Pass Parameters to Javascript Callback

| Comments

Callback functions are a nice feature of Javascript. It’s nice to be able to just use a function handle to show that it should be called when a certain something completes. Sometimes, however, we want to do more than just specify a function handle. We want to pass parameters. Why? Because sometimes the callback method cares about other data that was available before the original request. Here’s an example:

As a part of the same voting mechanism that I wrote about for this article on event handler parameter passing, I wanted to keep id and (vote) direction around for the callback, which was to update the UI.

First, I made an ajax call with jquery to make vote updates to the database, and on my way to the ajax call, I would save the id and direction in a global (bad) variable. This works, because later, I can reference it in my callback function, updateUI:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
var action = null;
var objectid = null;

function vote(id, direction) {
   action = direction;
   objectid = id;
   $.ajax({
     type: 'POST',
     url: '/hymn/' + id + '/vote/' + direction + '/',
     dataType: 'json',
     async: false,
     timeout: 15000,
     success: updateUI
   });
}

The next solution is a bit cleaner and makes us feel better about ourself. Instead of the global, a closure is used, in which we decorate the response object with new state (id and direction); and since the response object is passed by default into the ajax callback function, it’s available later by calling response.id or response.objectid:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
function vote(id, direction) {
   $.ajax({
     type: 'POST',
     url: '/hymn/' + id + '/vote/' + direction + '/',
     dataType: 'json',
     async: false,
     timeout: 15000,
     success: function (response) {
           response.action = direction
           response.objectid = id
           updateUI(response);
        }
   });
}

Sweet!

Comments