Play and Pause Buttons for YouTube and Vimeo Videos (via Their APIs)

Published by Chris Coyier

Sometimes you just need to start a video playing by some user interaction on the page other than clicking right on that video itself. Perhaps a "Play Video" button of your own creation lives on your page and you want to start that video when that button is clicked. That's JavaScript territory. And if that video is a YouTube or Vimeo video, we'll need to make use of the APIs they provide. No problem.

For these examples, we'll assume you've already picked out a video and you're going to put it on the page in an

For YouTube

1. Make sure the iframe src URL has ?enablejsapi=1 at the end

Like this:

<iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FKWwdQu6_ok?enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen id="video"></iframe>

I also put an id attribute on the iframe so it will be easy and fast to target with JavaScript.

2. Load the YouTube Player API

You could just link to it in a <script>, but all their documentation shows loading it async style, which is always good for third-party scripts, so let's do that:

// Inject YouTube API script
var tag = document.createElement('script');
tag.src = "//www.youtube.com/player_api";
var firstScriptTag = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
firstScriptTag.parentNode.insertBefore(tag, firstScriptTag);

3. Create a global function called onYouTubePlayerAPIReady

This is the callback function that the YouTube API will call when it's ready. It needs to be named this.

function onYouTubePlayerAPIReady() {

}

It's likely you have some structure to your JavaScript on your page, so generally I'd recommend just having this function call another function that is inside your organizational system and get going on the right track right away. But for this tutorial, let's just keep it soup-y.

4. Create the Player object

This is the object that has the ability to control that video. We'll create it using the id attribute on that iframe in our HTML.

var player;

function onYouTubePlayerAPIReady() {
  // create the global player from the specific iframe (#video)
  player = new YT.Player('video', {
    events: {
      // call this function when player is ready to use
      'onReady': onPlayerReady
    }
  });
}

Another callback!

5. Create the "player ready" callback and bind events

We named this function when we created the player object. It will automatically be passed the event object, in which event.target is the player, but since we already have a global for it let's just use that.

Here we bind a simple click event to an element on the page with the id #play-button (whatever custom button you want) and call the player object's playVideo method.

function onPlayerReady(event) {
  
  // bind events
  var playButton = document.getElementById("play-button");
  playButton.addEventListener("click", function() {
    player.playVideo();
  });
  
  var pauseButton = document.getElementById("pause-button");
  pauseButton.addEventListener("click", function() {
    player.pauseVideo();
  });
  
}

All Together Now

And that'll do it! Here's a demo:

See the Pen Play Button for YouTube by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier) on CodePen.

I used a little SVG templating in there for the buttons just for fun.

For Vimeo

1. Make sure the iframe src URL has ?api=1 at the end

<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/80312270?api=1" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen id="video"></iframe>

I also put an id attribute on the iframe so it will be easy and fast to target with JavaScript.

2. Load the "froogaloop" JS library

The Vimeo player API actually works by sending commands through postMessage right to the iframe. You don't need the froogaloop library to do that, but postMessage has some inherent complexities that this library (by Vimeo themselves) makes way easier. Plus it's only 1.8kb so I'd recommend it.

<script src="froogaloop.min.js"></script>

3. Create the player object

var iframe = document.getElementById('video');

// $f == Froogaloop
var player = $f(iframe);

We target the iframe by the id attribute we added. Then we create the player using the special froogaloop $f.

4. Bind events

All we have to do now is call methods on that player object to play and pause the video, so let's call them when our play and pause buttons are clicked.

var playButton = document.getElementById("play-button");
playButton.addEventListener("click", function() {
  player.api("play");
});

var pauseButton = document.getElementById("pause-button");
pauseButton.addEventListener("click", function() {
  player.api("pause");
});

All Together Now

That'll do it for Vimeo. Here's a demo:

See the Pen Pause / Play Buttons for Vimeo Videos by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier) on CodePen.


You can do much more with the APIs for both of these services. It can be pretty fun, just dive in!