Advanced

Using jQuery’s .pushStack() for reusable DOM traversing methods

The .pushStack() method has been in jQuery since before version 1.0, but it hasn’t received a whole lot of attention outside of core developers and plugin authors. While its usefulness may not be immediately apparent, it can come in really handy in some situations, so I’d like to take a quick look at what it does, how it works, and how we can use it.

pushStack Basics

At its most basic level, the .pushStack() method accepts an array of DOM elements and “pushes” it onto a “stack” so that later calls to methods like .end() and .andSelf() behave correctly. (Side note: As of jQuery 1.4.2, you can pass in a jQuery object instead of an array, but that isn’t documented and jQuery itself always uses an array, so that’s what we’ll stick to here.)

Internally, jQuery uses .pushStack() to keep track of the previous jQuery collections as you chain traversing methods such as .parents() and .filter(). This lets us traverse through the DOM, do some stuff, “back up” to previous collections within the same chain using .end(), and then do something else. Here is a somewhat contrived example:

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Merging jQuery Deferreds and .animate()

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on danheberden.com.

jQuery’s .animate() method, and the shorthand methods that use it, are fantastic tools to create animations. Creating animations that link together to achieve a particular effect, and do something specific at the end of the animation, can be a painful, messy task. Luckily, we have .queue() for mashing animations together.

But what happens when you want to bridge the gap between ajax requests and animating? When you want to queue a bunch of animations, get data from the server, and handle it all at once, without a crap-load of nested callbacks? That’s when jQuery.Deferred() puts on its cape, tightens its utility belt, and saves the day.

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Making a jQuery Plugin Truly Customizable

Most if not all of the jQuery plugins out there have some level of customization. But very few of the plugin authors have mastered the very particular art involved.

Achieving the “optimum level” of customization is a bit of a balancing act… go too far either way and you’ve got an unusable plugin!

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Implementing Prototype’s Array Methods in jQuery

One of the biggest concerns I’ve heard mentioned from users of the Prototype library about jQuery is the lack of support for various array methods. The robust features Prototype provides for arrays is of great benefit to developers that do a lot of array manipulation in their JavaScript.

However, I find that after moving to jQuery, I do less array manipulation than I had done with Prototype. Perhaps jQuery has altered my development pattern so I no longer need array manipulation, or perhaps I have shifted most of my data manipulation to the server. Whatever the case, I have only on occasion missed the Prototype array methods.

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Peeling Away the jQuery Wrapper and Finding an Array

If you haven’t poked around under the hood of jQuery, you might not be aware that when you pass the jQuery function an expression or DOM element it places these elements (or, possibly a single element) into an object, and then this object is returned so that it can be chained. Without getting into the details of chaining, the fundamental concept to remember is this:

Most jQuery methods return the jQuery object itself, which allows methods to be chained.

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Working with Events, part 2

In my last article, I described the common problem of events seemingly ceasing to work for new elements added to a document, whether by some form of ajax or by DOM modification. We examined one way to overcome the problem: Event Delegation. With event delegation, we bind the event handler to a containing element that remains in the DOM and then check for the target of the event.

Cloning Nodes

This time, we’ll take a look at re-binding event handlers. But before we do, I should mention that, as of jQuery version 1.2, event handlers can be cloned along with elements. Consider this unordered list:

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