclass

Adding custom filters and flags:

Ideal Forms registers global objects for filters and flags so you can extend it with your own custom object to add more features.

Custom filters:

$.extend( $.idealforms.filters, {
  custom: {
    regex: /regularexpression/,
    error: 'My custom error'
  another: { 
   * @param {Object} inputData Contains the jQuery input as [input] and 
   * the user options set by the user on that input as [userOptions]
   * @param {String} value The value of the input
    regex: function ( inputData, value ) {
      var $input = inputData.input
      var userOptions = inputData.userOptions
      var this.error = 'Something ' + value

Custom flags:

$.extend( $.idealforms.flags, {
   * @param {jQuery} input jQuery input object
   * @param {String} event The event that was triggered on the input: focus, blur, change, keyup
  custom: function( input, event ){
    if ( event === 'keyup' ) { 
      console.log( input.val() )



Override the options of the form after being initialized.

chainable: yes

var myOps = {
  onFail: function() { // override onFail option
    alert('It failed!')
  inputs: {
    'number': { filters: 'number' } // add new input to validate
$myform.setOptions( myOps )

All options are exposed on $myform.opts so you can manually edit them if needed. Make sure to reload the form when doing this.

Note: The disableCustom option cannot be modified after initialization.


Override the options of a particular field.

chainable: yes

$myform.setFieldOptions( 'username', { filters: 'username' } )


Check if the form is valid.

chainable: no

if ( $myform.isValid() ) {
  // do something...


Check if a particular field is valid. The function takes a string. Ideal Forms will look for the name attribute first and then for the id. You can use array group names for groups of checkboxes.

chainable: no

if ( $myform.isValidField('username') ) { // name="username" OR #username
  // do something...
if ( $myform.isValidField('colors[]') ) { // name="colors[]"
  // do something...


Get all invalid fields. Returns a jQuery object.

chainable: yes (but it doesn't return the form, just the invalid fields)

var numInvalid = $myform.getInvalid().length // How many invalid fields


Get all invalid fields within a tab.

chainable: yes (but it doesn't return the form, just the invalid fields)

var numInvalidTab = $myform.getInvalidInTab('My Section').length


Add fields to the form dynamically. It takes an array of objects or a single object. Ideal Forms auto-generates the markup for inputs fields based on the type specified.

chainable: yes

  • name (required): The value used as name attribute.
  • label (required): The label text.
  • type (required): text, password, email, number, url ,tel, file, select, radio, checkbox and textarea.
  • value: The value attribute of the field. Check list to add values to options.
  • addBefore: Insert the new field before an existing field. Takes a string. Ideal Forms will look for name first and then id.
  • addAfter: Insert the new field after an existing field.
  • appendToTab: Insert the new field at the end of a section. Takes a string.
  • list: Array of items for select, radio and checkbox. Use this format item::value to specify the value attribute.
  • placeholder: The placeholder for text inputs. Use exclude for select menus.
  • filters, data, errors, flags: Check docs on inputs.
var newFields = [
    name: 'animals',
    label: 'Animals',
    type: 'radio',
    list: ['Dog', 'Elephant', 'Crocodile', 'Spider'],
    addAfter: 'email'
    name: 'zip',
    label: 'Zip Code',
    filters: 'required zip',
    type: 'text',
    addBefore: 'password'
    name: 'instruments',
    label: 'Instruments',
    filters: 'exclude',
    data: { exclude: ['default'] },
    errors: { exclude: 'Please select an instrument' },
    type: 'select',
    list: [
      'Select an instrument::default',
    appendToTab: 'My Section'
$myform.addFields( newFields )


Remove fields from the form dynamically. Ideal Forms will look for the name attribute first and then id.

chainable: yes

$myform.removeFields([ 'username', 'password', 'email' ])


Hide or show fields. When the fields are hidden they will be excluded from the validation process.

$myform.toggleFields([ 'username', 'password', 'email' ])


Focus the very first field. If there are tabs it will focus the very first field within the current tab.

chainable: yes



Focus the first invalid field.

chainable: yes



Change tab by name or index.

chainable: yes

$myform.switchTab('My Section') // case insensitive
$myform.switchTab(2) // zero based index


Go to next tab.

chainable: yes



Go to previous tab.

chainable: yes



Go to first tab.

chainable: yes



Go to last tab.

chainable: yes



Reset all fields to zero including checkboxes, radios, and selects.

chainable: yes

$myform.reset() // Reset all


Reset particular fields.

chainable: yes

$myform.resetFields([ 'username', 'password', 'email' ])


Load the form as if it was never focused. This removes valid and invalid classes until first focus.

chainable: yes



"Freshen" particular fields.

chainable: yes

$myform.freshFields([ 'username', 'password', 'email' ])


Re-attach events and re-adjust the form. Use this method when modifying the html or when manually editing the options of the form.

chainable: yes

$myform.reload().fresh() // Usually combined with `fresh()`


With the Markup provided you'd call the plugin like this:

var options = {
  inputs: {
    'username': {
      filters: 'required username exclude',
      data: { exclude: ['user', 'username', 'admin'] }
    'date': { filters: 'date' },
    'comments': {
      filters: 'min max',
      data: { min: 50, max: 200 }
    'colors': {
      filters: 'exclude',
      data: { exclude: ['default'] },
      errors: { exclude: 'Choose a color from the list.' }
    'langs[]': {
      filters: 'min',
      data: { min: 2 },
      errors: { min: 'Check at least <strong>2</strong> languages.' }
    'options': {
      filters: 'min'
      data: { min: 1 },
      errors: { min: 'Check only <strong>1</strong> option.' }

var $myform = $('#my-form').idealforms( options ).data('idealforms');


Ideal Forms relays on a carefully crafted LESS stylesheet. Everything is customizable, from the simplest text input, to the select menus, radios, and checkboxes.

Here's a list of all the Ideal Forms UI elements that can be customized: tabs, labels, headings, separators, icons, errors, text inputs, buttons, select dropdowns, radios, checkboxes, datepicker... Really, ANYTHING.

User config:

All user options are located in less/themes/theme/theme.less. You can safely edit all values from the "user config". The "extra" options must be edited wisely since most of the variables here are relative to other variables defined elsewhere.

The names of the user config variables are pretty self-explanatory. If you screw up you can always go back. When you finish editing the user config don't forget to load your theme in less/jquery.idealforms.less and compile into css.


The overall font size. Usually adjusting this option should be enough in most cases. Keep in mind that the bigger the font, the bigger the icons need to be. Ideal Forms will try to align everything as close as possible, but it's recommended that the icons are aprox. the same size as the font-size.


Ideal Forms uses a smaller font-size for button, select, radio, checkbox and file. This makes UI elements stand out more and feel more integrated. Change to 100% to use the default font-size.


Adjust this option if the form doesn't quite fit your container. It's recommended to use this format @font-size * number. All inputs will have the width set here but you can change the width of any particular input by targeting its id. This won't affect the responsive layout.

#comments { width: 200px; }


Align labels to either left or right.


Most of the time auto will work just fine but if you have really long label names then it's a good idea to tweak this value.


Width of every border property. Usually there's no need to change the default value of 1px unless you want a "thick" border look, suitable for some occasions. box-shadow properties depend on this option.


Radius for round corners.


true or false to enable or disable css3 animations (transitions).


true or false to enable or disable css3 box-shadow and gradients.

Enjoy :)

Update History:


  • Prevent modifier keys ( ctrl, meta, super... ) in select menu to avoid regexp error.


  • Refactor custom file because of bug that prevented IE from submitting the file.


  • Fix serious bug in _adjust that caused weird behaviors with some methods.


  • Setup grunt.js
  • Massive refactoring and cleanup


  • Remove placeholder polyfill. It was buggy and unfinished. Check for better polyfills here
  • Re-organize and cleanup validate method
  • Restore flags, big regression, ooops!
  • Fix some undefined errors with non-existent flags and filters


  • New ajax filter
  • Sprite for validation icons


  • Better number filter


  • use data-ideal instead of class
  • cleanup and optimize radiocheck.js
  • fix datepicker undefined error
  • fix duplicated tabs with multiple forms