Monthly Archives: February 2014

Event Namespacing: It’s A Good Idea

If you’re a web developer and use jQuery chances are you have had, or will have, the need to attach event handlers to your page elements.

With jQuery you can do this in a number of ways .on, .bind, directly with .click (blur, mouseout, etc…), and more.  For more information regarding adding handlers and removing them see the jQuery API documentation.

A quick example using .bind:

$( "selector" ).bind( "click", function() {
//do something;

And if you ever needed to remove your handler you could do something like:
$( "selector" ).unbind( "click");

This is all very simple and works great.  However, what if you need to remove a specified handler?  For example, if you’re writing a plugin and need to remove only the plugin’s custom handlers.

Both jQuery functions .off and .unbind allow you to pass in the method signature to remove the specified handler. However, this requires you to maintain a reference to the handler which may not be ideal.

This is where event namespacing can come in handy.  Adding a namesspace to your handler when you attach it allows you to safely remove it later without removing all event handlers of the same type.

Here are the same bind and unbind methods using a namespace:

$( "selector" ).bind( "click.mynamespace", function() {
//do something;

$( "selector" ).unbind( "click.mynamespace");

Namespaces gives you the flexibility to unbind specific event handlers while maintaining the ability to unbind by event type or all handlers at once.  It can also be used in the same way to trigger a specific event handler.  And it’s a good practice to easily identify custom event handlers, especially when developing plugins.

Simple Method for Adding Tooltips

There is no shortage of plugins and techniques for adding tooltips to elements on your website.  I’ve used a lot of them, and most work pretty good.  However, I have found some to be a little cumbersome and bit of overkill.  Here’s an example of a very simple jQuery solution that I’ve used in a number of cases for selects and inputs.

Take for example the following HTML:

Which of course will render as:

With just a few lines of jQuery and a little CSS we can add a tooltip to each of these inputs that will open on hover.


Now hover over the input and you’ll get the following:

How it works:

The jQuery simply binds the hover function to the inputs which creates the event listeners for mouseout and mouseover for each input.

On mouseover a span is added to the DOM after the target element.  Notice it uses the width and position of the target element to calculate the placement of the span.

On mouseout the span is located using the class as a selector and removed from the DOM.

The CSS can really be whatever you want for style purposes.  What is important is the position and z-index.  Depending on the makeup of the other elements on your page you’ll need the position set to absolute to enforce the location of the span that is created on hover.  And, I like to use a high z-index so that the help text will appear above any near by elements.

If you like this method and want to use it with more flexibility for positioning I created a plugin called Easytip.  You can find more information on the plugin and download it here.

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