html <button> vs.<input type=“button”/>. Which to use?




input type button onclick (12)

When looking at most sites (including SO), most of them use:

<input type="button" />

instead of:

<button></button>
  • What are the main differences between the two, if any?
  • Are there valid reasons to use one instead of the other?
  • Are there valid reasons to use combine them?
  • Does using <button> come with compatibility issues, seeing it is not very widely used?

Quote

Important: If you use the button element in an HTML form, different browsers will submit different values. Internet Explorer will submit the text between the <button> and </button> tags, while other browsers will submit the content of the value attribute. Use the input element to create buttons in an HTML form.

From : http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_button.asp

If I understand correctly, the answer is compatibility and input consistency from browser to browser


The short answer is that button behaves differently in IE6/7 versus other browsers, whereas input button behaves the same in all browsers.


<button>
  • by default behaves like if it had a "type="submit" attribute
  • can be used without a form as well as in forms.
  • text or html content allowed
  • css pseudo elements allowed (like :before)
  • tag name is usually unique to a single form

vs.

<input type='button'>
  • type should be set to 'submit' to behave as a submitting element
  • can only be used in forms.
  • only text content allowed
  • no css pseudo elements
  • same tag name as most of the forms elements (inputs)

--
in modern browsers, both elements are easily styleable with css but in most cases, button element is preferred as you can style more with inner html and pseudo elements


Just as a side note, <button> will implicitly submit, which can cause problems if you want to use a button in a form without it submitting. Thus, another reason to use <input type="button"> (or <button type="button">)

Edit - more details

Without a type, button implicitly receives type of submit. It does not matter how many submit buttons or inputs there are in the form, any one of them which is explicitly or implicitly typed as submit, when clicked, will submit the form.

There are 3 supported types for a button

submit ||  "submits the form when clicked (default)"
reset  ||  "resets the fields in the form when clicked"
button ||  "clickable, but without any event handler until one is assigned"

in addition, one of the differences can come from provider of the library, and what they code. for example here i'm using cordova platform in combination with mobile angular ui, and while input/div/etc tags work well with ng-click, the button can cause Visual Studio debugger to crash, surely by differences, that the programmer caused; note that MattC answer point to the same issue, the jQuery is just a lib, and the provider didn't think of some functionality on one element, that s/he provides on another. so when you are using a library, you may face an issue with one element, which you won't face with another. and simply the popular one like input, will mostly be the fixed one, just because it's more popular.


As far as CSS styling is concerned the <button type="submit" class="Btn">Example</button> is better as it gives you the ability to use CSS :before and :after pseudo classes which can help.

Due to the <input type="button"> visually rendering different to an <a> or <span> when styled with classes in certain situations I avoid them.

It's very worth noting the current top answer was written in 2009. IE6 isn't a concern now days so <button type="submit">Wins</button> styling consistency in my eyes comes out on top.


I just want to add something to the rest of the answers here. Input elements are considered empty or void elements (other empty elements are area , base , br , col , hr , img , input , link , meta , and param. You can also check here), meaning they cannot have any content. In addition to not having any content, empty elements cannot have any pseudo-elements like ::after and ::before, which I consider a major drawback.


I will quote the article The Difference Between Anchors, Inputs and Buttons:

Anchors (the <a> element) represent hyperlinks, resources a person can navigate to or download in a browser. If you want to allow your user to move to a new page or download a file, then use an anchor.

An input (<input>) represents a data field: so some user data you mean to send to server. There are several input types related to buttons: <input type="submit">, <input type="image">, <input type="file">, <input type="reset">, <input type="button">.
Each of them has a meaning, for example "file" is used to upload a file, "reset" clears a form, and "submit" sends the data to the server. Check W3 reference on MDN or on W3Schools.

The button (<button>) element is quite versatile:

  • you can nest elements within a button, such as images, paragraphs, or headers;
  • buttons can also contain ::before and ::after pseudo-elements;
  • buttons support the disabled attribute. This makes it easy to turn them on and off.

Again, check W3 reference for <button> tag on MDN or on W3Schools.


Quoting the Forms Page in the HTML manual:

Buttons created with the BUTTON element function just like buttons created with the INPUT element, but they offer richer rendering possibilities: the BUTTON element may have content. For example, a BUTTON element that contains an image functions like and may resemble an INPUT element whose type is set to "image", but the BUTTON element type allows content.


Use button from input element if you want to create button in a form. And use button tag if you want to create button for an action.


  • Here's a page describing the differences (basically you can put html into a <button></button>)
  • And another page describing why people avoid <button></button> (Hint: IE6)

Another IE problem when using <button />:

And while we're talking about IE, it's got a couple of bugs related to the width of buttons. It'll mysteriously add extra padding when you're trying to add styles, meaning you have to add a tiny hack to get things under control.


There is a big difference if you are using jQuery. jQuery is aware of more events on inputs than it does on buttons. On buttons, jQuery is only aware of 'click' events. On inputs, jQuery is aware of 'click', 'focus', and 'blur' events.

You could always bind events to your buttons as needed, but just be aware that the events that jQuery automatically is aware of are different. For example, if you created a function that was executed whenever there was a 'focusin' event on your page, an input would trigger the function but a button would not.







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