Homework 7 (ASCIImation) FAQ

Q: I am stuck. Nothing works. Help me!
A: Try doing these things:
  • W3C HTML/CSS validate your page first.
  • Make sure Firebug doesn't say any red error message text at bottom-right. If you don't have Firebug, install Firebug and never web program ever again without Firebug. Ever.
  • Put a JS alert at the top of your file and/or function and see if it shows up.
  • Run your JS code through JSLint and fix all errors.
  • Try the Firebug or Chrome console / debugger and see if you can step through and find the bug.
  • Set "use strict"; in your script and look for any errors.
Q: Why does it reload my page every time I click a button? (For example, it sets the text in the text area, then it clears it out right away and refreshes the page.)
A: Don't use a form tag on your page. If you do, it will treat any button click as an attempt to submit that form, which will refresh your page.
Q: Why doesn't it work whenever I try to set a style in JavaScript?
A: Don't forget to use a string with proper units, like "3em" or "20px". Try JSLint.
Q: Why doesn't the document.getElementByID function work?
A: One common bug is that the "D" in "ID" should be lowercase. It's document.getElementById.
Q: Why can't I get the text out of a textarea in my JS code?
A: Remember that it's stored as the value, not innerHTML, of the text area.
Q: Why doesn't my for or while loop for animation work?
A: Don't use a loop to produce animation. Use a timer with the setInterval function.
Q: The spec says to use setInterval to implement my timer, but I want to use setTimeout instead. Is that okay?
A: No. Using setTimeout would require you to keep setting timers over and over again, one to display each frame. This is inefficient for the browser. Use setInterval.
Q: I set my font size to be big, but the fonts on my form controls are still small. Why is that?
A: Normally when you set a style like a font-size on an outer tag, that style will be inherited by all of the tags inside it. But form controls ignore some settings from their parent, like font sizes. So you must explicitly tell your CSS rules to target those kinds of elements if you want the rules to apply to those controls.
Q: Why are all of my animation frames (except the first one) lowered down by 1 line?
A: Maybe you aren't using exactly the right delimiter to break apart the frames. Read the spec carefully.
Q: If the user starts, stops, and then starts the same animation again do you want the animation to begin where it left off before the user stopped it? Or should we begin the animation from the first frame?
A: It should start over.
Q: How do I examine or set the id or class properties of an HTML tag in JavaScript?
A: Look at the JS DOM object for the tag, and examine its .id or .className attributes respectively.
Q: How many global variables am I allowed to have?
A: A variable should only be global if you truly need its value across many functions (or many calls to a function), and if it can't be reasonably passed as a parameter, and if the value can't be discovered in some other reasonable way. For example, it is almost always bad form to store DOM objects (objects returned by functions like document.getElementById) in global variables, because you can easily access these objects again by calling document.getElementById again.
Q: Why doesn't this work? How can I pass a parameter to an onclick handler? document.getElementById("mybutton").onclick = myFunction(42);
A: If you write () or parameters when attaching an event handler, it actually calls the handler right there, rather than attaching it to be called later. But if you want parameters, you can do one of the following instead:
  1. document.getElementById("mybutton").onclick = f;
    function f() {
  2. // anonymous function; may be bad style
    document.getElementById("mybutton").onclick = function() {
Q: Why does my page work fine in Firefox but not in Chrome?
A: Browsers always have small incompatibilities between them. On this assignment, one issue we've seen is that when students try to make a global variable named frames, Chrome gets upset. If you've done that, please change the name of your variable.
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This document and its content are copyright © Marty Stepp, 2013. All rights reserved. Any redistribution, reproduction, transmission, or storage of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited without the author's expressed written permission.