Differences between YUI 2.x and YUI3 setStyle

23 Jan 2014

Much like Google Images, my colleague Hallvord discovered that the cause of a bug over at Flickr is due to passing the style property of a DOM element a css-cased (background-image) property, rather than camel-cased (backgroundImage) one.

In this particular instance, Flickr is using YUI3’s setStyle like so:

yuiNodeObject.setStyle('background-image', superArtsyImageHashTagNoFilter)

The docs are pretty clear that you’re not supposed to do that, and should use backgroundImage camel-cased.

However, the previous incarnation of YUI, YUI2, would automatically camel-case it for you, i.e., var property = Y.Dom._toCamel(args.prop). YUI3, though, does not, i.e., style[att] = val.

(9 commas in a run-on sentence, a personal record).

So if you’re upgrading from 2.x to 3, but you’re used to the YUI2 argument style and you only test in a WebKit-based browser you’ll never notice that you’ve introduced a bug.

WebKit-based browsers (for whatever reason) are happy to allow you to set styles either way. Give this test case a spin in Safari or Chrome and compare to Firefox or Internet Explorer.

A few things from the CSSOM spec for the nerds:

For each CSS property property that is a supported CSS property, the following partial interface applies where camel-cased attribute is obtained by running the CSS property to IDL attribute algorithm for property. partial interface CSSStyleDeclaration { attribute DOMString _camel-cased attribute; }; [...blah blah blah...] Setting the camel-cased attribute attribute must invoke setProperty() with the first argument being the result of running the IDL attribute to CSS property algorithm for camel-cased attribute, as second argument the given value, and no third argument. Any exceptions thrown must be re-thrown.

Step 3 of the setProperty method of the CSSStyleDeclaration interface is defined as:

If property is not a case-sensitive match for a supported CSS property, terminate this algorithm.

So the spec seems pretty clear that you should bail if you try to set something like elm.style[-satire-considered] = "harmful" (a valid property: value pair in California Style Sheets).

The moral of the story is if you find yourself wondering why your YUI3 setStyle code isn’t working in other browsers (like these dudes on StackOverflow), now you know. (Uh that doesn’t seem like a moral, you’re thinking—don’t ask.)

(BTW, some sweet, sweet stackoverflow points are up for grabs if you want to update that answer. I can’t remember my username or password. ¯\(ツ)/¯).