Mouse motion events

A "mousemove" event fires every time when the mouse pointer moves. I useful to track the position of the mouse. A common situation in which this is useful is when implementing some form of mouse-dragging functionality.

As an example, it will be useful when implementing mouse-dragging functionality. Below program displays a bar and sets up event handlers so that dragging to the left or right on this bar makes it narrower or wider.

<p>Drag the bar to change its width:</p>
<div style="background:orange;width:60px;height:20px"></div>

var lastX; //Tracks the last observed mouseXposition
var rect = document.querySelector("div");
rect.addEventListener("mousedown", function(event) {
    if (event.which == 1) {
        lastX = event.pageX;
        addEventListener("mousemove", moved);
        event.preventDefault(); //Prevent selection

function buttonPressed(event) { if (event.buttons == null) return event.which != 0; else return event.buttons != 0; } function moved(event) { if (!buttonPressed(event)) { removeEventListener("mousemove", moved); } else { var dist = event.pageX - lastX; var newWidth = Math.max(10, rect.offsetWidth + dist); = newWidth + "px"; lastX = event.pageX; } } </script>

The "mousemove" handler is registered on the whole window. Even if the mouse goes outside of the bar during resizing, we still want to update its size and stop dragging when the mouse is released. We must stop resizing the bar when the mouse button is released. Unfortunately, not all browsers give "mousemove" events a meaningful which property.

Fortunately, all major browsers support either buttons or which, so the buttonPressed function in the example first tries buttons, and falls back to which when that isn't available.

Whenever the mouse pointer enters or leaves a node, a "mouseover" or "mouseout" event fires. These two events can be used, among other things, to create hover effects, showing or styling something when the mouse is over a given element

Unfortunately, creating such an effect is not as simple as starting the effect on "mouseover" and ending it on "mouseout". When the mouse moves from a node onto one of its children, "mouseout" fires on the parent node, though the mouse did not actually leave the node's extent. To make things worse, these events propagate just like other events, and thus you will also receive "mouseout" events when the mouse leaves one of the child nodes of the node on which the handler is registered.

To work around this problem, we can use the relatedTarget property of the event objects created for these events. It tells us, in the case of "mouseover", what element the pointer was over before and, in the case of "mouseout", what element it is going to. We want to change our hover effect only when the relatedTarget is outside of our target node. Only in that case does this event actually represent a crossing over from outside to inside the node (or the other way around).

<p>Hover over this<strong>paragraph</strong>.</p>

var para = document.querySelector("p");

function isInside(node, target) {
    for (; node != null; node = node.parentNode)
        if (node == target) returntrue;
para.addEventListener("mouseover", function(event) {
    if (!isInside(event.relatedTarget, para)) = "red";

para.addEventListener("mouseout", function(event) {
    if (!isInside(event.relatedTarget, para)) = "";

The isInside function follows the given node's parent links until it either reaches the top of the document (when node becomes null) or finds the parent we are looking for.

I should add that a hover effect like this can be much more easily achieved using the CSS pseudoselector :hover, as the next example shows. But when your hover effect involves doing something more complicated than changing a style on the target node, you must use the trick with "mouseover" and "mouseout" events.


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