Js Gravatar Creator


We are going to be building out an Identicon generator using JavaScript and DOM

An Identicon is a visual representation of a hash value that serves to identify
a user of a computer system as a form of avatar while protecting the user's
privacy. You can read more about Identicons here.

Put simply, an Identicon is an image that corresponds to, and is derived from, a
unique value, (i.e. a username string).

GitHub automatically generates one for every user before they have uploaded a
profile photo. They tend to look like this!:

Learning Objectives

This lab is specifically set up to improve your ability to independently break
down a larger problem into smaller, achievable tasks. It is up to you to
figure out a good approach to tackle this challenge. You have been given an end
goal: a working Identicon generator. Your objectives are to:

  • Given an end goal, (a working Identicon generator), identify the steps required to get there
  • Practice syncing JavaScript functionality with the DOM
  • Practice practical implementations of object-oriented solutions


The completed application should look and function like this:

gif of the finished product

User Experience:
  • When a user inputs their name, the Identicon should dynamically produce an avatar for them
  • When given a blank string, a blank pattern should be rendered to the DOM
  • A user should be able to replace the string and generate a new Identicon as many times as they like without refreshing the application
  • A single input value should always produce the same image
Program Architecture:
  • Our program's functionality should be broken up into the provided files. Code each branch of your solution into the appropriate file. Code that does not interact with the DOM, for example, should not be in domController.js
  • Remember that the DOM is not where our data lives. Like we've seen in the MVC pattern, the DOM is simply a representation of the state of our application, not the source of it.

Getting Started

  • Review the JavaScript files provided in /src/. When approaching a problem like this, take a moment to map out the distinct parts of code that need to work together:
    • At what points does our JavaScript code need to interact with the DOM?
    • What methods will our Identicon class have? What information/functionality should an Identicon instance have?
    • When do we capture user input and where do we send it?
Generating Identicon Values

An external library md5 has been provided and is already being imported
in our HTML. Use the md5.array method to generate a unique set of integers
from the user's input value:

const hashedArr = md5.array(strValue)
// hashedArr == an array of 16 integers, 0 - 255 (inclusive)
// i.e. [243, 8, 144, ...]

We can use these values to derive both our color as well as our block
positions. For color, the bounds of 0 - 255 are very convenient! We could, for
example, always use the first three values of the hash array and map them to an
rgb value.

To derive which squares belong where, we have to be a little more clever.
In examining the Identicon example, we see a total of 25 squares making up the
image. Upon further inspection, we see that the graphics are mirror images. This
leaves us with only 15 unique squares (the rest are mirrored). Using 15 of the 16 values from our hashed array should allow us to map them to positions in the graphic.

The final step is to determine how a value determines whether a square should
be present or not. For simplicity's sake, let's use an odd/even check on the
values (essentially making them boolean) and use that to determine whether a
square should be present or not.

  • Our index.html has everything we need as far as references to Identicon squares on the DOM
  • Node IDs are designated "row_index-column_index", mapping to the 5x5 Identicon DOM grid. If we wanted to change the color of the top right block in our DOM's Identicon grid, we could do it like this: javascript const rowIdx = 0 // top row const columnIdx = 4 // fifth block const blockColor = "rgb(16, 244, 68)" document.getElementById(`${rowIdx}-${colIdx}`).style.backgroundColor = blockColor
  • Remember: our 'source of truth' regarding color and block positions should exist in the Identicon model (instance), which the DOM is solely a reflection of! The DOM is not where your data is stored, just where it's displayed.
  • If you are having trouble getting started, try chipping away at the problem using what you know from setting up JavaScript driven websites from scratch.
  • If you are stuck and cannot see a clear solution, connect with an instructor, show them what you have been able to do and provide a rough plan of what you think needs to be done.

Good luck!

Unlock your future in tech
Learn to code.

Learn about Flatiron School's Mission

With a new take on education that falls somewhere between self-taught prodigy and four-year computer science degree, the Flatiron School promises to turn students with little programming experience into developers.

In the six months since the Manhattan coding school was acquired by WeWork, it has spawned locations in Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, and London. Now, WeWork is opening a fourth Flatiron School location, this time in Houston.

Adam Enbar, Flatiron School's cofounder, believes now is the time to grow. "How the world is changing has impacted working and learning in very similar ways. We think education fundamentally is about one thing: enabling people to pursue a better life."

Learn. Love. Code.
Students come to Flatiron School to change their lives. Join our driven community of career-changers and master the skills you need to become a software engineer or a data scientist.
Find Us