how does a function in a loop which returns another function work

how does a function in a loop which returns another function work  using -'I've,been,trying,to,assign,a,function,to,onclick,event,of,a,dynamically,created,"a",tag,in,JavaScript.,All,of,the,tags,are,created,in,a,loop,as,follows:





asked Sep 22, 2015 by tushar2k6
edited Sep 22, 2015 by rajesh
0 votes

3 Answers

0 votes

When you assign the function to the click handler, a closure is created.

Basically a closure is formed when you nest functions, inner functions can refer to the variables present in their outer enclosing functions even after their parent functions have already executed.

At the time that the click event is executed, the handler refers to the last value that the i variable had, because that variable is stored on the closure.

As you noticed, by wrapping the click handler function in order to accept the i variable as an argument, and returning another function (basically create another closure) it works as you expect:

for ( var i = 0; i < 4; i++ ) {
  var a = document.createElement( "a" );
  a.onclick = (function(j) { // a closure is created
    return function () {
  document.getElementById( "foo" ).appendChild( a );

When you iterate, actually create 4 functions, each function store a reference to i at the time it was created (by passing i), this value is stored on the outer closure and the inner function is executed when the click event fires.

I use the following snippet to explain closures (and a very basic concept of curry), I think that a simple example can make easier to get the concept:

// a function that generates functions to add two numbers
function addGenerator (x) { // closure that stores the first number
  return function (y){ // make the addition
    return x + y;

var plusOne = addGenerator(1), // create two number adding functions
    addFive = addGenerator(5);

alert(addFive(10)); // 15
alert(plusOne(10)); // 11
answered Sep 22, 2015 by sachin valanju
0 votes

Without going into too much detail this essentially creates copies of the instance variables by wrapping them in a function that executes immediately and passes the back to the function that will be executed when the element gets clicked.

Think of it like this:

function() { alert(i); }  // Will expose the latest value of i
(function(I) { return function() { alert(I); }; })(i); // Will pass the current
                                                       // value of i and return
                                                       // a function that exposes
                                                       // i at that time

So during each iteration of the loop you are actually executing a function that returns a function with the current value of the variable.

Which, if you imagine that you have 4 anchors in your loop you are creating 4 separate functions that can be visualized as..

function() { alert(0); };
function() { alert(1); };
function() { alert(2); };
function() { alert(3); };

I would consider looking into scope and closures with javascript as if you go down this road and don't understand exactly what is happening you can run into massive problems from unexpected behavior.

answered Sep 22, 2015 by sachin wagh
0 votes

When the onclick event is triggered, the anonymous function is called and it refers to the same variable i that was used in the loop and it holds the last value of i, that is 4.

The solution to your problem is to use a function returning a function:

a.onclick = (function(k) {return function() { alert(k); }; })(i);
answered Sep 22, 2015 by rolvyrf