Shadowbox

A classy dialog box

by Read Write Tools
Abstract
The rwt-shadowbox web component is a popup dialog box with titlebar caption, close button, shortcut key access, event interface, and either slotted or templated content.

Motivation

Dialog boxes are such a common design pattern that they need no explanation. HTML5 has a special dialog tag for that very purpose. Unfortunately, the HTML dialog tag does not provide any "standard" behavior for how it should appear. Nor does it provide a convenient way for the user to dismiss it.

The rwt-shadowbox web component has several features which overcome those limitations, and make for a more pleasant user experience.

  • The dialog box has a titlebar with caption and close button.
  • The contents may be slotted or provided with a template file.
  • The dialog has an event interface for showing and hiding itself.
  • The dialog emits a custom event to close sibling dialog boxes.
  • A keyboard listener is provided to allow a shortcut key to open/close the dialog.

Prerequisites

The rwt-shadowbox web component works in any browser that supports modern W3C standards. Templates are written using BLUEPHRASE notation, which can be compiled into HTML using the free Read Write View desktop app. It has no other prerequisites. Distribution and installation are done with either NPM or via Github.

Installation using NPM

If you are familiar with Node.js and the package.json file, you'll be comfortable installing the component just using this command:

npm install rwt-shadowbox

If you are a front-end Web developer with no prior experience with NPM, follow these general steps:

  • Install Node.js/NPM on your development computer.
  • Create a package.json file in the root of your web project using the command:
  • npm init
  • Download and install the web component using the command:
  • npm install rwt-shadowbox

Important note: This web component uses Node.js and NPM and package.json as a convenient distribution and installation mechanism. The web component itself does not need them.

Installation using Github

If you are more comfortable using Github for installation, follow these steps:

  • Create a directory node_modules in the root of your web project.
  • Clone the rwt-shadowbox web component into it using the command:
  • git clone https://github.com/readwritetools/rwt-shadowbox.git

Using the web component

After installation, you need to add four things to your HTML page to make use of it.

  • Add a script tag to load the component's rwt-shadowbox.js file:
  • <script src='/node_modules/rwt-shadowbox/rwt-shadowbox.js' type=module></script>             
  • Add the component tag somewhere on the page.
    • For scripting purposes, apply an id attribute.
    • Apply a titlebar attribute with the text you want to appear as a caption.
    • Optionally, apply a shortcut attribute with something like F1, F2, etc. for hotkey access.
    • Optionally, apply a sourceref attribute with a reference to an HTML file containing the dialog's text and any CSS it needs.
    • And for WAI-ARIA accessibility apply a role=contentinfo attribute.
    • For simple dialog boxes, the sourceref may be omitted and the text of the dialog box may be slotted into the web component. Simply place the text directly between the <rwt-shadowbox> and </rwt-shadowbox> tags.
    <rwt-shadowbox id=info titlebar=Info shortcut=F1 sourceref='/info.blue' role=contentinfo ></rwt-shadowbox>
  • Add a way for the visitor to show the dialog:
  • <a id='info-button' title="Info (F1)">ℹ</a>
  • Add a listener to respond to the click event:
  • <script type=module>
    document.getElementById('info-button').addEventListener('click', (e) => {
    document.getElementById('info').toggleDialog(e);
    });
    </script>

Customization

Dialog size and position

The dialog is absolutely positioned towards the bottom left of the viewport. Its size may be overridden using CSS by defining new values for the size and position variables.

rwt-shadowbox#info {
--width: 70vw;
--height: 50vh;
--bottom: 1rem;
--left: 1rem;
}

Dialog color scheme

The default color palette for the dialog uses a dark mode theme. You can use CSS to override the variables' defaults:

rwt-shadowbox#info {
--color: var(--white);
--accent-color1: var(--yellow);
--accent-color2: var(--js-blue);
--background: var(--black);
--accent-background1: var(--medium-black);
--accent-background2: var(--pure-black);
--accent-background3: var(--nav-black);
--accent-background4: var(--black);
}

Event interface

The dialog box can be controlled with its event interface.

The component listens on DOM document for toggle-shadowbox messages. Upon receipt it will show or hide the dialog box.

The component listens on DOM document for keydown messages. If the user presses the configured shortcut key (F1, F2, etc) it will show/hide the dialog box. The Esc key closes the dialog box.

The component listens on DOM document for collapse-popup messages, which are sent by sibling dialog boxes. Upon receipt it will close itself.

The component listens on DOM document for click messages. When the user clicks anywhere outside the dialog box, it closes itself.

License

The rwt-shadowbox web component is licensed under the MIT License.

MIT License

Copyright © 2020 Read Write Tools.

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

Availability

Source code github
Package installation NPM
Documentation Read Write Hub

Shadowbox — A classy dialog box

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