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Picture In Picture (lightbox/greybox) support for Plone

Project description


PIP = Picture in Picture

pipbox = picture boxes in Plone

Products.pipbox is a backwards-compatability layer that provides Plone 4’s ajax popup support in Plone 3.3.x.

This allows lightbox-style popups that may be loaded as images, AJAX html, or iframes.

pipbox currently does three things:

  1. loads JQuery Tools and its supporting js by loading;
  2. Adds many of the standard Plone 4 popup forms;
  3. provides a framework for connecting JQuery Tools bling to CSS selectors without JavaScript.

pipbox has been tested with Plone 3.3.x. It’s basically compatible with Plone 4, but there’s very little reason to use it there. If you use it with Plone 4, you’ll want to turn off (in portal_javascripts) the popupforms.js supplied by pipbox in favor of the one supplied in Plone.

With pipbox and in place, you may use documented mechanisms for adding popups.

You may also use a table-driven setup, with settings in the table allowing you to specify DOM elements via jquery selectors. These are usually going to be <a href… /> or <img src… /> elements. You specify how the URL should be loaded (as an image, ajax or iframe). You may also optionally supply a regular expression search/replace pair for the URL and additional arguments for the JS engine.

Options are specified with Javascript object notation and stored in a property sheet in portal_properties.

Overlay examples

Let’s say, for example, that you want to make clicking on news-item photos open a lightbox-style larger version of the image. To do this, you’ll need to specify:

  • A jquery style selector for a Plone element, e.g., “.newsImageContainer a”
  • “image” for the load method (“ajax” and “iframe” are other alternatives)
  • A regular expression search/replace to transform the href or src URL. In this example, we’re changing the URL to point to the preview-sized image. So, our search/replace pair is “/image_view_fullscreen” and “_preview”.
  • You could also specify additional overlay configuration parameters.

Site setup for pipbox is table-driven, with a lines field in portal_properties.pipbox_properties.selector_specs. In this table, each line is a JSON object specification, So, all of the above will need to be a line like:

{type:'overlay',subtype:'image',selector:'.newsImageContainer a',urlmatch:'/image_view_fullscreen$',urlreplace:'_preview'}

Another quick example, one that provides full-image popups for images placed via kupu:

{type:'overlay', subtype:'image', selector:'img.image-right,img.image-left,img.image-inline', urlmatch:'/image_.+$',urlreplace:''}

What’s different? We’re targeting <img … /> tags, which don’t have href attributes. pipbox picks up the target URL from the src attribute, so that we can have a popup view of image elements that aren’t linked to that view. Note also that we’re using a real regular expression in the search/replace so that we can strip off image_preview, image_mini, etc.

And, a configuration to put the site map in an iframe popup with expose settings, picking up the target from an href:

{type:'overlay',subtype:'iframe',selector:'#siteaction-sitemap a',config:{expose:{color:'#00f'}}}

Tabs examples

jQuery Tools unifies tabs, vertical accordions and horizontal accordions as ‘tabs’. Tabs are tied to ‘panes’ – the DOM elements displayed when tabs are chosen.

Identify tabs by supplying a ‘tabcontainer’ selector and a ‘tabs’ selector that chooses tab elements within the container. Supply a ‘panes’ selector to find the displayed panes.

So, if we want to turn a display list with a “pbtabs” class selector into a tab display, we could use the setup:

{type:'tabs',tabcontainer:'dl.pbtabs',tabs:'dt',panes:'dl.tabs > dd'}

To help with CSS, pipbox will tag both the tabcontainer and the panes with ‘pbactive’ class selectors to help you make sure that tabs degrade gracefully when JS isn’t available.

There’s currently no CSS support for tabs; we’ll probably add something that will look like Plone tabs. Also, there will likely be subtypes to support AJAX loading of tab content.


The complete options list:

  • type: ‘overlay’, ‘tabs’ (other JQuery Tools effects coming)
  • config: JQuery Tools configuration options in a dictionary

For overlays, add the options:

  • subtype: ‘image’ | ‘iframe’ | ‘ajax’
  • selector: the JQuery selector to find your elements
  • urlmatch: Regular expression for a portion of the target URL
  • urlreplace: Replacement expression for the matched expression
  • width: Width of the popup. Leave unset to determine through CSS. Overriden by image width for image overlays.

For AJAX overlays, add the option:

  • formselector: Used to specify the JQuery selector for any forms inside the loaded content that you want to be handled inside the overlay by doing an AJAX load to replace the overlay content.
  • noform: the action to take if an ajax form is submitted and the returned content has nothing matching the formselector. Available actions include ‘close’ to simply close the overlay, ‘reload’ to reload the page, and ‘redirect’ to redirect to another page. If you choose ‘redirect’, you must specify the URL in the redirect option.
  • closeselector: use this to specify a JQuery selector that will be used to find elements within the overlay that should close the overlay if clicked. The most obvious example is a form’s cancel button.
  • redirect: if you specify ‘redirect’ for the noform action, use the redirect option to specify the full target URL.

For tabs, add the options:

  • tabcontainer: A JQuery selector identifying the container for the tabs
  • tabs: A JQuery selector to identify the tabcontainer children which should be tabs.
  • panes: A JQuery selector for the panes to tie to the tabs.


Some of the pipbox options allow use of AJAX to get content. When you’re loading content into an overlay or tab via AJAX, you’re nearly always going to want only part of the loaded content. For example, if you’re picking up a Plone page, you may only want the #content div’s contents.

To do this, just add a CSS (or JQuery) selector to the target URL. JQuery’s load method (which pipbox uses) will only pick up the content inside the selection.

For example, let’s say that you wish to display the standard Plone site map in an overlay. You could use:

{type:'overlay',subtype:'ajax',selector:'#siteaction-sitemap a',urlmatch:'$',urlreplace:' #content > *'}

The urlmatch/urlreplace code adds a selector to the end of the URL when it calls JQuery’s load to get the content, picking up only what’s inside the #content div.

If you don’t specify a selection from the loaded page’s DOM, you’ll get everything inside the body section of the page.

Some browsers cache AJAX loads, so a random argument is added to URLs.

AJAX Forms

pipbox can automatically handle having forms that are within the overlay by making an AJAX post action, then replacing the overlay content with the results.

Specify forms for this handling with the “formselector” option. The content filter specified in the original overlay is reused.

For example, if you wished to handle the standard Plone contact form in an overlay, you could specify:

{type:'overlay',subtype:'ajax',selector:'#siteaction-contact a',urlmatch:'$',urlreplace:' #content>*', formselector:'form'}

Another example: using popups for the delete confirmation and rename forms (from the action menu):

{type:'overlay',subtype:'ajax',selector:'a#delete,a#rename',urlmatch:'$',urlreplace:' #region-content','closeselector':'[name=form.button.Cancel]'}

There are a couple of differences here. First, there is no form selector specified; that’s because we don’t want to install an ajax submit handler when we may be renaming or deleting the displayed object. Second, we specify a close selector so that pushing the cancel button will close the overlay without bothering to submit the form.

Global Configuration

You may specify global configuration parameters for jQuery Tools in portal_properties.pipbox_properties.tools_config. As with selector options, this is specified in a list of JSON specifications. Each specification should contain a ‘tool’ property specifying the tool being configured.

For example, to configure all overlays to load quickly and use a light expose effect, specify:

{tool:'overlay', speed:'fast', expose:{color:'#fff', opacity:0.5, loadSpeed:200}}

See the jQuery Tools documentation for available configuration options.

Integration Tests

Setup the test framework:

>>> from zope.component import getMultiAdapter
>>> from Products.Five.testbrowser import Browser
>>> browser = Browser()
>>> portal_url = 'http://nohost/plone'

We should already be installed, so there should be a product in the Products space:

>>> from Products import pipbox

And, quickinstaller should know about us:

>>> portal.portal_quickinstaller.isProductInstalled('pipbox')

Property Sheet Installation

We’ll use a portal_properties property sheet to store site setup:

>>> 'pipbox_properties' in portal.portal_properties.objectIds()

It’s selector_specs field should contain an automatic activation specification. Here’s what’s pre-installed:

>>> my_props = portal.portal_properties.pipbox_properties
>>> my_props.selector_specs
 ("{type:'overlay',subtype:'image',selector:'.newsImageContainer a',urlmatch:'/image_view_fullscreen$',urlreplace:''}", "{type:'overlay',subtype:'ajax',selector:'#portal-personaltools li a',urlmatch:'$',urlreplace:' #region-content > *',formselector:'form#login_form','noform':'reload'}", "{type:'overlay',subtype:'ajax',selector:'a#delete,a#rename',urlmatch:'$',urlreplace:' #region-content','closeselector':'[name=form.button.Cancel]'}")

Stylesheet View

Popup windows require style support. We should have our stylesheet available as a view:

>>> view = getMultiAdapter((portal, app.REQUEST), name=u'pipbox.css')
>>> mycss = view()
>>> mycss.find('PIPBox Stylesheet') > 0

For ease of interpolating plone style properties, it’s a dtml document, and should be interpreted as such:

>>> mycss.find('<dtml') == -1

The stylesheet should be installed in the CSS registry:

>>> 'pipbox.css' in portal.portal_css.getResourceIds()

Javascript Resource and View

We should have two items in the JS registry:

>>> jsreg = portal.portal_javascripts
>>> ids = jsreg.getResourceIds()
>>> '++resource++pipbox.js' in ids and 'pipboxinit.js' in ids

Open the main JS code item as a resource:


And, make sure it’s got our code in it:

>>> print browser.contents
   PIPbox tools for attaching JQuery Tools bling to CSS with option
   parameter strings.

We have initialization code for our settings in a view:

>>> view = getMultiAdapter((portal, app.REQUEST), name=u'pipboxinit.js')

This should contain the specifications from our propery sheet:

>>> print view()
pb.doConfig({tool:'overlay', speed:'fast', expose:{color:'#fff', opacity:0.5, loadSpeed:200}});
pb.doSetup({type:'overlay',subtype:'image',selector:'.newsImageContainer a',urlmatch:'/image_view_fullscreen$',urlreplace:''});
pb.doSetup({type:'overlay',subtype:'ajax',selector:'#portal-personaltools li a',urlmatch:'$',urlreplace:' #region-content > *',formselector:'form#login_form','noform':'reload'});
pb.doSetup({type:'overlay',subtype:'ajax',selector:'a#delete,a#rename',urlmatch:'$',urlreplace:' #region-content','closeselector':'[name=form.button.Cancel]'});



  • Emulate Plone 4 form tabbing in Plone 3.x. Probably mainly useful with PloneFormGen quick edit mode [smcmahon]
  • Reproduce the Plone 4 popups as possible. [smcmahon]
  • Adjust styles to work in IE 6. [davisagli]


  • Shifted the division of labor between pipbox and The overlay support is now in so that we can use it in plonetheme.sunburst. pipbox is now mainly a wrapper aimed at making it possible to use the jqt bling without writing any js.


  • Add a “Close” span to close button. It’s hidden by the default style sheet. This is a temporary fix, since it’s not translatable as implemented.


  • Make overlay loading smoother.


  • Add width parameter.
  • Tweak default styles.


  • Load jQuery Tools from


  • Add noform action specification for ajax forms.
  • Append overlays to #visual-portal-wrapper or body – not the link.


  • Figured out how to size after load


  • get it working on IE8, where event bubbling is buggy.


  • Added AJAX form handling
  • Load JQuery Tools from


  • Adapt to use with JQuery Tools rather than ThickBox


  • Initial commit

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