jQuery: using callback functions in plugins

Allowing users to specify additional actions on our jQuery plugins is something that should become a must for every jQuery developer. Actions can be passed along in the form of callback functions that work on jQuery elements. Cycle is a perfect example of a superior use of callback functions. In this article we'll see a practical implementation of this feature.

Simply imagine an image slideshow with pagination. A user clicks on a link and the slideshow slides to reveal the current image. Nothing unusual here. Now we want to attach a callback function that fires on each image.

First we need to specify an option that allows the user to create a callback function:

(function($) {

    $.fn.gallery = function(options) {
        var self = this;

        options = $.extend({
            wrapper: $('#gallery-wrapper', self),
            width: 550,
            height: 330,
            paginationClass: 'page',
            onimage: function() {} // callback function
        }, options);
        // continues

We can't specify the current image as the sole argument of our function at this point, because it would raise a JavaScript error (undefined). Instead, we can use the current image when it's defined:

var _navigate = function() {

            $('a', '#gallery-pagination').click(function(e) {

                var $a = $(this);
                var imageIndex = $a.data('image');
                var image = $('img', self).eq(imageIndex); // current image
                var offset = image.position().left;

                    left: -offset

                }, 1500, 'linear', function() {

                    options.onimage(image); // now the image is defined, so we can call our function




Once the image is defined in the plugin, we can use it as a normal function parameter when we call our plugin:

    onimage: function(img) {
            opacity: 0.5
        }, 1000);

You can see the demo below.


Live demo