jQuery: How to extract a tag from an HTML response


Making a website, and using ajax for some things. Sometimes things fail and return custom error pages. I made them to be helpful, but since you can only see them in the browser developer console, they were a bit of a hassle to look at.

To read the error much easier, I figured I could just parse the returned HTML, extract the message I knew was there, and insert it into the page that way.

And you'd think the following would work fine:

$(document).ajaxError(function (event, jqxhr, settings, error) {
  // Find the message in the response HTML
  var m = $(jqxhr.responseText).find('#message')

  // Except .find() doesn't find anything

  // And we replace our DOM with nothing

But... no... apparently, since the response was a complete HTML page, i.e. including <html>, <head> and <body> tags, jQuery was getting a bit tricked up when trying to parse it. Actually not sure if it's jQuery or the native browser parsing behind that's causing it, but where there's a will, there's a way:

$(document).ajaxError(function (event, jqxhr, settings, error) {
  // Find the inner HTML of the body tag
  var body = /<body.*>([\s\S]+)<\/body>/.exec(jqxhr.responseText)

  // Parse the HTML
  body = $.parseHTML(body[1])

  // Append the HTML to a non-special root tag
  body = $('<output>').append(body)

  // And *now* we can finally find our message
  var message = body.find('#message')

  // And add it to our DOM