Client-Side Coding with JavaScript:



  • stands for Document Object Model
    • "Document" = HTML page
      • also works for XML
    • "Object Model" = way of describing page elements
      • tags, attributes, styles, text, etc.
  • Mostly standard
    • but there are some browser differences
  • Core DOM objects
    • Node, Element, Text, Comment, Attr


  • stands for Browser Object Model
  • global window variable has lots of nice properties
    • window.location
    • window.navigator
    • window.history
    • window.screen
    • window.frames
    • window.document -- hey, look! it's the DOM
  • methods too
    • open(), close()
    • moveTo(), sizeTo()
    • alert(), prompt(), confirm()
    • setTimeout(), setInterval()

window vs. document

  • document is the page
  • window is the stuff around the page
  • Kinda the same, but kinda different

    window === document
    // => false
    window.location === document.location
    // => true

window is magic

  • window.location = ""
    • makes the browser load a new page
  • global JS functions are properties of window

    window.x = 7;
    x === 7; // true
    y = 9;
    window.y === 9 // works in reverse too
  • core JS functions are methods of window

    parseInt('123')         // same
    window.parseInt('123')  // thing

Locating HTML Elements

  • the hard way
    • traverse the document tree using DOM Node methods
  • the somewhat easier way
    • document.getElementsByTagName('p')[0]
  • the easy way
    • document.getElementById('article')
  • the awesome way
    • $('#article')
    • jQuery + CSS Selectors FTW!


  • dollar sign, like underscore, is a valid symbol name
  • jQuery (and some other libraries) define $ as a function that's like a souped-up getElementById
    • unfortunately, the object $ returns is not an Element, but a wrapper
    • somewhat different API

Adding HTML

  • brute force (raw HTML strings)

    document.write("<p id='message'>hi</p>");  // :-( this freaks out Firebug Console
    var message = document.getElementById('message');
    message.innerHTML = "<b>bye</b>!";

Altering HTML Elements

  • Look at DOM reference

the style property

  • acts like a hash with properties for most CSS attributes
  • CSS uses dashes; JavaScript uses camelCase = "#FF0000";

the "px" problem

  • CSS position and layout attributes need a unit
  • the default is not "px"

    • except sometimes it works
    • which is worse than never working = "10px";

  • here's a handy helper method

    Number.prototype.px = function() {
        return "" + this + "px";
    (5).px(); // "5px"
    x = 10;
    x.px();   // "10px"
  • here's a trick for reading "px" values



  • You pass in a function (let's call it F) and a number (call it N)
  • Execution returns immediately
  • F gets called approximately N milliseconds later
    • not exact, but close enough for simple animation
  • F is known as a callback
    • because the system calls it back at some later point
    • callbacks are used all over the place in JavaScript
    • events, Jasmine tests, jQuery, node.js, ...

Wait a second... did you say ANIMATION???!?!

  • Animating HTML is very exciting

    function slide(element) { = "fixed";
        var x = 0;
        function step() {
            if (x > 1000) {
                // stop the animation
            } else {
       = x.px();
                x += 10;
                // schedule the next animation
                setTimeout(step, 100);
        step();  // start animation

Scoping note: step is available inside the function itself because we defined it with a name, not anonymously.

see animate.html for a live example

jQuery Animation

  • jQuery has some fun methods to animate CSS attributes

        backgroundColor: "#aa0000"
    }, 1000 );
    • You choose the attribute(s) and their final value, plus the duration of the entire effect
    • jQuery calculates and interpolates the details
  • jQuery UI has lots more

Testing Animation

  • Use a "Mock Clock"
    • replace setTimeout with a different function during tests
    • this function keeps track of what would be called when
    • then "ticks" forward when asked
    • you can simulate speeding up and slowing down time
  • In Jasmine:

    beforeEach(function() {
    //... call the code that calls setTimeout
    jasmine.Clock.tick(500); // advance 500 msec


  • When a user does something, it generates an event
    • e.g. click on a button
    • the target is the element that was affected
    • the event is an object describing the details
    • the listener is a function you wrote
  • "listener" is just another name for "callback" (for events)
    • also called "handler"

How do I hook thee up? Let me count the ways.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Event Name Gotcha

  • the name of the property is not camelCase
  • the property name starts with "on" but the event name does not include "on"

Event Binding

  1. assign a string to the onwhatever property in HTML

    <div onclick='alert("hi")'>hi</div>
  2. assign a function to the onwhatever property in JS

    <div id='hi'>hi</div>
    div = document.getElementById('hi');
    div.onclick = function() {
        return false;
* gotcha: can only attach a single listener
  1. call the addEventListener method in JS

    div.addEventListener('click', function() {
* gotcha: in IE, you must use `attachEvent` instead
  1. use jQuery's bind method

    $('#hi').bind('click', function() {
  2. use jQuery's convenience method for standard event types

    $('#hi').click(function() {
* gotcha: if you call `click()` with no parameters, it *triggers* a click

return false

  • if the event listener returns false, all further processing stops
  • usually used to stop a form from actually submitting after a handled submit event

Many event types

  • Mouse
    • mousedown, mouseup, click
    • mouseover
  • Keyboard
    • keydown, keypress, keyup
  • Window
    • load, unload, beforeunload
    • ready (jQuery only)
    • abort, error
    • resize, scroll, contextmenu
  • Form
    • focus, blur
      • blur is the stupidest name ever in the history of stupid
      • should have been "unfocus" or "losefocus"
    • change, select
    • submit, reset

Headless DOM

  • TODO: headless horseman image
  • env.js is a simulated browser environment written in JavaScript
  • good for automated testing (e.g. continuous integration box)



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