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Avoiding errors when using querySelector() in vanilla JS

One feature people like about jQuery is that it often fails silently.

You can, for example, try to get an element in the DOM and add a class to it, and if that element doesn’t exist, nothing happens.

// No errors

If you try to do that with vanilla JS, you’ll get an error.

// Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'classList' of null

This may seem like a bug, and in a production site, it can be.

But… with jQuery’s silent errors, you could be trying to manipulate a critical element on your page and not realize it doesn’t exist. Debugging becomes harder.

I think explicit errors are a feature of vanilla JS, not a bug.

To prevent the Uncaught TypeError above, set your element to a variable, check that it exists, and then manipulate it.

// No errors
var elem = document.querySelector('#this-element-does-not-exists');
if (elem) {