Define global variable in a JavaScript function


Is it possible to define a global variable in a JavaScript function?

I want use the trailimage variable (declared in the makeObj function) in other functions.

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
    <head id="Head1" runat="server">
        <title></title>
        <script type="text/javascript">
            var offsetfrommouse = [10, -20];
            var displayduration = 0;
            var obj_selected = 0;
            function makeObj(address) {
                **var trailimage = [address, 50, 50];**
                document.write('<img id="trailimageid" src="' + trailimage[0] + '" border="0"  style=" position: absolute; visibility:visible; left: 0px; top: 0px; width: ' + trailimage[1] + 'px; height: ' + trailimage[2] + 'px">');
                obj_selected = 1;
            }

            function truebody() {
                return (!window.opera && document.compatMode && document.compatMode != "BackCompat") ? document.documentElement : document.body;
            }
            function hidetrail() {
                var x = document.getElementById("trailimageid").style;
                x.visibility = "hidden";
                document.onmousemove = "";
            }
            function followmouse(e) {
                var xcoord = offsetfrommouse[0];
                var ycoord = offsetfrommouse[1];
                var x = document.getElementById("trailimageid").style;
                if (typeof e != "undefined") {
                    xcoord += e.pageX;
                    ycoord += e.pageY;
                }
                else if (typeof window.event != "undefined") {
                    xcoord += truebody().scrollLeft + event.clientX;
                    ycoord += truebody().scrollTop + event.clientY;
                }
                var docwidth = 1395;
                var docheight = 676;
                if (xcoord + trailimage[1] + 3 > docwidth || ycoord + trailimage[2] > docheight) {
                    x.display = "none";
                    alert("inja");
                }
                else
                    x.display = "";
                x.left = xcoord + "px";
                x.top = ycoord + "px";
            }

            if (obj_selected = 1) {
                alert("obj_selected = true");
                document.onmousemove = followmouse;
                if (displayduration > 0)
                    setTimeout("hidetrail()", displayduration * 1000);
            }
        </script>
    </head>
    <body>
        <form id="form1" runat="server">
        <img alt="" id="house" src="Pictures/sides/right.gif" style="z-index: 1; left: 372px;
            top: 219px; position: absolute; height: 138px; width: 120px" onclick="javascript:makeObj('Pictures/sides/sides-not-clicked.gif');" />
        </form>
    </body>
</html>

Yes, as the others have said, you can use var at global scope (outside of all functions) to declare a global variable:

<script>
var yourGlobalVariable;
function foo() {
    // ...
}
</script>

Alternately, you can assign to a property on window:

<script>
function foo() {
    window.yourGlobalVariable = ...;
}
</script>

...because in browsers, all global variables global variables declared with var are properties of the window object. (In the latest specification, ECMAScript 2015, the new let, const, and class statements at global scope create globals that aren't properties of the global object; a new concept in ES2015.)

(There's also the horror of implicit globals, but don't do it on purpose and do your best to avoid doing it by accident, perhaps by using ES5's "use strict".)

All that said: I'd avoid global variables if you possibly can (and you almost certainly can). As I mentioned, they end up being properties of window, and window is already plenty crowded enough what with all elements with an id (and many with just a name) being dumped in it (and regardless that upcoming specification, IE dumps just about anything with a name on there).

Instead, wrap your code in a scoping function and use variables local to that scoping function, and make your other functions closures within it:

<script>
(function() { // Begin scoping function
    var yourGlobalVariable; // Global to your code, invisible outside the scoping function
    function foo() {
        // ...
    }
})();         // End scoping function
</script>

UPDATE1: If you read the comments there's a nice discussion around this particular naming convention.

UPDATE2: It seems that since my answer has been posted the naming convention has gotten more formal. People who teach, write books etc. speak about var declaration, and function declaration.

UPDATE3: Here is the additional wikipedia post that supports my point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_(computer_programming)#Declarations_and_Definitions

...and to answer the main question. DECLARE variable before your function. This will work and it will comply to the good practice of declaring your variables at the top of the scope :)


Just declare

var trialImage;

outside. Then

function makeObj(address) {
    trialImage = [address, 50, 50];
..
..
}

Hope this helps.


No, you can't. Just declare the variable outside the function. You don't have to declare it at the same time as you assign the value:

var trailimage;

function makeObj(address) {
  trailimage = [address, 50, 50];

Just declare it outside the functions, and assign values inside the functions. Something like:

<script type="text/javascript">
    var offsetfrommouse = [10, -20];
    var displayduration = 0;
    var obj_selected = 0;
    var trailimage = null ;  // GLOBAL VARIABLE
    function makeObj(address) {
        trailimage = [address, 50, 50];  //ASSIGN VALUE

Or simply removing "var" from your variable name inside function also makes it global, but it is better to declare it outside once for cleaner code. This will also work:

var offsetfrommouse = [10, -20];
var displayduration = 0;
var obj_selected = 0;

function makeObj(address) {
    trailimage = [address, 50, 50];  //GLOBAL VARIABLE , ASSIGN VALUE

I hope this example explains more: http://jsfiddle.net/qCrGE/

var globalOne = 3;
testOne();

function testOne()
{
    globalOne += 2;
    alert("globalOne is : " + globalOne );
    globalOne += 1;
}

alert("outside globalOne is : " + globalOne);

testTwo();

function testTwo()
{
    globalTwo = 20;
    alert("globalTwo is " + globalTwo);
    globalTwo += 5;
}

alert("outside globalTwo is :" + globalTwo);

It is very simple define the trailimage variable outside the function and set its value in makeObj function. Now you can access its value from anywhere.

var offsetfrommouse = [10, -20];
var displayduration = 0;
var obj_selected = 0;
var trailimage;
function makeObj(address) {
      trailimage = [address, 50, 50];
      ....
}

    var Global = 'Global';

    function LocalToGlobalVariable() {

    //This creates a local variable.

    var Local = '5';

    //Doing this makes the variable available for one session
    //(a page refresh - Its the session not local)

    sessionStorage.LocalToGlobalVar = Local;

    // It can be named anything as long as the sessionStorage references the local variable.
    // Otherwise it won't work
    //This refreshes the page to make the variable take effect instead of the last variable set.

    location.reload(false);
    };

    //This calls the variable outside of the function for whatever use you want.

    sessionStorage.LocalToGlobalVar;

I realize there is probably a lot of syntax errors in this but its the general idea... Thanks so much LayZee for pointing this out... You can find what a local and session Storage is at http://www.w3schools.com/html/html5_webstorage.asp. I have needed the same thing for my code and this was a really good idea.


Classic example:

window.foo = 'bar';

Modern, safe example following best practice by using an IIFE:

;(function (root) {
    'use strict'

    root.foo = 'bar';
)(this));

Nowadays, there's also the option of using the WebStorage API

localStorage.foo = 42;

or

sessionStorage.bar = 21;

Performancewise, I'm not sure whether it is noticeably slower than storing values in variables.

Widespread browser support as stated on Can I use...


So you want the variable inside the function available outside of the function? Why not return the results of the variable inside the function? var x = function returnX { var x = 0; return x; } is the idea...

    <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
    <head id="Head1" runat="server">
    <title></title>
    <script type="text/javascript">

        var offsetfrommouse = [10, -20];
        var displayduration = 0;
        var obj_selected = 0;

        function makeObj(address) {
            var trailimage = [address, 50, 50];
            document.write('<img id="trailimageid" src="' + trailimage[0] + '" border="0"  style=" position: absolute; visibility:visible; left: 0px; top: 0px; width: ' + trailimage[1] + 'px; height: ' + trailimage[2] + 'px">');
            obj_selected = 1;
            return trailimage;
        }

        function truebody() {
            return (!window.opera && document.compatMode && document.compatMode != "BackCompat") ? document.documentElement : document.body;
        }

        function hidetrail() {
            var x = document.getElementById("trailimageid").style;
            x.visibility = "hidden";
            document.onmousemove = "";
        }

        function followmouse(e) {
            var xcoord = offsetfrommouse[0];
            var ycoord = offsetfrommouse[1];
            var x = document.getElementById("trailimageid").style;
            if (typeof e != "undefined") {
                xcoord += e.pageX;
                ycoord += e.pageY;
            }

            else if (typeof window.event != "undefined") {
                xcoord += truebody().scrollLeft + event.clientX;
                ycoord += truebody().scrollTop + event.clientY;
            }
            var docwidth = 1395;
            var docheight = 676;
            if (xcoord + trailimage[1] + 3 > docwidth || ycoord + trailimage[2] > docheight) {
                x.display = "none";
                alert("inja");
            }
            else
                x.display = "";
            x.left = xcoord + "px";
            x.top = ycoord + "px";
        }

        if (obj_selected = 1) {
            alert("obj_selected = true");
            document.onmousemove = followmouse;
            if (displayduration > 0)
                setTimeout("hidetrail()", displayduration * 1000);
        }

    </script>
</head>
<body>
    <form id="form1" runat="server">
    <img alt="" id="house" src="Pictures/sides/right.gif" style="z-index: 1; left: 372px; top: 219px; position: absolute; height: 138px; width: 120px" onclick="javascript:makeObj('Pictures/sides/sides-not-clicked.gif');" />
    </form>
</body>
</html>

I haven't tested this, but if your code worked prior to that small change, then it should work.


Here is a sample code that might can be helful.

  var Human = function(){
   name = "Shohanur Rahaman";  // global variable
   this.name = "Tuly"; // constructor variable 
   var age = 21;
 };

  var shohan = new Human();

 document.write(shohan.name+"<br>");
 document.write(name);
 document.write(age); // undefined cause its local variable 

Here I found a nice answer How-can-one-declare-a-global-variable-in-JavaScript


Here is another easy method to make the variable available in other functions without having to use global variables:

function makeObj() {
  // var trailimage = 'test';
  makeObj.trailimage = 'test';
}
function someOtherFunction() {
  document.write(makeObj.trailimage);
}

makeObj();
someOtherFunction();


if you are making a startup function, you can define global functions and variables in such way:

function(globalScope)
{
     //define something
     globalScope.something() { 
         alert("It works");
     };
}(window)

Because the function is invoked globally with this argument, this is global scope here. So, the something should be a global thing.


to use window object is not a good idea.As I see in comments

  'use strict';

    function showMessage() {
        window.say_hello = 'hello!';
    }

    console.log(say_hello);

This will throw an error to use say_hello variable we need to first call showMessage function.