Justin's Blog

October 25, 2013

Alternating function in JavaScript

Recently, I came up with a neat second-order function in JavaScript. When called, it alternates between two supplied functions. It's a bit of a toy. If you need a behavior to change, based on the state of an app, you should just read the state.

This could be useful when you have a button that alternates its behavior when clicked. For example, you may want to enable editing in a text field on the first click, but submit a form on the second click.

 * Provides a function that alternates between the
 * provided functions when called
 * @param f1 called on odd invocations
 * @param f2 called on even invocations
 * @returns {Function} Arguments are passed to the
 *   supplied functions.
 function alternate(f1, f2) {
   var toggle, f;
   toggle = true;
   return function () {
     f = toggle ? f1 : f2;
     toggle = !toggle;
     return f.apply(this, arguments);

Here is an example use for an edit button (which happens to be a submit button for a form).

function enableEditAjax(id) {


  $('#edit-btn-' + id).click(alternate(function () {
    //hides div, shows textarea
    toggleTextArea(id, true); 
    return false; //prevent form submission
  }, function () {
    return true;//form will be submitted
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