What is uCount?

uCount is a small but configurable jQuery plugin that can be used to attach live character counters to text inputs and textareas.

Do I need a plugin?

If you know how to code it, then no, you obviously don't. But as simple as it might seem, live character count updating is actually slightly tricky. The text input will not trigger an onupdate event until it loses focus and you have to rely on keyboard events instead. These, in turn, don't include events such as cutting and pasting.

So if you prefer to avoid all the hassle, uCount is ready to use.

Anything important I should know about it?

Apart from the fact that it's useful and just works? I might mention that uCount relies on the code responsible for detecting changes in the contents of textareas and text inputs that was actually created by ZURB.

How do I use it?

Download it, for a start. It's free and open source software, so there are no fees involved. You may want to have a look at the readme file included with the download.

Include jQuery 1.7 or later, and afterwards, uCount. From now on, attaching counters to text inputs and textareas is as easy as this:

$("input[type=text], textarea").uCount();

The Usage and API reference sections contain all the details about the use of uCount.