Slippin' Sliders with Dijit

The HTML5 specification provides many new features, such as the <input type="range"> element which allows users to choose from a range of values. Unfortunately, this new input type is not supported in all browsers, and looks different in each browser that does support it. That's where Dijit's HorizontalSlider and VerticalSlider widgets come in: flexible, themeable, and functional.

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Dojo Version: 1.8

Getting Started

There are many benefits to using sliders within user interfaces. Benefits to using Dijit's slider solutions include:

  • Both horizontal and vertical sliders are provided
  • Sliders may be easily themed to match the rest of an application
  • Sliders display and work uniformly in each browser
  • The same convenient properties, methods, and events you've come to expect from Dijit widgets are provided

The Dojo Toolkit's slider widgets live within Dojo's user interface library, Dijit. As with using any Dijit resource, it's important to include the CSS of the theme you want to use:

<head>
	<!-- load the "claro" theme -->
	<link rel="stylesheet" href="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/dojo/1.8.9/dijit/themes/claro/claro.css">
</head>
<!-- add the "claro" CSS class to the body -->
<body class="claro">

	<!-- load dojo and provide config via data attribute -->
	<script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/dojo/1.8.9/dojo/dojo.js"
		data-dojo-config="async: true, parseOnLoad: true">
	</script>
</body>

It is also important to remember to require the modules you will be using. This will be demonstrated in later examples as we explore the various features that Dijit's slider widgets have to offer.

Important dijit/form/HorizontalSlider and dijit/form/VerticalSlider initialization properties include:

  • clickSelect: Whether or not simply clicking the slider bar should change the value
  • disabled: Whether or not the slider should be active
  • discreteValues: The number of possible discrete slider values (e.g. if your minimum is 0, your maximum is 10, and your discreteValues is 3, the slider will stop at the values 0, 5, and 10)
  • intermediateChanges: Whether or not onChange should fire during each step of the slide (by default, the onChange event fires only when the slider has settled at its final position)
  • maximum: The maximum slider value
  • minimum: The minimum slider value
  • name: The name used for the <input> when submitting the form (so its value may be accessed)
  • pageIncrement: If discreteValues is also specified, this indicates the number of increments that the slider handle is moved via the page up/page down keys. If discreteValues is not specified, it indicates the number of pixels that the slider handle is moved via page up/page down.
  • showButtons: Whether or not increment and decrement buttons should be displayed with the slider
  • value: The slider's current value

Important dijit/form/HorizontalSlider and dijit/form/VerticalSlider methods include:

  • decrement: Decrements the slider's value
  • increment: Increments the slider's value
  • get: Returns the slider's value
  • set: Sets the slider's value

Important dijit/form/HorizontalSlider and dijit/form/VerticalSlider events include:

  • onChange: Fires when the slider reaches its destination value, or at each step of the change if intermediateChanges is true

Creating Sliders

Horizontal Slider Dijit A basic horizontal slider.

Sliders may be created programmatically or declaratively. A declaratively-created horizontal slider would look like this:

<body class="claro">
	<input id="hslider" value="3" type="range"
		data-dojo-type="dijit/form/HorizontalSlider"
		data-dojo-props="
			minimum: 0,
			maximum: 10,
			discreteValues: 11">

	<script>
			// Require parser since we are performing declarative instantiation
			// Also require the slider class
			require(["dijit/form/HorizontalSlider", "dojo/parser"]);
	</script>
</body>

The example above creates a horizontal slider with values from 0 to 10, starting with a value of 3, with increment and decrement buttons, which will add or subtract 1 from the slider's value when clicked.

Note that we defined discreteValues as 11 in order to achieve increments of 1 in this example—this is because there are really 11 whole numbers within the range 0 to 10, including zero.

View Demo

Programmatic creation of a vertical slider would look like this:

<body class="claro">
	<div id="vertSlider"></div>

	<script>
		// Require the slider class
		require(["dijit/form/VerticalSlider"], function(VerticalSlider) {
			// Create the vertical slider programmatically
			var vertSlider = new VerticalSlider({
				minimum: 0,
				maximum: 100,
				pageIncrement: 20,
				value: 20,
				intermediateChanges: true,
				style: "height: 200px;"
			}, "vertSlider");

			// Start up the widget
			vertSlider.startup();
		});
	</script>
</body>

The vertical slider above ranges from 0 to 100, has an initial value of 20, operates at per-pixel increments since discreteValues is not set, and fires an onChange event during each step of the slider's movement.

View Demo

Adding Rules and Rule Labels

Horizontal and Vertical sliders function well, but often a developer will want to add tick marks and labels to clearly indicate values at given locations along the slider. That's where Dijit's dijit/form/HorizontalRule, dijit/form/HorizontalRuleLabels, dijit/form/VerticalRule, and dijit/form/VerticalRuleLabels come in.

Horizontal Slider Dijit A horizontal slider with two rules and labels.

Important dijit/form/HorizontalRule and dijit/form/VerticalRule initialization properties include:

  • container: Can be "topDecoration" or "bottomDecoration" for HorizontalRule, or "leftDecoration" or "rightDecoration" for VerticalRule, indicating where this rule appears relative to the slider
  • count: Number of hashmarks to display
  • ruleStyle: CSS styles to be applied to each mark

Important dijit/form/HorizontalRuleLabels and dijit/form/VerticalRuleLabels initialization properties include:

  • container: Can be "topDecoration" or "bottomDecoration" for HorizontalRuleLabels, or "leftDecoration" or "rightDecoration" for VerticalRuleLabels, indicating where the labels appear relative to the slider
  • labelStyle: CSS styles to be applied to each label
  • labels: Optional array (or, declaratively, a list of <li>s) of labels to place along the slider

When the labels property is not specified, the following properties also apply to rule labels:

  • count: Number of labels to display
  • maximum: Highest value to be displayed in the set of labels
  • minimum: Lowest value to be displayed in the set of labels
  • numericMargin: Number of labels that should be suppressed at each end of the slider. Note that this applies on top of count, minimum, and maximum; for example, count: 6 and numericMargin: 1 would result in 4 labels, with the lowest and highest labels hidden.
  • constraints: Allows customization of the format of auto-generated numeric labels. This behaves like the options object to dojo/number/format.

Let's go back to our HorizontalSlider example and add some rules and labels above and below the slider. The code would end up looking something like this:


<body class="claro">
	<!-- create rules and labels above horizontal slider -->
	<ol data-dojo-type="dijit/form/HorizontalRuleLabels"
		data-dojo-props="
			container: 'topDecoration',
			count: 11,
			numericMargin: 1"
		style="height: 1.2em; font-weight: bold">
	</ol>
	<div data-dojo-type="dijit/form/HorizontalRule"
		data-dojo-props="
			container: 'topDecoration',
			count: 11"
		style="height: 5px; margin: 0 12px;"></div>

	<!-- declaratively create a slider without buttons, values from 0-10 -->
	<input id="hslider" type="range" value="3"
		data-dojo-type="dijit/form/HorizontalSlider"
		data-dojo-props="
			minimum: 0,
			maximum: 10,
			showButtons: false,
			discreteValues: 11">

	<!-- create rules and labels below horizontal slider -->
	<div data-dojo-type="dijit/form/HorizontalRule"
		data-dojo-props="
			container: 'bottomDecoration',
			count: 5"
			style="height: 5px; margin: 0 12px;"></div>
	<ol data-dojo-type="dijit/form/HorizontalRuleLabels"
		data-dojo-props="
			container: 'bottomDecoration'"
		style="height: 1em; font-weight: bold;">
		<li>lowest</li>
		<li>normal</li>
		<li>highest</li>
	</ol>

	<script>
		// Require parser since we are performing declarative instantiation
		require(["dijit/form/HorizontalSlider", "dijit/form/HorizontalRuleLabels", "dijit/form/HorizontalRule", "dojo/parser"]);
	</script>
</body>
View Demo

We can also augment our programmatically-created vertical slider to show rules and rule labels, as follows:

<body class="claro">
	<div id="vertSlider"></div>

	<script>
		require(["dijit/form/VerticalSlider", "dijit/form/VerticalRuleLabels", "dijit/form/VerticalRule", "dojo/dom-construct", "dojo/parser", "dojo/dom"],
			function(VerticalSlider, VerticalRuleLabels, VerticalRule, domConstruct, parser, dom) {
				// Create the rules
				var rulesNode = domConstruct.create("div", {}, dom.byId("vertSlider"), "first");
				var sliderRules = new VerticalRule({
					container: "leftDecoration",
					count: 11,
					style: "width: 5px;"
				}, rulesNode);

				// Create the labels
				var labelsNode = domConstruct.create("div", {}, dom.byId("vertSlider"), "first");
				var sliderLabels = new VerticalRuleLabels({
					container: "rightDecoration",
					labelStyle: "font-style: italic; font-size: 0.75em"
				}, labelsNode);

				// Create the vertical slider programmatically
				var vertSlider = new VerticalSlider({
					minimum: 0,
					maximum: 100,
					pageIncrement: 20,
					value: 20,
					intermediateChanges: true,
					style: "height: 200px;"
				}, "vertSlider");

				// Start up the widgets
				vertSlider.startup();
				sliderRules.startup();
				sliderLabels.startup();
			}
		);
	</script>
</body>
View Demo

Note that rules and labels are each given their own <div> element and are injected into the node which will become the VerticalSlider ("vertSlider").

Conclusion

While the HTML5 specification offers slider controls via <input type="range">, this feature is only available in modern browsers, and the ability to customize its look and feel is limited. Dijit's Slider widgets provide a uniform, themeable, cross-browser compatible solution for allowing users to change range values. Sliders provide the flexibility and reliability developers expect from the Dojo Toolkit.

Slider Resources

Looking for more detail about Dijit's slider widgets? Check out these great resources:

Error in the tutorial? Can’t find what you are looking for? Let us know!