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DOM II Event Bubbling: DOM-based vs. "view"-based

From: Keith Bernstein <keith.bernstein@Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 1999 17:55:33 -0800
Message-ID: <36ABCF15.FBEA4BE8@eng.sun.com>
To: "w3c-dom, LIST" <www-dom@w3.org>
The DOM II spec defines event bubbling as bubbling up through the DOM
tree, not the user-visible "view" tree. I don't believe this is correct,
though Microsoft's IE behaves this way, so the DOM II rec. likely
won't/can't/shouldn't change. In any case, I thought I would explain why
I feel bubbling through the DOM hierarchy is incorrect.

Not using the user-visible "view" hierarchy to "bubble" events is a
mistake, because if it's not used, then if the visible "view" of one
element[node] overlayed the "view" of a *sibling* (for example), when
the mouse was pressed, if the top-most element didn't handle it, the
sibling below it would never get a shot at it because it would next go
to the *DOM-parent* of the clicked element. Event dispatching is all
about getting a user action (e.g. a mouseclick) to the "right"
widget/element, which, for the user, is some element which is visually
under the mouse (regardless of its position in the DOM hierarchy) not
its DOM parent (which could be on the other side of the screen from the
clicked-on child element).

Yes, the DOM doesn't know about user actions, but nevertheless, it does
take a starting node, and that starting node is based on where the
"visual view" is when the mouse is pressed, so why shouldn't subsequent
nodes' "view" positions be used to bubble the event?

True the DOM doesn't know about user-views of elements etc., but
whatever external [to the DOM] party does, should traverse that view
structure, bubbling the event through the DOM nodes associated with the
view-element hierarchy.

In the "typical" case, using the DOM hierarchy works because layout
engines use the DOM hierarchy (mostly) as the basis for their layout
arrangment. But there are other cases.

Imagine, for example, that the "lower" element is a custom button, and
the "overlayed element" is an icon on the button (and both have been
placed with absolute positioning). If that were the case, clicking the
button's image would not cause the button's action method to be called,
because the button is a sibling, not a parent.

As I said above, Microsoft's IE behaves the way the DOM II spec defines
bubbling, so deviations would cause incompatibilities, making this more
of a theoretical point than a practical one, since we are stuck with the
current situation.

Here is very small JavaScript example (only works in IE) which shows why
DOM-based event bubbling can do the "wrong" thing, and why view-based
bubbling, by definition, always does the right thing:


<!-- ***************  NOTE: THIS CODE WILL ONLY WORK UNDER IE [it
modifies the IE-only "event" object  **************************-->

<HTML>

<HEAD>

	<TITLE>IE-only JavaScript Event Bubbling Tester</TITLE>

	<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript">



function showMessage(messageString, cancelBubble) {

    document.widgets.outputField.value = messageString;
    if (cancelBubble) {
	event.cancelBubble=true;
    }

}



</SCRIPT>

</HEAD>

<BODY>

<H1>IE-only JavaScript Event Bubbling Tester</H1>

(this test only works under IE because it modifies the IE-only "event"
object)

<FORM NAME="widgets">

    Event Info:

    <INPUT TYPE=text NAME=outputField SIZE=30 readonly>

</FORM>

<TABLE WIDTH=10 BORDER=0 CELLPADDING=0 CELLSPACING=0>

    <TR>

	<TD WIDTH=10>

	    <P style="background-color: red"

		    ONMOUSEDOWN="showMessage('MOUSEDOWN in Red Paragraph', false)"

		    ONMOUSEUP="showMessage('MOUSEUP in Red Paragraph', false)">	

		Blue text with red background,

		    <IMG SRC="" style="background-color: blue" NAME="blue" ALIGN=RIGHT
WIDTH=100 HEIGHT=100 BORDER=0

			ONMOUSEDOWN="showMessage('MOUSEDOWN in Blue Image', true)"

			ONMOUSEUP="showMessage( 'MOUSEUP in Blue Image', true)">

		    <IMG SRC="" style="background-color: green" NAME="green"
ALIGN=LEFT WIDTH=50 HEIGHT=50 BORDER=0
			<!-- NOTE THAT THERE IS NO MOUSE HANDLER HERE, SO MOUSECLICKS ON THE
GREEN IMAGE SHOULD "bubble up" -->

		which wraps to below the two images.

	    </P>

	</TD>

    </TR>

</TABLE>

<P>
In this example, you'll notice that there are a two <B>sibling</B>
images... a blue one and a green one. The formatting causes the green
image to actually appear on top of the blue image.
</P>
<P>
The red background paragraph has a mouse handler which cancels bubbling,
so any text in the "Event Info:" area from the red background's mouse
handler is guaranteed to be from clicks on either that paragraph, or one
of its "children".
</P>
<P>
The blue image has a mouse handler which cancels bubbling, so any text
in the "Event Info:" area from the blue image's mouse handler is
guaranteed to be from clicks on that image, or one of its "children".
</P>
<P>
The green image has no mouse handler, so any clicks it gets should get
"bubbled" to its parent. So when the green image is clicked, any text in
the "Event Info:" is gauranteed to come from one of its <B>parents</B>.
</P>
<P>
You'll notice that when the green image is clicked, the red paragraph's
event handler is invoked, rather than the blue image's event handler,
even though based on the visual layout and overlapping of the elements,
the blue image's event handler should really be called.
</P>
<P>
Imagine, for example, that the blue image is a custom button, and the
green image is an icon on the button (and both have been placed with
absolute positioning). If that were the case, clicking the button's
image would not cause the button to be depressed.
</P>
</BODY>

</HTML>
Received on Sunday, 24 January 1999 20:57:38 GMT

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