Closures in a for loop

Closures in a loop are causing me problems. I think I have to make another function that returns a function to solve the problem, but I can't get it to work with my jQuery code.

Here is the basic problem in a simplified form:

function foo(val) {
  alert(val);
}

for (var i = 0; i < 3; i++) {
  $('#button'+i).click(function(){
    foo(i);
  });
}

Naturally clicking on any of the three buttons will give an alert saying 3. The functionality I want is that clicking on button 1 will give an alert saying 1, button 2 will say 2 etc.

How can I make it do that?

Answers:

Answer

@Andy solution is the nicest. But you can also use Javascript scoping to help you save the value in your closure.

You do so by creating a new scope in your loop body by executing an anonymous function.

for (var i = 0; i < 3; i++) {
  (function(){
    var index = i; 
    $('#button'+index).click(function(){
      foo(index);
    });
  })();
}

Since the loop body is a new scope at each iteration, the index variable is duplicated with the correct value at each iteration.

Answer

Use the .each function from jquery - I guess you a looping through similar elements - so add the click using something like:

$(element).children(class).each(function(i){
   $(this).click(function(){
      foo(i);
   });
});

Not tested but I always use this kind structure where possible.

Answer

Or just manufacture a new function, as you describe. It would look like this:

function foo(val) {
    return function() {
        alert(val);
    }
}

for (var i = 0; i < 3; i++) {
    $('#button'+i).click(foo(i));
}

I'm pretty sure Mehrdad's solution doesn't work. When you see people copying to a temporary variable, it's usually to save the value of "this" which may be different within an inner child scope.

Answer

See the bind method.

$('#button'+i).bind('click', {button: i}, function(event) {
  foo(event.data.button);
});

From the docs:

The optional eventData parameter is not commonly used. When provided, this argument allows us to pass additional information to the handler. One handy use of this parameter is to work around issues caused by closures

Answer

Try this code:

function foo(val) {
  alert(val);
}

var funMaker = function(k) {
  return function() {
    foo(k);
  };
};

for (var i = 0; i < 3; i++) {
  $('#button'+i).click(funMaker(i));
}

Some important points here:

  • JavaScript is function scoped. If you want a new ('deeper') scope, you need to create a function to hold it.
  • This solution is Javascript specific, it works with or without jQuery.
  • The solution works because each value of i is copied in a new scope as k, and the function returned from funMaker closes around k (which doesn't change in the loop), not around i (which does).
  • Your code doesn't work because the function that you pass to click doesn't 'own' the i, it closes over the i of its creator, and that i changes in the loop.
  • The example could have been written with funMaker inlined, but I usually use such helper functions to make things clearer.
  • The argument of funMaker is k, but that makes no difference, it could have been i without any problems, since it exists in the scope of the function funMaker.
  • One of the clearest explanation of the 'Environment' evaluation model is found in 'Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs', by Sussman & Abelson (http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/ full text available online, not an easy read) - see section 3.2. Since JavaScript is really Scheme with C syntax, that explanation is OK.

EDIT: Fixed some punctuation.

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