I am having a real hard time figuring out how to pass a randomly generated variable from one frame to the next....
Suppose you define a variable called "
foo" with the following code:
foo = 1234;
Whenever a variable or method is expressed without the object to which it belongs, the containing object is assumed to be the document's window object. Thus, the line of code shown above defines the value of
window . foo, and the expressions
window . foo are synonymous.
The trick to accessing variables between windows (or frames), then, is to obtain a reference to the window (or frame), and then to access the variable as a property of that object.
For example, if one window spawns another window using the
window . open () method, the first window should store the return value in a variable, as illustrated below:
child = open ("popup.html");
This is important because the value returned by
open () is a reference to the new window. With this reference, the first window can access the second window's functions and variables, simply by treating them as properties of the window.
Example: parent accessing child's variable
Similarly, a child window can access its parent's variables, too, as long as the child has a reference to its parent. And it always does, because all window objects have a property called "
opener," which is equal to the parent window, if one exists, or to
null, if there is no parent.
Example: child accessing parent's variable
Now, sharing variables between frames is not really any different than sharing them between windows. All you need is a reference to the frame object.
For example, if a window has two frames, the first frame can access a variable in the second frame using the following expression:
Example: first frame accessing second frame's variable
parent . frames  .variable_name
Similarly, the second frame can access variables in the first frame through the following expression:
Example: second frame accessing first frame's variable
parent . frames  .variable_name
As illustrated in these examples, frames can obtain references to neighboring frames through the parent window's
frames  property. Don't forget that the first frame in this array is indexed with 0, not 1.
There are several ways to accomplish this. One technique is to define a flag variable, such as "
loaded," that signals whether the document is ready. This might be accomplished with the following code:
Example: using a flag to indicate readiness<html> <head> <script> loaded = false; </script> </head> <body onLoad="loaded = true;"> . . . </body> </html>
If this code were placed in a pop-up window, for example, then the parent window could poll the pop-up window's
loaded value in order to determine whether the child is ready for interaction.
A major drawback of the flag variable approach is that the parent window must continually poll the pop-up window's
flag value until the value indicates that the child is ready. A more elegant solution uses "callback functions," or special functions in the parent that are called by the child when the child is ready. In the child window's
onLoad event handler, for example, you can insert a call to a function in its parent, which in turn causes the parent to "wake up" and begin interacting with the child. The child window's code might look like this:
Example: using a callback function to indicate readiness<html> <body onLoad="opener . start_interacting ();"> . . . </body> </html>
Of course, the code in the parent that interacts with the child is contained in a function called "
start_interacting ()." This code will begin running at precisely the same moment that the child window finishes loading.
28 August 1997