mouse event helper - maps touch events to mouse events, and provides "smart" click functionality
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Mottle is a simple event manager that takes care of a few bits and pieces I would often run into during development jsPlumb and the jsPlumb Toolkit. Briefly, its features are:

  • automatic mapping of mouse events to their touch equivalents on touch enabled devices
  • "smart" click handling: not posting a click event if the mouse has moved between mousedown and mouseup
  • simulation of contextmenu events for touch devices
  • tap/dbltap events (touch and mouse devices)
  • event delegation
  • mouseenter and mouseexit event support
  • event triggering

Browser Support

Currently, all desktop browsers and iOS devices are supported, and most browsers for Android work.

Touch Event Shims

As of M69, Chrome has stopped supporting document.createTouch and document.createTouchList, and other browser vendors will be doing this in their upcoming releases too. All versions of Mottle prior to 1.0.0 relied on those methods for touch events; 1.0.0 does not.

Mottle was written primarily as the event manager for jsPlumb, so any version of jsPlumb (Toolkit or Community edition) that has a pre-1.0.0 version of Mottle will run into problems with touch events at some stage. The minimum versions of jsPlumb that contain Mottle 1.0.0 are:

  • Toolkit : 1.9.0
  • Community: 2.8.0

but if you cannot upgrade to one of these versions, you can include the touch-shim.js file included in the root of this project. It provides shims for the document.createTouch and document.createTouchList methods.

Basic Events

The following events can be bound, using the on function:

  • mousedown
  • mouseup
  • mousemove
  • click
  • dblclick
  • mouseover
  • mouseout
  • contextmenu
  • tap
  • dbltap
  • mouseenter
  • mouseexit
var m = new Mottle();
m.on("someElementId", "click", function(e) { ... });
m.on(someElement, "mouseout", function(e) { ... });

Smart clicks

The smart click handler provides click and dblclick events that are not fired if the mouse has moved between mousedown and mouseup (the default browser functionality is to fire a click even if the mouse has moved). This handler works by registering a single mousedown, mouseup and click event handler on any element for which a smart click (or dblclick) event has been registered. The down and up handlers store the mouse position. The click handler checks to see if these two positions are identical, and if they are, the event is fired. The handler maintains a list of click listeners and a separate list of dblclick listeners, and whenever a click or dblclick should be fired, these lists are iterated and each function in them is fired one by one. Of course if you register a click or dblclick on some element that has already been configured for smart clicks, the handler is just added directly to the appropriate existing list, at which time its index in the list is stored as the __taSmartClickIndex property on the function itself.
Then, if the user unbinds the given function, we have a hook to remove it from the list, which prevents memory leaks.

To enable smart clicks, you set it on Mottle's constructor:

var m = new Mottle({ smartClicks:true });
m.on("someElementId", "click", function(e) { ... });

Synthesized mouseenter/mouseexit

Mouseenter and mousexit are proprietary Internet Explorer events that are kind of useful, and for that reason Mottle offers a wrapper for them in other browsers. The basic concept is that the event only fires when the mouse enters or exits the exact element on which the listener was bound. This differs from the mouseover/mouseout events, which are fired on some element regardless of whether the event occurred on that specific element or on one of its descendants. For this, a mouseout and a mouseover listener are registered on the element on which you wish to bind to mouseenter/mouseexit. Then, an object is set on the element that contains a flag indicating whether the mouse is currently over the element, along with a list of mouseenter and mouseexit listeners. When a mouseover event is fired - remember they are fired by the element and all of its descendants - the target is checked. If it is the element itself and the over flag is not set, then a mouseenter has occurred, and all the mouseenter listeners are fired. A complication with this simple explanation is that these handlers work with event delegation - so in fact at any point in time there may be multiple elements on which the mouse is considered to have entered. but you needn't worry about that.
To determine mouseexit, we test, in the mouseout listener, whether the event target is one of the elements that mouse is currently over, and if so, whether the "related target" (the element to which the mouse has gone) is NOT a descendant of that element. If both of these conditions are true then we have a mouseexit.

"Tap" events

On mobile devices it can take a while for a click event to fire, and there is no contextmenu event. Mottle provides a synthesized version of click - tap, which works by starting a timer on touchstart and then firing the tap event if touchend occurs before the timer stops. Support for dbltap is also included, as is support for a synthesized contextmenu event (for which Mottle looks for a touchstart+touchend combination using two fingers).

Given that the tap and dbltap events fallback to standard clicks on a mouse controlled device, it makes sense to bind to tap where you may have historically bound to click.

Touch Event Mapping

On touch devices, Mottle maps mouse events to their touch equivalents, allowing you to bind to mousedown, mouseup and mousemove in your code and be confident it will still work on a touch device. This is achieved through a simple mapping of event name: when you register a mousedown listener, it is actually bound as a touchstart, for example. There are some devices on the market that are both touch and mouse devices; for those, the event listener is simply bound to both the mouse event you asked for, and its touch equivalent.

The three basic touch events are mapped in this way:

  • touchstart -> mousedown
  • touchend -> mouseup
  • touchmove -> mousemove



var mottle = new Mottle( { OPTIONAL PARAMS } );

Allowed constructor parameters are:

  • smartClicks If true, will not report click events if the mouse has moved between mousedown and mouseup.
  • clickThreshold Amount of time, in milliseconds, inside of which a mousedown should be followed by a mouseup in order to be considered as a click in a touch device. Default is 150ms.
  • dblClickThreshold Amount of time, in milliseconds, inside of which two consecutive clicks must occur in order to be considered a double click in a touch device. Default is 250ms.

Event Binding

To directly bind an event handler on some element, use on:

mottle.on(someElementOrSelector, "click", aFunction);
mottle.on(someElementOrSelector, "dblclick", anotherFunction);	

To subsequently unbind, use off. Note you have to supply the original function:, "dblclick", anotherFunction);

Event Delegation

To have some element act as an event handling delegate for some set of its child elements, provide a child selector as the second argument to on:

mottle.on(someElementOrSelector, ",", "click", aFunction);

To remove the event delegation, again use off:, "click", aFunction);

Note that the off function does not take a list of selectors as argument. It removes all event delegation for the set of child selectors with which the given function was registered.

Removing Elements

If you need to remove an element from the DOM and you've used an instance of Mottle to bind event handlers to that element, you should use Mottle's remove method to take care of the element's removal: it not only removes the element, but it first unbinds any event listeners, to avoid memory leaks.

To remove the div with ID 'main', for instance:


To remove all divs with class "foo":