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rated 0 times [  95] [ 4]  / answers: 1 / hits: 117274  / 11 Years ago, mon, april 15, 2013, 12:00:00

Before I paste any code, here's the scenario:

  1. I have an HTML document that creates an empty iframe using JavaScript

  2. The JavaScript creates a function and attaches a reference to that function to the iframe's document object (using to get a reference to the document)

  3. The function is then attached as an onload handler for the iframe's document (by writing <body onload="..."> into the iframe.

Now what has me stumped is that the global (window) and document objects inside the onload handler (while it's running) is different from the same objects run through JavaScript added via script nodes.

Here's the HTML:

<!doctype html>
var dom,doc,where,iframe;

iframe = document.createElement('iframe');

where = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
where.parentNode.insertBefore(iframe, where);

doc = iframe.contentWindow.document;

var _doc = document; {
// the window object should be the one that doc is inside
window.vanishing_global=new Date().getTime();

var js = this.createElement("script");
js.src = 'test-vanishing-global.js?' + window.vanishing_global;"foobar";
this.foobar="foobar:" + Math.random();
document.foobar="barfoo:" + Math.random();

// `this` should be the document object, but it's not
console.log("this == document: %s", this == document);
console.log("this == doc: %s", this == doc);

// the next two lines added based on @Ian's comment below
console.log("_doc == document: %s", _doc == document);
console.log("_doc == doc: %s", _doc == doc);

console.log("name: " + + "n" + "window.vanishing_global: " + window.vanishing_global + "ntypeof window.vanishing_global: " + typeof window.vanishing_global + "ndocument.foobar: " + document.foobar);
doc.write('<body onload="document._l();"></body>');

And here's test-vanishing-global.js:

console.log("name: " + + "n" + "window.vanishing_global: " + window.vanishing_global + "ntypeof window.vanishing_global: " + typeof window.vanishing_global + "ndocument.foobar: " + document.foobar);


Put these two files into a directory, and open the HTML in a browser (tested in latest Chrome and Firefox, same result in both).

This is the output I get:

this == document: false
this == doc: true
_doc == document: true
_doc == doc: false

name: foobar
window.vanishing_global: 1366037771608
typeof window.vanishing_global: number
document.foobar: barfoo:0.9013048021588475

window.vanishing_global: undefined
typeof window.vanishing_global: undefined
document.foobar: foobar:0.5015988759696484

The this object inside the handler should be either the document object. It is a document object, but not the same document object as the document that it runs inside (it's also not the same as the parent document). The window object inside the handler is also not the same as the window object that runs in JavaScript loaded in the page.

So finally my question:

Does anyone know what's going on, and how I can either get a reference to the actual window object, or at least declare and reference global variable from the same global context?


There are no cross-domain issues with this iframe since they're on the same domain. There is an issue if someone sets document.domain, but that's not being done in this example code.

More From » html


You're declaring everything in the parent page. So the references to window and document are to the parent page's. If you want to do stuff to the iframe's, use iframe || iframe.contentWindow to access its window, and iframe.contentDocument || iframe.contentWindow.document to access its document.

There's a word for what's happening, possibly lexical scope: What is lexical scope?

The only context of a scope is this. And in your example, the owner of the method is doc, which is the iframe's document. Other than that, anything that's accessed in this function that uses known objects are the parent's (if not declared in the function). It would be a different story if the function were declared in a different place, but it's declared in the parent page.

This is how I would write it:

(function () {
var dom, win, doc, where, iframe;

iframe = document.createElement('iframe');
iframe.src = javascript:false;

where = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
where.parentNode.insertBefore(iframe, where);

win = iframe.contentWindow || iframe;
doc = iframe.contentDocument || iframe.contentWindow.document;;
doc._l = (function (w, d) {
return function () {
w.vanishing_global = new Date().getTime();

var js = d.createElement(script);
js.src = 'test-vanishing-global.js?' + w.vanishing_global; = foobar;
d.foobar = foobar: + Math.random();
d.foobar = barfoo: + Math.random();
})(win, doc);
doc.write('<body onload=document._l();></body>');

The aliasing of win and doc as w and d aren't necessary, it just might make it less confusing because of the misunderstanding of scopes. This way, they are parameters and you have to reference them to access the iframe's stuff. If you want to access the parent's, you still use window and document.

I'm not sure what the implications are of adding methods to a document (doc in this case), but it might make more sense to set the _l method on win. That way, things can be run without a prefix...such as <body onload=_l();></body>

[#78892] Sunday, April 14, 2013, 11 Years  [reply] [flag answer]
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