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# Inaccuracies in absolute positioning

Demo page at http://csaba.org/Demos/getRect.htm

One question I've seen come up multiple times is:
How can I find the abolute position of my favorite element
on the page? The standard answer is not working for me
on any of IE/Netscape/Opera! The above page demonstrates
the problem. I'd love to know how to make it work correctly.

The usual answer, which I have been using, too, is something like:
function getRect(elem) {
// return (Left,Top,Right,Bottom) of the element
var myRect = Array(elem.offsetLeft, elem.offsetTop,
elem.offsetLeft + elem.offsetWidth,
elem.offsetTop + elem.offsetHeight)
if (!elem.offsetParent) return myRect;
newRect = getRect(elem.offsetParent)
for (var i=0;i<4;i++) myRect[i] = myRect[i] + newRect[i % 2];
return myRect;
}

This is close, but I am not doing government work, and I need something
exact. Specifically, As I move my mouse around a table, whenever the
mouse passes over a table border, I want to be able to identify which
two cells it is between. Let's leave that problem alone for now, since it's
much more difficult (when rowspan/colspan are involved) and just
concentrate on figuring out when the mouse is over an external border.
Now the mouse already knows which element it is over, and you can see
this as the mouse changes form as it goes from one cell, over
a border, then to another.

So the plan is that whenever the table gets an onmouseover event,
we'll compare the mouse position to the top left TD and the bottom
right TD element to find out if we're at an external border.
My IE 5.5, NN 6.1 and Opera 7.01 on Win 2K Pro all fail these
comparisons on exactly two borders each, and we are talking that there
is a two pixel difference! The observed behaviour is that when you
approach the border from the outside, it always works but going from
the inside to the outside of the table it fails on two borders because of
the two pixel difference.

Can anyone spot how to fix this problem up?
Thanks for any tips,
Csaba Gabor from New York

PS. OK, the code to test for the right border cannot assume that the
last cell of the last row is rightmost in the table, but let's not worry
about that till after the main problem is solved.
Jul 20 '05 #1
2 4212
"Csaba2000" <ne**@CsabaGabor.com> wrote in message
news:bj********@dispatch.concentric.net...
<snip>
... there is a two pixel difference! The observed behaviour
is that when you approach the border from the outside, it
always works but going from the inside to the outside of the
table it fails on two borders because of the two pixel
difference. Can anyone spot how to fix this problem up?
Thanks for any tips,

<snip>

Your problem is with the position of the 0,0 co-ordinate for mouse
positions. On Opera, Mozilla and other non-IE browsers the 0,0 position
is the top left of the HTML page within the viewport. On IE the 0,0
position is outside the inner border (or the top left of the inner
border). A difference of 2 pixels by default. Unfortunately, on IE,
chaining the offsetTop/Left values produces co-ordinates with a 0,0
position in the top-left corner of the viewport (just inside the inner
border. That is equivalent to the situation on Mozilla, etc.

The solution that I use is to adjust the mouse co-ordinates by the
clientTop/Left values for the root element (body or documentElement
depending on compatMode). I use mouse position reading scripts such as
the following:-

var theOne = null;
var XY = {x:0,y:0};
clientLeft:0,clientTop:0};
var eventInited = false;
function mm(e){
e = e||event;
};
function initEvent(ev){
ev = ev||event;
if(ev){
if(typeof ev.pageX != 'number'){
if(typeof opera != 'object'){
if((document.compatMode)&&
(document.compatMode == 'CSS1Compat')&&
(document.documentElement)){
}else if(document.body){
}
}
}
setUpOnMouse(mm);
mm(ev);
eventInited = true;
}else{
setUpOnMouse(initEvent);
}
};
function setUpOnMouse(f){
if(document.onmousemove != f){
document.onmousemove = f;
if((document.captureEvents)&&
(document.layers)&&(typeof Layer == 'function')){
document.captureEvents(Event.MOUSEMOVE);
}
}
};
return (function(ev){
if(!eventInited)initEvent(ev);
if(theOne)return theOne;
this.getPageX = function(){
};
this.getPageY = function(){
};
this.getPageXY = function(){
return {x:this.getPageX(),y:this.getPageY()};
};
this.upDate = function(ev){
mm(ev);
}
theOne = this;
});
})(); //simultaneously define and call (one-off)!

This code is a mouse position following object that uses the
document.onmousemove handler to track the position of the mouse. The
object is created with - new MoveFollow() - or new
MoveFollow(mouseEvent) - (if a mouse event is available at construction
time, onload,etc events are not suitable as they do not include mouse
properties on Mozilla, for example. It is probably better not to pass an
event to the constructor as it will compensate by setting up based on
the first mousemove event received). The class is a singleton so no
matter how many examples are created with the - new - keyword only one
object is instantiated and all subsequent calls return references to
that object. Given:-

- the position of the mouse (at the time of the last mouse move event)

Part of the point of this code is that the mouse position reading
function is very light weight, which is necessary as mousemove events
are _very_ frequent and code that reacts to them should be quick.

The important adjustment that corrects the 2 pixel discrepancy on IE is
subtracting the root element clientTop/Left values, which is only done
in the getpageX/Y functions.

Richard.
Jul 20 '05 #2
Richard,

Thanks very much for your explanation and functions.
I have updated my code, and it is now working in all the
browsers that I cited earlier.

There is a another point that I have to confess that I
missed. My getRect function was incorrect (oops) as
written and that is why Opera and Netscape were messing
up. I was forgetting to subtract one for the Right and Bottom
values in getRect and that extra pixel made the difference.

Now I am ready to move on to the next step of identifying
which cells the mouse is between if it's not over a single cell.

Csaba

function getRect(elem) {
// return absolute position of elem
// (Left, Top, Right, Bottom) in page
var i;
if (typeof(elem.myRect)!="undefined") return elem.myRect;
var myRect = Array(elem.offsetLeft, elem.offsetTop,
elem.offsetLeft + elem.offsetWidth-1,
elem.offsetTop + elem.offsetHeight-1)
// see Richard's code for definition of readScroll
if (!elem.offsetParent) {
return myRect;
}
newRect = getRect(elem.offsetParent)
for (i=0;i<4;i++) myRect[i] = myRect[i] + newRect[i % 2];
return myRect;
}
"Richard Cornford" <Ri*****@litotes.demon.co.uk> wrote in message news:bj*******************@news.demon.co.uk...
"Csaba2000" <ne**@CsabaGabor.com> wrote in message
news:bj********@dispatch.concentric.net...
<snip>
... there is a two pixel difference! The observed behaviour
is that when you approach the border from the outside, it
always works but going from the inside to the outside of the
table it fails on two borders because of the two pixel
difference.

Can anyone spot how to fix this problem up?
Thanks for any tips,

<snip>

Your problem is with the position of the 0,0 co-ordinate for mouse
positions. On Opera, Mozilla and other non-IE browsers the 0,0 position
is the top left of the HTML page within the viewport. On IE the 0,0
position is outside the inner border (or the top left of the inner
border). A difference of 2 pixels by default. Unfortunately, on IE,
chaining the offsetTop/Left values produces co-ordinates with a 0,0
position in the top-left corner of the viewport (just inside the inner
border. That is equivalent to the situation on Mozilla, etc.

The solution that I use is to adjust the mouse co-ordinates by the
clientTop/Left values for the root element (body or documentElement
depending on compatMode). I use mouse position reading scripts such as
the following:-

var theOne = null;
var XY = {x:0,y:0};
clientLeft:0,clientTop:0};
var eventInited = false;
function mm(e){
e = e||event;
};
function initEvent(ev){
ev = ev||event;
if(ev){
if(typeof ev.pageX != 'number'){
if(typeof opera != 'object'){
if((document.compatMode)&&
(document.compatMode == 'CSS1Compat')&&
(document.documentElement)){
}else if(document.body){
}
}
}
setUpOnMouse(mm);
mm(ev);
eventInited = true;
}else{
setUpOnMouse(initEvent);
}
};
function setUpOnMouse(f){
if(document.onmousemove != f){
document.onmousemove = f;
if((document.captureEvents)&&
(document.layers)&&(typeof Layer == 'function')){
document.captureEvents(Event.MOUSEMOVE);
}
}
};
return (function(ev){
if(!eventInited)initEvent(ev);
if(theOne)return theOne;
this.getPageX = function(){
};
this.getPageY = function(){
};
this.getPageXY = function(){
return {x:this.getPageX(),y:this.getPageY()};
};
this.upDate = function(ev){
mm(ev);
}
theOne = this;
});
})(); //simultaneously define and call (one-off)!

This code is a mouse position following object that uses the
document.onmousemove handler to track the position of the mouse. The
object is created with - new MoveFollow() - or new
MoveFollow(mouseEvent) - (if a mouse event is available at construction
time, onload,etc events are not suitable as they do not include mouse
properties on Mozilla, for example. It is probably better not to pass an
event to the constructor as it will compensate by setting up based on
the first mousemove event received). The class is a singleton so no
matter how many examples are created with the - new - keyword only one
object is instantiated and all subsequent calls return references to
that object. Given:-

- the position of the mouse (at the time of the last mouse move event)

Part of the point of this code is that the mouse position reading
function is very light weight, which is necessary as mousemove events
are _very_ frequent and code that reacts to them should be quick.

The important adjustment that corrects the 2 pixel discrepancy on IE is
subtracting the root element clientTop/Left values, which is only done
in the getpageX/Y functions.

Richard.

Jul 20 '05 #3

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