Infinite scrolling paging with JavaScript and a REST API

The infinite scroll layout is inspired by websites like Facebook and Twitter. This is just pagination where as the user scrolls to the bottom of the page, more content loads. This improves the user experience on the website by making sure there is more and more content on the page for users to read.

Performing infinite scroll pagination on the right

When infinite scrolling pagination is implemented, there are some really important points to remember.

Important links should not be at the bottom of the page. This is because every time the user tries to scroll down to find them, a new set of entries will be loaded. All important links should be pinned to a sidebar or kept permanently at the top.

2. Plan ahead

It’s important to plan ahead: where you want to include the pagination and how you will process it. A common way to do pagination is to list page numbers at the bottom of the page. Using the infinite scroll method, however, will no longer display page numbers at the end of the item list, as they are no longer needed. This layout can be used on all themes as long as you don’t include a lot of information in the footer section, as it may not give the desired effect.

In this tutorial we will learn how to implement the infinite scroll function in Javascript.

The page will display a list of fun facts about cats, which will come from an API. The API returns 10 fun facts by default. When you scroll to the bottom of the page, the application will display an indicator to indicate the loading status of the app. Meanwhile, the app will call the API to load the next batch of fun facts.

We will use this url to upload fun facts. The API accepts a query string: page which tells the API which page to load.

Now, let’s start with the application.

1. Create the project structure

First, create a folder with the following structure.

2. Create the HTML file

We will have several sections in our HTML file. A container, where the entire scrollable list of fun facts will be displayed. A quotes section for each fun fact. And there will be a loader, which will be visible when loading the curiosities. The loader it will be invisible by default.

3. Build the script

Next, we need to create a script, which will link with the div and load the fun fact. To achieve this, we will use the querySelector().

We also need a few control variables to define which set of elements will be shown on the screen. The control variables in this code snippet are:

  • currentPage: The current page is initialized to 1. When scrolling to the bottom of the page, the current page will be incremented by 1 and an API request will be made to get the content of the next page. When the page is scrolled up, the current page will be decremented by 1.
  • total: This variable stores the total number of mentions returned by the Fun Facts API.

4. Build the getFacts function

The role of getFacts function is to call the API and return the fun fact. The getFacts function takes a single argument: page. Use the Fetch API mentioned above to fetch data for infinite scrolling.

Fetch always returns a promiseso we will use the await-async syntax for receiving and processing the response. Take the json data, we will use the json() function. The getFacts function would return a promise, which it will resolve and return the JSON.

5. Build the showFacts function

Now that we’ve got the fun facts, where would we show them? This is why we must have a showFacts function. The showFacts function works by iterating through the facts Vector. Then use the template literal syntax for creating an HTML representation of a fact object.

A sample of the generated blockFact element is:

We use the appendChild function to add the <blockfact> element to container.

6. Show and hide the loading indicator

When the user reaches the bottom of the page, a loading indicator should be shown. For this, we will introduce two functions. One for loading and one for hiding the magazine. We would use opacity: 1 to show the loader. AND, opacity: 0 to hide the charger. Addition and removal opacity will show/hide the loader, respectively.

7. Check out more fun facts

To ensure performance, we will introduce a function that can check if the API has multiple facts. The hasMoreFacts() the function would return true if there are more items to recover. If there are no more items to fetch, the API calls will stop.

8. Encode the loadFacts function

The loadFacts The function is responsible for performing four important actions:

  • show or hide the loading indicator
  • call getFacts function to retrieve more facts.
  • show the facts

In one sense, a disadvantage of this implementation is its speed of execution. You won’t see the loading indicator, most of the time, because the API can come back really fast. If you want to see the loading indicator with every swipe, a setTimeout function can be used. By changing the delay of yours setTimeout the function will decide how long the loading indicator will be displayed.

9. Handle scroll events

When the user scrolls to the bottom of the page a scroll event handler you need to call the loadFacts function. The function will be called if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the parchment has reached the bottom of the page
  • there are more facts to load

To get the scroll event, we’ll use three window properties:

  • window.scrollHeight gives the height of the whole document
  • window.scrollY provides an account of how far the document has been scrolled by the user.
  • window.innerHeight gives the height of the visible window

The diagram below provides a better overview of the above properties. Also you will be able to understand that, if the sum of innerHeight And scrollY are also equal to or greater than scrollHeightthe end of the document is reached and it is at this point that more fun facts need to be loaded.

10. Initialize the page

The last step in our Infinite Scroll would be to initialize the page. It’s important to call loadFactsto load the very first batch of fun facts.

Live demonstration


Now, we’ve implemented a simple infinite scroll in Javascript, which will fetch and display fun facts about cats, every time the user scrolls. This is just one of the more commonly used methods for infinite scrolling.

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