Tag Archives: jquery

jQuery Logo

Creating jQuery Plugins

Update: I was able to get permission to release the iScroll plugin! Check it out here.

Not too long ago I decided to write a jQuery plugin for making the use of iScroll a little less painful. Since I made the plugin at work I’m not really at liberty to share it. But what I can share is a step by step tutorial for creating a jQuery plugin of your own. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Scope

If you’ve been writing Javascript with jQuery for any amount of time, you find out pretty quickly that proper scoping is very important. You also learn that the $ symbol isn’t reliable. So what’s a coder to do? Make sure that your scope is contained within an anonymous function, and that you pass the jQuery object into that function.

(function($) {
	console.log($(document).jquery);
})(jQuery);

If you paste this code into your console (assuming jQuery is included), you should receive a print out of what version of jQuery you’re using.

Step 2: Functions

Now that you have the basic wrapper written, we need to write some real code. Before we start, there are 3 things you need to know.

  1. Functions are attached to the $.fn object.
  2. There may be more than one element passed into your function (plugin)
  3. We want to keep the chain alive if possible. (See jQuery Chaining if you have questions)

So, let’s write a function that adds the class “bob” to every item in the set. Yes, we could just use the .addClass() method, but then we wouldn’t need to write a plugin would we?

(function($) {
	$.fn.addBob = function() {  //Add the function
		return this.each(function() { //Loop over each element in the set and return them to keep the chain alive.
			var $this = $(this);
			$this.addClass("bob");
		});
	};
})(jQuery);

Step 3: Options

So let’s say you need to pass some options to your plugin. You know, like Bob’s last name, or if we should remove Bob. To accomplish this, all you do is create a defaultOptions object and load it with defaults. Then you use the $.extend function to overwrite it’s values with values passed in as a function parameter.

(function($) {
	$.fn.addBob = function(customOptions) {  //Add the function
		var options = $.extend({}, $.fn.addBob.defaultOptions, customOptions);
		return this.each(function() { //Loop over each element in the set and return them to keep the chain alive.
			var $this = $(this);
 
			//Determine what name to use.
			var name = "";
			if(options.lastName != "") {
				name = "bob-" + options.lastName;
			} else {
				name = "bob";
			}
 
			//Are we removing items?
			if(options.remove) {
				$this.removeClass(name);
			} else {
				$this.addClass(name);
			}
		});
	};
 
	$.fn.addBob.defaultOptions = {
		lastName : "",
		remove : false	
	};
})(jQuery);

Step 4: Running your plugin

Now that you’ve written your plugin, you need to run it!
Before

<ol id='x'>
	<li></li>
	<li></li>
</ol>
<ol id='y'>
	<li></li>
	<li></li>
</ol>

JS

	$("#x li, #y li").addBob({lastName: "awesome"});

After

<ol id='x'>
	<li class='bob-awesome'></li>
	<li class='bob-awesome'></li>
</ol>
<ol id='y'>
	<li class='bob-awesome'></li>
	<li class='bob-awesome'></li>
</ol>

JS

	$("#y li").addBob({lastName: "awesome", remove: true});

After

<ol id='x'>
	<li class='bob-awesome'></li>
	<li class='bob-awesome'></li>
</ol>
<ol id='y'>
	<li></li>
	<li></li>
</ol>

That’s all there is to it. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

jQuery Logo

jQuery Chaining

jQuery is the jewel in the crown that is web development. Once you discover it, Javascript is no longer a chore to write, hell, it might even be considered fun! Sure being able to select elements by ID, class, or type is great, but what about all the other stuff? What about chaining? I’ve heard such great stuff about it!

Chaining

The first thing you need to know about chaining is that you chain actions on to collections. A collection is what is returned when you select something using jQuery.

$("input");  //Collection of all input elements on the page.

When most people start using jQuery, they do something like this:

$("input").val("123");
$("input").addClass("awesome");
$("input").attr("data-bind", "15");

Yes, this code will work, but it’s inefficient. Every time you perform a selection, jQuery must traverse the DOM and find all the input elements. If you use chaining, it will simply use the collection of input elements that it already has.

$("input")
	.val("123")
	.addClass("awesome")
	.attr("data-bind", "15");

So why does this work? Because each method that you call in the chain returns the collection. So in this case “val()”, “addClass()”, and “attr()” all return “$(input)”. However, not all methods support chaining. For instance, the “text()” method breaks the chain, so if you’re going to use it, do it at the end.
What if you want to keep the chain alive though? No problem. You can simply back-out of the destructive action using the “end()” method.

Before

<ol id='mylist'>
	<li>
	</li>
	<li>
	</li>
	<li>
	</li>
</ol>

Javascript

$('#mylist')
	.find('>li')
		.filter(':last')
			.addClass('Meow')
		.end()
		.filter(':first')
			.addClass('Mix')
		.end()
		.addClass('catfood')
	.end()
	.addClass('thelist');

After

<ol id='mylist' class='thelist'>
	<li class='Mix catfood'>
	</li>
	<li class='catfood'>
	</li>
	<li class='Meow catfood'>
	</li>
</ol>

While sometimes confusing, you can see that chaining is often the most efficient way to handle modifying the DOM.

Writing Chainable Plugins/Functions

Now that you know all about chaining, you’ll probably want to write your own chainable plugins/functions. It’s very easy to do this, since all you need to do is return the jQuery object at the end of the function.

In this example, we’ll write a plugin that attaches a second counter to an element.

Plugin

(function($) {
	$.fn.count = function() {
		return this.each(function() {  //We do an 'each', because the collection may have more than one item in it.
			var self = $(this);  //
			self.html('0');
			var theInterval = window.setInterval(function() {
				var c = parseFloat(self.text());
				self.html(c + 1);
			}, 1000);
		});
	}
}) (jQuery);

HTML

<div>
	<span id='test'></span>
</div>

Execution

$("#test").count().parent().addClass('counters'); //Chaining still works :)

jQuery Map Function

Sometimes when you are making a web application you neeed to search some data. A lot of the time, it exists as an array in memory. I recently came across such a problem on a Phonegap project I’m working on. The app has to work offline, so my sorting needed to take place in Javascript. Since we’re using jQuery with this app, I decided to play with jQuery’s Map function. Map takes your array and performs an operation over each value in it. This was super handy in my case because it allowed me to search through my data at fast pace, without having to make an ajax call out to my database to do a search with MySQL.

Example:

var searchTerm = $("#searchField").val().toUpperCase();
var results = $.map(self.defaultProductList, function(product,i) {
	if(product.name.toUpperCase().search(searchTerm) != -1) {
		return product;
	}
});

searchTerm is the value that I’m searching for. .map takes an array as it’s first argument, and then a function as it’s second. I created an anonymous function that checks to see if the search term is in the current object. If it is, I return the value so it can be added to the final array. All in all, an excellent way of searching through data when you don’t have the luxury of a database to query.

CoffeeScript with WebSQL and jQuery

Lately I’ve developed a distaste for Javascript.  I like what Javascript has done for the web, but I hate the syntax.  I hate that there are little “Gotch Ya!”‘s all over the language.  I don’t have to worry about that too much anymore though since I’ve started using CoffeeScript.  If you interested in learning more about it, check out the official web site, and then my “Getting Started” guide.

Now that I’ve had a chance to dive in to CoffeeScript a bit more, I’ve started to integrate what I’m doing with other features and libraries to see what I can create.  For work I’ve been using a lot of WebSQL and jQuery, so that was the first place I took my new found CoffeeScript powers to.

Using jQuery with CoffeeScript is really, really, easy.  For instance, let’s say we want to Ajax a page into an array:

$.get("mypage.html", (data) -&gt;
    myArray.push data
)

The syntax changes just a hair, but overall it looks a lot cleaner.

As mentioned previously, the other thing I’ve been doing a lot at work recently was working with WebSQL.  It’s been dropped by the W3C, but Webkit has implemented it already so it’s here to stay.  Anyways, CoffeeScript makes WebSQL a little more palatable.

#Start a transaction
db.transaction( (tx) -&gt;
    query = "SELECT * FROM table"
    tx.executeSql(query, [], (tx, results) -&gt;
        rLength = results.rows.length
        for(i=0; i &lt; rLength; i++)
            alert results.rows.item(i).someColName
    )
)

With WebSQL and CoffeeScript, the syntax doesn’t change a ton, but I like the look of it better without the braces.

Another feature that I wanted to share with out about CoffeeScript is it’s equivalent to PHP’s key, value loop construct.  In PHP, it would look like:

foreach($key =&gt; $value as $myArray) {
    //do stuff
}

In CoffeeScript, the equivalent is:

for own key, value of myArray
    #Do stuff.

The benefit of the CoffeeScript version is that it can loop over object properties as well, not just arrays.  If you have any other cool features or examples of CoffeeScript usage, drop a link (or example) into the comments.

Form Ajax : How to Create and Submit a Form Using Ajax

For the longest time, web developers were stuck submitting their forms in the normal way: Click a button, go to a processing page, redirect back.  However, now it is possible to submit a form without ever leaving the page with Ajax.  Ajax stands for Asynchronous JavaScript, which as stated before, basically means you can submit a form without ever leaving the page.

So how do you use form Ajax? First of all, we’re going use a JavaScript library called jQuery.  Don’t be scared of it though, jQuery makes JavaScript easy.  What jQuery allows us to do is use form Ajax without having to muck around with all the tedious JavaScript details (which trust me, is a GOOD thing).   Without further a due, here is how to submit a form with Ajax.

To download the full working code for this, click here.

Form Ajax Step 1:  The HTML Page.

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<html>
<head>
<title>Form Ajax Tutorial</title>
<script type="text/javascript" src="jquery-1.4.2.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
//After the document has loaded, it adds the following handlers
//to the web page.
$(document).ready(function() {
//When the form with id="myform" is submitted...
$("#myform").submit(function() {
     //Send the serialized data to formProcessor.php.
     $.post("formProcessor.php", $("#myform").serialize(),
     //Take our repsonse, and replace whatever is in the "formResponse"
     //div with it.
    function(data) {
          $("#formResponse").html(data);
     }
);
return false;
});
});
</script>
<head>
<body>
<h2&gt;Form Ajax Tutorial</h2>
<p&gt; Fill out some information &lt;/p>
<form id="myform">
<input type="text" name="firstName" value="" /><br />
<input type="text" name="lastName" value="" /><br />
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit" />
</form>
<div id="formResponse">
</div>
</body>
</html>

For anyone who is used to HTML programming, this should all look very familiar.  The only confusing part is the JavaScript, but I’ll explain that here.  The first bit just includes the jQuery library.  This is crucial for form ajax to work.  The rest of the function is explained below:

  • $(document).ready() – This will add handlers to your web page only after the entire page has loaded.
  • $().submit() – This will catch the click of the submit button so that it doesn’t submit the form the normal way, but the Ajax way instead.
  • $().post() – This is the part that sends out data to the processing file.  It also has a callback function that will modify our page to contain data that the processing file sent back.
  • $().serialize() – Takes our form data and puts it into an easy to parse format.

Form Ajax Step 2:  The Processing Page

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<?php
//Get the information that was sent from the form.
$firstName = $_POST['firstName'];
$lastName = $_POST['lastName'];
 
//Get the unix time stamp.
$unixTimeStamp = time();
 
//Print output for out web page to catch.
echo "Hello $firstName $lastName.  The local unix time is <b>$unixTimeStamp</b>";
?>

The processing page is very important for making form ajax work correctly.  What this file does is catch the data sent by the form, and then prints out some information.  The form is waiting for this information, and then will add it to your page.  Note:  This file is a .PHP file.  You need to be running a web server (or have access to one) that can process php files.

Form Ajax Step 3:  You’re Done!

Form Ajax used to be pretty difficult, but now that their are JavaScript libraries like jQuery, MooTools, and Scriptaculous, it’s easier than ever.  To download the full working code for this example, click here.