One of the unintuitive aspects of p5 that beginners often make is using p5 globals in their “top level” code, i.e. outside of setup() and draw():

var myColor = color('blue');

function setup() {

Believe it or not, this sketch doesn’t work, and will result in the following error being thrown:

ReferenceError: color is not defined

The full reasoning and workaround for this is described in the p5 FAQ, suffice to say that programmers of all experience levels encounter it a lot.

It’s hard to detect such errors with 100% accuracy, but in #1130 I added some code that attempts to detect it, and in #1256 I improved on it so that the following console message is now displayed when the above sketch runs:

Did you just try to use p5.js's color() function? If so, you may want to move it into your sketch's setup() function.

For more details, see:

I wish there was an easy way to get feedback on whether users actually find this message helpful. I can think of a few solutions to this, but more on that in a future blog post!