Why FF says that window.event is undefined? (call function with added event listener)*

03 Apr 2014

So I quit my blog a month ago but nobody even noticed or complained on social media so I’m back in the blogging game (out of spite).

If you know anything about me, you know I enjoy a good bargain on dad wardrobe staples like khakis and beige cargo pants and, uh, carry on luggage—naturally entailing that I’m on the Kohl’s mobile website like all the time.

So of course I was intrigued when bug 905860 was brought to my attention.

On the Kohl’s website there’s a little “scratcher” thingy that you can rub with your finger or mouse to reveal some exciting promotion like 5% off a George Foreman grill, or something else that will probably be re-gifted. Problem is, it doesn’t work in mobile Firefox browsers. But it does work in WebKit mobile browsers. (TODO(mike): insert saddest emoji possible)

Let’s open our devtools console and see if anything exploded.

ReferenceError: event is not defined

In the browser developement industry, this is what we call a “Blue Paw Print”. (That means a clue, for the under 5 crowd.)

A quick view-source reveals they’re using a jQuery plugin called wScratchPad. BAM. Bug city.

bindMobile: function($el)
  $el.bind('touchstart touchmove touchend touchcancel', function ()
    var touches = event.changedTouches, first = touches[0]… 

Two things are really obvious: 1) not passing in an explicit event object argument to the $.fn.bind callback; 2) they’re using jQuery.

IE and WebKit browsers have something called a global event object, so even if you don’t pass in event to the callback, they’ll be OK. However, if the author did, the script would suddenly break everywhere, for a different reason.

Why? Because this is a jQuery plugin using $.fn.bind, the event object that gets passed in isn’t a TouchEvent object, but a magical jQuery event object. You will only hurt its feelings if you ask it to give you the changedTouches property. To get to that, you need to access the originalEvent property to get to the, uh, original event.

bindMobile: function($el)
  $el.bind('touchstart touchmove touchend touchcancel', function (event)
    var touches = event.originalEvent.changedTouches, first = touches[0]… 

Now if the authors of the plugin and the developers that work on Kohl’s could just update their respective code bases I could get back to buying some sweet dad jeans.

*Shout out to my co-author anony_root for coming up with the title.