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Event properties

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What is the type of the event?

This is the only question with a true cross-browser answer: use the typeproperty to read out the type:

 

Which HTML element is the target of the event?

w3c/Netscape says: the target. No, says Microsoft, the srcElement. Both properties return the HTML element the event took place on.

 

The last two lines of code are especially for Safari. If an event takes place on an element that contains text, this text node, and not the element, becomes the target of the event. Therefore we check if the target'snodeType is 3, a text node. If it is we move to its parent node, the HTML element.

Which key has been pressed?

This one is rel atively easy. First get the code of the key (a = 65) from thekeyCode property.

When you’ve read out the key code, send it through the methodString.fromCharCode() to obtain the actual key value, if necessary.

 

Which mouse button has been clicked?

There are two properties for finding out which mouse button has been clicked: which and button. Please note that these properties don’t always work on a click event. To safely detect a mouse button you have to use the mousedown or mouseup events.

which is an old Netscape property. Left button gives a value of 1, middle button (mouse wheel) gives 2, right button gives 3. No problems, except its meager support (and the fact that it’s also used for key detection).

Now button has been fouled up beyond all recognition. According to W3C its values should be:

  • Left button – 0
  • Middle button – 1
  • Right button – 2

According to Microsoft its values should be:

  • Left button – 1
  • Middle button – 4
  • Right button – 2

No doubt the Microsoft model is better than W3C’s. 0 should mean “no button pressed”, anything else is illogical.

Besides, only in the Microsoft model button values can be combined, so that 5 would mean “left and middle button”. Not even Explorer 6 actually supports this yet, but in the W3C model such a combination istheoretically impossible: you can never know whether the left button was also clicked.

In my opinion W3C has made some serious mistakes in defining button.

Right click

Fortunately you most often want to know if the right button has been clicked. Since W3C and Microsoft happen to agree on this one and givebutton a value of 2, you can still detect a right click.

 

Please note that, although Macs have only one mouse button, Mozilla gives a Ctrl–Click a button value of 2, since Ctrl–Click also brings up the context menu. iCab doesn’t yet support mouse button properties at all and you cannot yet detect a right–click in Opera.

Mouse position

As to the mouse position, the situation is horrible. Although there are no less than six mouse coordinates property pairs, there is no reliable cross–browser way to find the mouse coordinates relative to the document we need.

These are the six property pairs — see also the Event compatibility tables or the W3C DOM Compatibility - Events page.

  1. clientX,clientY
  2. layerX,layerY
  3. offsetX,offsetY
  4. pageX,pageY
  5. screenX,screenY
  6. x,y

I explained the problem, W3C’s vagueness and the use of pageX/Y andclientX/Y in my slightly outdated Evolt article.

The screenX and screenY properties are the only ones that are completely cross–browser compatible. They give the mouse position relative to the entire computer screen of the user. Unfortunately this information is completely useless: you never need to know the mouse position relative to the screen — well, maybe only if you want to place another window at the mouse position.

The other three property pairs are unimportant. See the W3C DOM Compatibility - Events page for a description.

Correct script

This is the correct script for detecting the mouse coordinates:

 

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