Pass extra parameter to jQuery getJSON() success callback function [duplicate]

I’ve never had to use callback functions before, so I may have made a completely stupid mistake. I think I somewhat understand the problem here, but not how to solve it.

My code (a bit simplified) is:

for (var i = 0; i < some_array.length; i++) {
    var title = some_array[i];
    $.getJSON('some.url/' + title, function(data) {
        do_something_with_data(data, i);

Now as far as I understand, this anonymous function will only be called if getJSON() has received the data. But by this point, i does not have the value I would require. Or, as far as my observation goes, it has the last value it would have after the loop is done (shouldn’t it be out of bounds?).

As a result, if the array had a size of 6, do_something_with_data() would be called five times with the value 5.

Now I thought, just pass i to the anonymous function

function(data, i) { }

but this does not seem to be possible. i is undefined now.

You need to understand what a closure is. In JavaScript, there are certain rules about the scope of each variable.

  • The scope for variables declared implicitly or with var is the nearest/current function (including “arrow functions”), or if not in a function, then the window or other global object appropriate for the execution context (e.g., in Node, global).
  • The scope for variables declared with let or const (in ES5 and up) is the nearest statement block { /* not an object, but any place that will take executable statements here */ }.

If any code can access a variable in the current scope or in any parent scope, this creates a closure around that variable, keeping the variable live and keeping any object referred to by the variable instantiated, so that these parent or inner functions or blocks can continue to refer to the variable and access the value.

Because the original variable is still active, if you later change the value of that variable anywhere in the code, then when code with a closure over that variable runs later it will have the updated/changed value, not the value when the function or scope was first created.

Now, before we address making the closure work right, note that declaring the title variable without let or const repeatedly in the loop doesn’t work. var variables are hoisted into the nearest function’s scope, and variables assigned without var that don’t refer to any function scope get implicitly attached to the global scope, which is window in a browser. Before const and let existed, for loops in JavaScript had no scope, therefore variables declared within them are actually declared only once despite seeming to be (re)declared inside the loop. Declaring the variable outside the loop should help clarify for you why your code isn’t working as you’d expect.

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As is, when the callbacks run, because they have a closure over the same variable i, they are all affected when i increments and they will all use the current value of i when they run (which will as you discovered be incorrect, because the callbacks all run after the loop has completely finished creating them). Asynchronous code (such as the JSON call response) does not and cannot run until all synchronous code finishes executing–so the loop is guaranteed to complete before any callback is ever executed.

To get around this you need a new function to run that has its own scope so that in the callbacks declared inside of the loop, there is a new closure over each different value. You could do that with a separate function, or just use an invoked anonymous function in the callback parameter. Here’s an example:

var title, i;
for (i = 0; i < some_array.length; i += 1) {
    title = some_array[i];
       'some.url/' + title,
       (function(thisi) {
          return function(data) {
             do_something_with_data(data, thisi);
             // Break the closure over `i` via the parameter `thisi`,
             // which will hold the correct value from *invocation* time.
       }(i)) // calling the function with the current value

For clarity I’ll break it out into a separate function so you can see what’s going on:

function createCallback(item) {
   return function(data) {
      do_something_with_data(data, item);
      // This reference to the `item` parameter does create a closure on it.
      // However, its scope means that no caller function can change its value.
      // Thus, since we don't change `item` anywhere inside `createCallback`, it
      // will have the value as it was at the time the createCallback function
      // was invoked.

var title, i, l = some_array.length;
for (i = 0; i < l; i += 1) {
    title = some_array[i];
    $.getJSON('some.url/' + title, createCallback(i));
    // Note how this parameter is not a *reference* to the createCallback function,
    // but the *value that invoking createCallback() returns*, which is a function taking one `data` parameter.

Note: since your array apparently only has titles in it, you could consider using the title variable instead of i which requires you to go back to some_array. But either way works, you know what you want.

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One potentially useful way to think about this that the callback-creating function (either the anonymous one or the createCallback one) in essence converts the value of the i variable into separate thisi variables, via each time introducing a new function with its own scope. Perhaps it could be said that “parameters break values out of closures”.

Just be careful: this technique will not work on objects without copying them, since objects are reference types. Merely passing them as parameters will not yield something that cannot be changed after the fact. You can duplicate a street address all you like, but this doesn’t create a new house. You must build a new house if you want an address that leads to something different.

You could create a closure using an immediate function (one that executes right away) that returns another function:

for (var i = 0; i < some_array.length; i++) {
    var title = some_array[i];
    $.getJSON('some.url/' + title, (function() {
        var ii = i;
        return function(data) {
           do_something_with_data(data, ii);

If you can modify the service at some.url, it would be much better if rather than making a separate HTTP request for each item in some_array, you simply passed every item in the array in a single HTTP request.

$.getJSON('some.url', { items: some_array }, callback);

Your array will be JSON serialized and POSTed to the server. Assuming some_array is an array of strings, the request will look like this:

POST some.url HTTP/1.1

{'items':['a','b','c', ... ]}

Your server script should then deserialize the JSON request from the request body and loop over each item in the items array, returning a JSON-serialized array of responses.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK

{'items':[{id:0, ... }, {id:1, ... }, ... ]}

(Or whatever data it is you’re returning.) If your response items are in the same order as the request items, it is easy to piece things back together. In your success callback, simply match the item index with some_array‘s index. Putting it all together:

$.getJSON('some.url', { items: some_array }, function(data) {
    for (var i = 0; i < data.items.length; i++) {
        do_something_with_data(data.items[i], i);

By ‘batching up’ your requests into a single HTTP request like this, you’ll significantly improve performance. Consider that if each network round-trip takes at least 200ms, with 5 items, you’re looking at a minimum 1 second delay. By requesting them all at once, network delay stays a constant 200ms. (Obviously with larger requests, server script execution and network transfer times will come in to play, but performance will still be an order of a magnitude better than if you issue a separate HTTP request for each item.)

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Create N closures and pass in the value of ‘i’ each time, like so:

var i, title;
for (i = 0; i < some_array.length; i++) {
    title = some_array[i];
    $.getJSON('some.url/' + title, (function(i_copy) {
        return function(data) {
            do_something_with_data(data, i_copy);

I think some browsers have trouble with making multiple asynchronous calls at the same time, so you could make them one at a time:

var i;
function DoOne(data)
    if (i >= 0)
        do_something_with_data(data, i);
    if (++i >= some_array.length)
    var title = some_array[i];
    $.getJSON('some.url/' + title, DoOne);

// to start the chain:
i = -1;

I had exactly the same issue as the OP but solved it a different way. I replaced my JavaScript ‘for’ loop with a jQuery $.each which for each iteration calls a function which I think gets over the callback ‘timing’ issue. And I combined my external data arrays into a JavaScript object so that I could reference both the parameter I was passing on the JSON URL and the other field in the same element of that object. My object elements came out of a mySQL database table using PHP.

var persons = [
 { Location: 'MK6', Bio: 'System administrator' },
 { Location: 'LU4', Bio: 'Project officer' },
 { Location: 'B37', Bio: 'Renewable energy hardware installer' },
 { Location: 'S23', Bio: 'Associate lecturer and first hardware triallist' },
 { Location: 'EH12', Bio: 'Associate lecturer with a solar PV installation' }

function initMap() {
  var map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById('map_canvas'), {
    center: startLatLon,
    minZoom: 5,
    maxZoom: 11,
    zoom: 5
  $.each(persons, function(x, person) {
    $.getJSON('" + person.Location, null, function (data) {
      var p = data.results[0].geometry.location;
      var latlng = new google.maps.LatLng(, p.lng);
      var image = "images/solarenergy.png';
      var marker = new google.maps.Marker({
        position: latlng,
        map: map,
        icon: image,
        title: person.Bio
      google.maps.event.addListener(marker, "click", function (e) {
        document.getElementById('info').value = person.Bio;

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