Skip to main content
Home / Code Snippets / JavaScript / Replacements for setInterval Using requestAnimationFrame

Replacements for setInterval Using requestAnimationFrame

When it comes to animation, we're told that setInterval is a bad idea. Because, for example, the loop will run regardless of anything else going on, rather than politely yielding like requestAnimationFrame will. Also some browsers might "play catchup" with a setInterval loop, where an inactive tab might have been queuing iterations and then run them all very quickly to catch up when it becomes active again.

If you'd like to use setInterval, but want the performance politeness of requestAnimationFrame, the internet has some options available!

From Serguei Shimansky:

var requestInterval = function (fn, delay) {
  var requestAnimFrame = (function () {
    return window.requestAnimationFrame || function (callback, element) {
      window.setTimeout(callback, 1000 / 60);
    };
  })(),
  start = new Date().getTime(),
  handle = {};
  function loop() {
    handle.value = requestAnimFrame(loop);
    var current = new Date().getTime(),
    delta = current - start;
    if (delta >= delay) {
      fn.call();
      start = new Date().getTime();
    }
  }
  handle.value = requestAnimFrame(loop);
  return handle;
};

See the comment for the variations, like clearing the interval, and setting and clearing timeouts.

This was a variation on Joe Lambert's version:

window.requestInterval = function(fn, delay) {
  if( !window.requestAnimationFrame       && 
    !window.webkitRequestAnimationFrame && 
    !(window.mozRequestAnimationFrame && window.mozCancelRequestAnimationFrame) && // Firefox 5 ships without cancel support
    !window.oRequestAnimationFrame      && 
    !window.msRequestAnimationFrame)
      return window.setInterval(fn, delay);
      
  var start = new Date().getTime(),
    handle = new Object();
    
  function loop() {
    var current = new Date().getTime(),
      delta = current - start;
      
    if(delta >= delay) {
      fn.call();
      start = new Date().getTime();
    }

    handle.value = requestAnimFrame(loop);
  };
  
  handle.value = requestAnimFrame(loop);
  return handle;
}

  window.clearRequestInterval = function(handle) {
  window.cancelAnimationFrame ? window.cancelAnimationFrame(handle.value) :
  window.webkitCancelAnimationFrame ? window.webkitCancelAnimationFrame(handle.value) :
  window.webkitCancelRequestAnimationFrame ? window.webkitCancelRequestAnimationFrame(handle.value) : /* Support for legacy API */
  window.mozCancelRequestAnimationFrame ? window.mozCancelRequestAnimationFrame(handle.value) :
  window.oCancelRequestAnimationFrame ? window.oCancelRequestAnimationFrame(handle.value) :
  window.msCancelRequestAnimationFrame ? window.msCancelRequestAnimationFrame(handle.value) :
  clearInterval(handle);
};

Which is more verbose in part because it handles vendor prefixing. It's very likely you don't need the vendor prefixing. See browser support for requestAnimationFrame. If you need to support IE 9 or Android 4.2-4.3, you can't use this at all. The vendor prefixing only helps for quite old versions of Safari and Firefox.

And one more from StackExchange:

window.rInterval=function(callback,delay) {
  var dateNow=Date.now,
    requestAnimation=window.requestAnimationFrame,
    start=dateNow(),
    stop,
    intervalFunc=function() {
      dateNow()-start<delay||(start+=delay, callback());
      stop||requestAnimation(intervalFunc)
    }
  requestAnimation(intervalFunc);
  return {
    clear: function(){ stop=1 }
  }
}
icon-link icon-logo-star icon-search icon-star