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YUI 2: Dialog

YUI 2: Dialog

The Dialog component is an extension of Panel that is meant to emulate the behavior of an dialog window using a floating, draggable HTML element. Dialog provides an interface for easily gathering information from the user without leaving the underlying page context. The information is collected via a standard HTML form; Dialog supports the submission of form data either through an XMLHttpRequest, through a normal form submission, or through a fully script-based response (where the script reads and responds to the form values and the form is never actually submitted via HTTP to a server).

Getting Started

To use Dialog, include the following code in your page:

  1. <!-- Sam Skin CSS -->
  2. <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="">
  4. <!-- OPTIONAL: You only need the YUI Button CSS if you're including YUI Button, mentioned below. -->
  5. <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="">
  7. <!-- Dependencies -->
  8. <script src=""></script>
  10. <!-- OPTIONAL: Animation (only required if using ContainerEffect) -->
  11. <script src=""></script>
  13. <!-- OPTIONAL: Connection (only required if using asynchronous form submission) -->
  14. <script src=""></script>
  16. <!-- OPTIONAL: Drag & Drop (only required if enabling Drag & Drop) -->
  17. <script src=""></script>
  19. <!-- OPTIONAL: YUI Button (these 2 files only required if you want Dialog to use YUI Buttons, instead of HTML Buttons) -->
  20. <script src=""></script>
  21. <script src=""></script>
  23. <!-- Source file -->
  24. <script src=""></script>
<!-- Sam Skin CSS -->
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="">
<!-- OPTIONAL: You only need the YUI Button CSS if you're including YUI Button, mentioned below. -->
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="">
<!-- Dependencies -->
<script src=""></script>
<!-- OPTIONAL: Animation (only required if using ContainerEffect) -->
<script src=""></script>
<!-- OPTIONAL: Connection (only required if using asynchronous form submission) -->
<script src=""></script>
<!-- OPTIONAL: Drag & Drop (only required if enabling Drag & Drop) -->
<script src=""></script>
<!-- OPTIONAL: YUI Button (these 2 files only required if you want Dialog to use YUI Buttons, instead of HTML Buttons) -->
<script src=""></script>
<script src=""></script>
<!-- Source file -->
<script src=""></script>
Next, apply the yui-skin-sam class name to an element that is a parent of the element in which the Dialog Control lives. You can usually accomplish this simply by putting the class on the <body> tag:

  1. <body class="yui-skin-sam">
<body class="yui-skin-sam">

For more information on skinning YUI components and making use of default skins, see our Understanding YUI Skins article here on the website.

YUI dependency configurator.

YUI Dependency Configurator:

Instead of copying and pasting the filepaths above, try letting the YUI dependency Configurator determine the optimal file list for your desired components; the Configurator uses YUI Loader to write out the full HTML for including the precise files you need for your implementation.

Note: If you wish to include this component via the YUI Loader, its module name is container. (Click here for the full list of module names for YUI Loader.)

Where these files come from: The files included using the text above will be served from Yahoo! servers; see "Serving YUI Files from Yahoo!" for important information about this service. JavaScript files are minified, meaning that comments and white space have been removed to make them more efficient to download. To use the full, commented versions or the -debug versions of YUI JavaScript files, please download the library distribution and host the files on your own server.

Order matters: As is the case generally with JavaScript and CSS, order matters; these files should be included in the order specified above. If you include files in the wrong order, errors may result.

Using Dialog

This section describes common tasks for creating and using Dialog. It contains these sections:

Dialog inherits its constructor and configuration, as well as several other important methods, from Panel, and thus from Overlay. See Panel and Overlay for more information on how to utilize Dialog's inherited features.

Defining Dialog Markup

HTML markup for Dialog uses the same modular format underlying Module. Because the core interaction supported by Dialog involves gathering information from the user via an HTML form, typically you place a form element in the "body" section of your Dialog module. Placing the form element in the page, rather than creating the form via script once the Dialog instance is created, enables you to use Progressive Enhancement — showing the full content and functionality to users who may have older browsers or who have JavaScript disabled while still providing a richer interaction to modern, standards-compatible browsers.

The following example illustrates the markup for a Dialog module:

  1. <div id="myDialog">
  2. <div class="hd">Please enter your information</div>
  3. <div class="bd">
  4. <form name="dlgForm" method="POST" action="php/post.php">
  5. <p>Please enter your personal contact information:</p>
  6. <label for="firstname">First Name:</label><input type="text" name="firstname" />
  7. <label for="lastname">Last Name:</label><input type="text" name="lastname" />
  8. </form>
  9. </div>
  10. </div>
<div id="myDialog">
    <div class="hd">Please enter your information</div>
    <div class="bd">
        <form name="dlgForm" method="POST" action="php/post.php">
            <p>Please enter your personal contact information:</p>
            <label for="firstname">First Name:</label><input type="text" name="firstname" />
            <label for="lastname">Last Name:</label><input type="text" name="lastname" />

The "action" attribute specified in the form is the one that is used to submit the data, regardless of whether you have configured your Dialog (via the postmethod attribute) to use XMLHttpRequest or standard form submission.

If no form is specified in your markup, one is automatically created for you by Dialog (its name attribute will be "frm_dialogid", where dialogid is the HTML element id you passed to the Dialog constructor). If you allow Dialog to create the form for you dynamically, be sure to set the form's action attribute by script if you wish the form to post via XMLHttpRequest or standard form submisison.

Setting up Dialog Buttons

Dialog provides a configuration property called "buttons" that allows you to automatically wire up buttons with callbacks to display in the footer of the Dialog. Buttons are configured by creating an array of objects as illustrated in the following code sample. Note that you can configure a separate handler script to respond to each of the buttons.

  1. var handleCancel = function() {
  2. this.cancel();
  3. };
  4. var handleSubmit = function() {
  5. this.submit();
  6. };
  7. var myButtons = [
  8. { text: "Submit", handler: handleSubmit, isDefault: true },
  9. { text: "Cancel", handler: handleCancel }
  10. ];
  11. myDialog.cfg.queueProperty("buttons", myButtons);
var handleCancel = function() {
var handleSubmit = function() {
var myButtons = [
    { text: "Submit", handler: handleSubmit, isDefault: true },
    { text: "Cancel", handler: handleCancel }
myDialog.cfg.queueProperty("buttons", myButtons);

Each button object in the buttons array can have three properties:

  • text: The text that will display on the face of the button;
  • handler: the function that should fire when the button is clicked (the scope of this function is always its Dialog instance);
  • isDefault: an optional boolean value that specifies that a button should be highlighted and focused by default.

In the example above, the "buttons" property is queued up to be executed upon render of the Dialog.

NOTE: If you've included the optional YUI Button script on the page, the buttons created will be instances of YAHOO.widget.Button otherwise regular HTML Buttons will be created.

Initializing the Dialog

To instantiate a Dialog, use this code:

  1. var myDialog = new YAHOO.widget.Dialog('myDialog');
var myDialog = new YAHOO.widget.Dialog('myDialog');

This constructor uses an element with an HTML ID of "myDialog" on the page; the markup example above provides a template for this markup. Once instantiated, you may wish to configure the form's buttons (see above) and then render your Dialog instance on the page:

  1. myDialog.render();

Generally, Dialogs are hidden when the page loads and only appear when needed. To reveal your Dialog on screen, invoke its show method:


Submitting Form Data

Submitting the Dialog via script is as simple as calling the submit function on the Dialog object:

  1. myDialog.submit();

The default postmethod for the Dialog is async. Upon submission of a Dialog whose postmethod configuration is set to async (meaning that it will use Connection Manager to post the form's data via XMLHttpRequest to the URI specified in the form element's action attribute), all of the appropriate Connection Manager callbacks documented in the API will be executed, allowing for easy handling of the response. By default the Dialog is automatically hidden after submission, however the hideaftersubmit configuration property can be used to control this behavior.

For example, to set up the handlers for both successful and failing Dialog submissions when using an asynchronous form post, the code might look like this:

  1. var onSuccess = function(o) {
  2. alert("Your data was successfully submitted. The response was: " + o.responseText);
  3. };
  4. var onFailure = function(o) {
  5. alert("Your submission failed. Status: " + o.status);
  6. };
  7. myDialog.callback.success = onSuccess;
  8. myDialog.callback.failure = onFailure;
var onSuccess = function(o) {
    alert("Your data was successfully submitted. The response was: " + o.responseText);
var onFailure = function(o) {
    alert("Your submission failed. Status: " + o.status);
myDialog.callback.success = onSuccess;
myDialog.callback.failure = onFailure;

When using the async postmethod, if you need access to the connection object, you can listen for the asyncSubmitEvent, which is fired after the async request is dispatched. The connection object will be passed to listeners as the first argument:

  1. myDialog.asyncSubmitEvent.subscribe(
  2. function(type, args) {
  3. var connectionObject = args[0];
  5. setTimeout(function() {
  6. if (userClosedDialog) {
  7. YAHOO.util.Connect.abort(connectionObject);
  8. }
  9. }, 1000);
  10. }
  11. );
    function(type, args) {
        var connectionObject = args[0];
        setTimeout(function() {
            if (userClosedDialog) {
        }, 1000);

If the Dialog's form contains a file upload input control (<input type="file">) the Dialog will use Connection Manager's file upload support when sending out the async request. For file uploads Connection Manager expects the callback to be defined with a single upload handler, replacing the success and failure handlers. The upload handler will be invoked on completion of the transaction:

  1. var onUpload = function(o) {
  2. // NOTE: In this case, since Connection Manager uses an iframe for submission,
  3. // o.responseText will contain the contents of the iframe's document.body tag as a string.
  4. // See the Connection Manager documentation for more details
  5. alert("Your data was successfully submitted. The response was: " + o.responseText);
  6. }
  7. myDialog.callback.upload = onUpload;
var onUpload = function(o) {
    // NOTE: In this case, since Connection Manager uses an iframe for submission,
    // o.responseText will contain the contents of the iframe's document.body tag as a string.
    // See the Connection Manager documentation for more details
    alert("Your data was successfully submitted. The response was: " + o.responseText);
myDialog.callback.upload = onUpload;

It's also valuable to note that the callback object referenced in the above example is passed directly to the Connection Manager, and therefore can accept the argument and scope properties in addition to success and failure. More information on the usage of these properties is available in the Connection Manager documentation.

Reading Current Form Data

Dialog provides a function called getData that returns a simple object structure with the form's current data. For instance, in the example above, if you wanted to find out what someone typed in the field called "firstname" you could retrieve that value from getData like such:

  1. var firstname = myDialog.getData().firstname;
var firstname = myDialog.getData().firstname;

Configuration Properties

Dialog has the following configuration properties:

Name Type Default Description
postmethod String "async" The method in which the Dialog's form should be posted. Options are "async", "form", or "none".
postdata String null Additional post data to send along with "async" POST requests. This string is expected to be the form of a name/value pair query string, as defined by the YAHOO.util.Connect.asyncRequest method.
buttons Object[] null Array of button objects to render at the bottom of the Dialog.
hideaftersubmit Boolean true Whether or not to hide the Dialog after it is submitted.

Dialog has the following inherited configuration properties:

Name TypeDefaultDescription
visible Boolean true Sets whether or not the Dialog is visible on the page (Dialog uses the CSS "visibility" property to control this).
effect Object / Object[] none Sets the ContainerEffect (one or many) that should be used when showing and hiding the Dialog.
monitorresize Boolean true Configures whether or not to create a hidden off-screen element that can be used to monitor for text size changes in the DOM.
x Number null Sets the element's page X co-ordinate.
y Number null Sets the element's page Y co-ordinate.
xy Array null Sets the element's page XY co-ordinates.
context Array null Allows the Overlay to be aligned relative to a context element. The property expects an array value with the format: [contextElementOrId, overlayCorner, contextElementCorner], where "contextElementOrId" is the context element or the id of the context element.

The corner parameters are one of the following string values: "tr" (top right), "tl" (top left), "br" (bottom right), or "bl" (bottom left) and define which corners of the overlay and context element should be aligned.

The array also supports optional 4th and 5th entries.

The 4th entry is an optional array of event names, or Custom Event objects, which should trigger re-alignment of the Overlay with the currently configured context element. For example:

[contextId, overlayCorner, contextCorner, ["beforeShow", "windowResize"]]

Will re-align the Overlay to the context element just before it's shown, and whenever the window is resized.

The 5th entry is an optional XY pixel offset, which is to be applied after the Overlay is aligned to the specified corner of the context element, and can be used to add a pixel buffer between the context element and the Overlay. For example:

[contextId, overlayCorner, contextCorner, triggerEvents, [10, 20]]

Will offset the Overlay by 10 pixels along the X axis, and 20 pixels along the Y axis, after aligning the specified corners.

fixedcenter Boolean false Specifies whether the Overlay should be automatically centered in the viewport on window scroll and resize.
width String null Sets the element's "width" style property.
height String null Sets the element's "height" style property.
zIndex Number null Sets the element's "z-index" style property.
constraintoviewport Boolean false If set to true the Overlay will try to remain inside the confines of the size of viewport.
iframe Boolean false (true by default for IE 6 and below) If set to true the Menu will have and iframe behind it to prevent other elements with a higher z-index from poking through.
close Boolean null Whether a "close" icon should be displayed in the header.
draggable Boolean "true" if the Drag and Drop utility is included, otherwise "false." Whether to allow the user to drag the Panel using its header.
underlay String "shadow" Specifies the type of underlay to display under the Panel. Other options include "none", and "matte", which renders a small white matte under the Panel.
modal Boolean false Specifies whether the document should be shielded with a partially transparent mask to require the user to close the Panel before being able to activate any elements in the document.
keylisteners YAHOO.util.KeyListener / Array null A KeyListener or Array of KeyListeners containing key events to enable when the Panel is displayed.
hideaftersubmit Boolean true If set to true, the Dialog is hidden after it's submitted. If false, it is left visible after form submission.
autofillheight String "body" Which container element (header, body or footer) should be sized to fill out any remaining vertical space when a height is set on the container using the height configuration property. Supported values are "header", "body" and "footer". Can be set to null (or false) to turn off the feature.

Dialog Event Flow (diagram)

Diagram outlining the flow of custom events that happens in a typical Dialog Control lifecycle.

Support & Community

The YUI Library and related topics are discussed on the on the forums.

Also be sure to check out YUIBlog for updates and articles about the YUI Library written by the library's developers.

Filing Bugs & Feature Requests

The YUI Library's public bug tracking and feature request repositories are located on the site. Before filing new feature requests or bug reports, please review our reporting guidelines.

Dialog/SimpleDialog Controls Cheat Sheet:

Cheat Sheet for the Dialog and SimpleDialog Controls

Download full set of cheat sheets.

Container Family Examples:

Other YUI Examples That Make Use of the Container Family:

More Reading about the YUI Dialog Control:

YUI Dialog on

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