Simple barebones project to show share counts from various social networks.
JavaScript PHP Ruby
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Related: Filament Group Lab Post

The problems with social networking widgets are well documented. They're heavy and slow to load especially on high-latency mobile connections.

SocialCount is a small jQuery plugin for progressively enhanced, lazy loaded, mobile friendly social networking widgets.

  • Currently supports Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.
  • 2.98KB (without icons, after Min+GZip—compared to 309KB up front empty-cache pageload cost for Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus widgets)
  • 1 JS request, 1 CSS request, 1 optional request for icons, 1 optional AJAX request for counts (compared to 25 total requests for Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus widgets)
  • Easy to fit in with existing page design
  • Ability to share without JavaScript or before JavaScript has loaded.
  • Works with mouse, touchscreen, or keyboard.
    • Mouse: On hover, loads a social network's native widget so that the user can Like/Recommend/+1 without leaving the current page.
    • Touch screen: simple redirects to dedicated network share pages.
    • Keyboard: Concise tab order.
  • Option to conditionally display count if it's above a minimum threshold. Avoid goose egg ghost-town.
  • Intelligent client-side caching so that two or more widgets with the same share URL only make one AJAX request.
  • Requires jQuery 1.6+

SocialCount Demo

Getting Started

The following archive contains both minified (socialcount.min.js+socialcount.min.css) and unminified (socialcount.js+socialcount.css) versions of the JS and CSS required to use SocialCount.

SocialCount also has a version that packages the social networking icons as well. Use the regular socialcount.js with socialcount-with-icons.css or socialcount-with-icons.min.css and the included SD and HD image sprites.

The archive also contains the optional PHP service files for the AJAX request to retrieve the share counts (requires PHP 5 with curl). To enable this feature for your widget, use <ul class="socialcount" data-counts="true">.


Markup with icons:

Customize the sample markup below or use the provided markup generator.

<!-- Replace YOUR_CUSTOM_URL with the URL you're sharing -->

<ul class="socialcount" data-url="YOUR_CUSTOM_URL">

<li class="facebook"><a href="" title="Share on Facebook"><span class="icon icon-facebook"></span><span class="count">Like</span></a></li>

<li class="twitter"><a href="" title="Share on Twitter"><span class="icon icon-twitter"></span><span class="count">Tweet</span></a></li>

<li class="googleplus"><a href="" title="Share on Google Plus"><span class="icon icon-googleplus"></span><span class="count">+1</span></a></li>


Tested with

  • Chrome Desktop 23
  • Firefox 16
  • Opera 12
  • Safari 6
  • Internet Explorer 7 (Links Only)
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Internet Explorer 9

Touchscreens (Links Only)

  • BlackBerry 5
  • BlackBerry 6.1
  • BlackBerry 7
  • iOS 6
  • Chrome for iOS 21
  • Android 2.3
  • Windows Phone 7.5


Add unit tests for any new or changed functionality. Lint and test your JavaScript code using grunt and the grunt qunit command.

To test the PHP code, navigate to the service directory and run phpunit socialcount_service_test.php

Release History

  • v0.1.0 Initial release
  • v0.1.1 Fix for IE (tested up to 9) issue with iframes and :hover rules
  • v0.1.2 Default AJAX request for counts to false, added zip download, better documentation for counts service.
  • v0.1.3 Added code to normalize service url directory (easier configuration).
  • v0.1.4 Fix for twitter widget share of non-current page URL. Added data-share-text.


Copyright (c) 2012 Filament Group, developed by @zachleat. MIT licensed.