Modal dialogs

Jim Eng jimeng at
Sun Jun 22 20:18:56 UTC 2008

In the authoring environment for Sakaibrary's Subject Research Guide  
tool, there are a few places where we need a modal dialog. We have  
been using the jquery.simplemodal.js plug-in for that ( 
).  It works pretty well but there are some open issues.  In another  
project, Noah Botimer is using the SimpleModal plug-in and has  
outlined some changes he made to fix some of the issues we're having.   
I haven't had a chance to look at Noah's work yet.

I am writing to inquire whether anyone else is working on similar  
issues in sakai or implementing modal dialogs in other ways.  My hope  
is that we can agree on a standard approach to modal dialogs across  
sakai that will not have the problems we've encountered.

Here's a brief description of the issues we are having:  When  
launched, SimpleModal covers our current document with a grey overlay  
(in a div) and shows the modal dialog in the center of that overlay.   
There are two problems with the way we have implemented that using the  
SimpleModal plug-in.  First, our document is in an iframe, so only  
that part of the UI is greyed-out.  Ideally the entire sakai UI would  
be covered to make the dialog more fully modal (i.e. the user would  
need to dismiss the modal dialog before initiating some action within  
sakai but outside the modal dialog).  Also, the modal dialog is  
centered in the overlay, which may extend well beyond the visible  
portion of the document in the browser window.  The user may need to  
scroll up or down to see the modal dialog. I think it's likely that  
this is a problem in our configuration of the plug-in, but I haven't  
yet seen a way to fix that (still need to look at Noah's work to see  
whether this is addressed there).  Our most immediate need is to fix  
the positioning of the modal dialog so the user doesn't need to scroll  
to find it.

My major question is whether anybody else is working with SimpleModal  
or other methods of implementing modal dialogs in sakai.  Is there  
already a preferred way to do this in sakai?  If not, does anybody  
have suggestions about how we should decide on a preferred way to do  



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