Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Web Design & Development > Ajax and JavaScript

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Code technique: Separate styling from logic

The first technique has profound workflow benefits, especially for teams.

Standard approach

In jQuery animation, it’s common to animate CSS classes onto elements using the UI add-on plugin ( When the module is loaded, jQuery’s addClass() and removeClass() functions are upgraded with animation support. For example, let’s say you have a CSS class defined in a stylesheet as follows:

.fadeInAndMove {
   opacity: 1;
   top: 50px;

You can then animate the CSS properties of that class (opacity and top in this case) onto the target element along with a specified duration:

// Animate the properties of the .fadeInAndMove class over a 1000ms duration
$element.addClass("fadeInAndMove", 1000);

The more common implementation of jQuery animation consists of inlining the desired animation properties within an $.animate() call, which uses the syntax demonstrated in Chapter 1, “Advantages of JavaScript Animation”:

$element.animate({ opacity: 1, top: 50 }, 1000);

Both implementations produce the same result. The difference is their separation of logic: The first implementation delegates the styling rules to a CSS stylesheet, where the rest of the page’s styling rules reside. The second mixes styling rules with the JavaScript logic responsible for triggering them.

The first approach is preferable due to the organizational cleanliness and flexibility gained by knowing where to look to make the appropriate style or logic changes to your code. CSS stylesheets exist for a reason; seasoned developers do not inline CSS into their HTML. That would conflate the purposes of HTML (structure) and CSS (styling), and make a site considerably more difficult to maintain.

The value of logic separation is further pronounced when working in a team environment, in which it’s common for developers and designers to bump heads while trying to edit the same file at the same time.

Optimized approach

With the review of standard methods out of the way, let’s look at the optimized approach. It’s just as beneficial—and often the best methodology for JavaScript-centric animation workflows—to shift animation styling logic into a dedicated JavaScript file (for example, a style.js) rather than a dedicated CSS stylesheet. Sounds weird, right? Perhaps, but it works brilliantly. This technique leverages plain old JavaScript objects to help you organize your animation code.

For example, your style.js file might look like this:

// This object is a parallel to the CSS class defined in the previous code example
var fadeIn = {
     opacity: 1,
     top: "50px"

In your script.js, which is the primary JavaScript file that controls animation logic, you would then have:

// Pass our named properties object into Velocity
$element.velocity(fadeIn, 1000);

To recap, in your style.js, you’ve defined a JavaScript object that’s populated with the CSS properties you want to animate. This is the same object that’s then passed into Velocity as a first argument. You’re not doing anything fancy here—just saving objects to named variables, then passing those variables into Velocity instead of the raw objects themselves.

The benefit of switching from CSS to JavaScript to segregate logic is that your style.js file is uniquely capable of defining animation options—not just animation properties. There are many ways to specify an option: one is to assign two member properties to a parent animation object to which you assign an expressive name. The first property on the object defines the animation’s properties; the second defines its options.

In this case, your style.js file would look like this:

var fadeIn = {
      // p is for "properties"
     p: {
       opacity: 1,
       top: "50px"
     // o is for "options"
     o: {
       duration: 1000,
       easing: "linear"

In the script.js file, you’d have:

// Pass in our clean and re-usable animation objects
$element.velocity(fadeIn.p, fadeIn.o);

Pretty and clean, right? Someone skimming it would understand its purpose, and would know where to look to modify its properties—the style.js file. Further, the purpose of this animation is immediately evident: because you’ve named the animation object appropriately, you know that the code serves to fade an object into view. You no longer have to mentally parse animation properties to assess the purpose of the animation.

This approach discourages you from arbitrarily setting options for each individual animation on a page since there’s now a bank of premade animation objects you can easily pull from. This results in leaner code and more consistent motion design. Consistency, as you learned in the previous chapter, is a key component of great UX.

But the best part is that this approach lends itself perfectly to organizing your animation variations together. For example, if you typically fade button elements into view with a duration of 1000ms, but you fade modal windows into view with a duration of 3000ms, you can simply split your options object into two appropriately named variations:

var fadeIn = {
     p: {
       opacity: 1,
       top: "50px"
     // Options object variation #1 uses a fast duration
     oFast: {
       duration: 1000,
       easing: "linear"
     // Variation #2 uses a slower duration
     oSlow: {
       duration: 3000,
       easing: "linear"
// Animate using the fast duration.
$button.velocity(fadeIn.p, fadeIn.oFast);
/* Animate using the slow duration. */
$modal.velocity(fadeIn.p, fadeIn.oSlow);

Alternatively, you could nest “fast” and “slow” objects as children of a singular o options object. The choice of which implementation to use is based on your personal preference:

var fadeIn = {
     p: {
       opacity: 1,
       top: "50px"
     o: {
       fast: {
          duration: 1000,
          easing: "linear"
       slow: {
          duration: 3000,
          easing: "linear"
// Animate using the fast duration.
/* Animate using the slow duration. */
$modal.velocity(fadeIn.p, fadeIn.o.slow);

If this seems like too much overhead, and if you have few enough lines of JavaScript to justify simply inlining all your animation logic, then don’t feel like a bad developer for skipping this approach altogether. You should always use whichever degree of abstraction best suits the scope of your project. The takeaway here is simply that animation workflow best practices do exist if you find yourself needing them.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020