Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
2011-10-29
  Bad references
You would think you could use the web for working with Javascript. You'd be partially right.

There's lots of stuff to get your started. Lots of examples too. But thanks to minification, reading existing javascript source is getting a little more difficult. Worse for the novice however is the "magic" that libraries use. They're not very understandable to the mere mortal. I've been reading through spin.js which is less than 300 lines, and that includes three different ways of doing a spinner: css animations, setTimeout() opacity cycling, and VML for IE. But its full of css magic, and very short functions names.

I was trying to decompose it, and I remembered that there is another function similar to setTimeout(). setTimeout() calls the function once, and then spin.js anim() function calls again each time it completes its work. The other variant calls a function repeatedly at a prescribed interval.

At first I couldn't remember the second function, so I went looking on the web. I was certain that some reference for setTimeout() would mention the other version. If there is a page that connects them though, I sure couldn't find it. Thankfully, I not only remembered that there is this other version, but I finally remembered that I had used it in one of my projects to poll the address bar, when onhashchange is not defined. The function is setInterval(). When I went back to w3 schools, it was declared in the general list of window methods, but not associated in any way with setTimeout() or anything Timer based.

Blah.

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