Authors:Doug Hays, Bill Keese, Nikolai Onken, Marcus Reimann, Craig Riecke
Developers:multiple developers

The dijit.form package contains “form widgets”. What’s a form widget? It roughly means a widget that appears inside a form, but technically we think of it as “anything that has a value”.

The widgets can be used in a FORM tag, in a dijit.form.Form widget, or outside of a form.

Note not to confuse the dijit.form module with the dijit.form.Form widget.

Available Form Widgets

The dijit.form widgets are:


Input widgets

All widgets that are similar to an <input>:


Select widgets

  • dijit.form.Select

    A styleable drop down select box (similar to html select element)

  • dijit.form.ComboBox

    This is often called “auto complete” and perhaps should be listed in the “Input widgets” section above since it allows the user to type any value and just gives suggested completions

  • dijit.form.MultiSelect

    The MultiSelect widget allows the selection of multiple items

  • dijit.form.FilteringSelect

    Similar to a <select> but with type-ahead filtering of the drop down list

There are also some select widgets in the dojox.form project.


There are also some notable widgets in dojox.form and dojox.widget that complement the dijit.form pieces and will probably be incorporated into dijit eventually.

Form validation

There are three parts to form validation:

  • color change / icon: fields turn yellow and display an icon when they have an invalid value, or when a required field is empty
  • validation tooltips
  • prevention of form submit: using the dijit.form.Form widget you can prevent form submission if any of the fields are invalid

Color change

The input-type form widgets (including ComboBox and FilteringSelect, but excluding Textarea) turn yellow and display an icon when the value is invalid, or a required field is blank.

In general the color change is deferred until the field is blurred. I.e. the field won’t turn yellow while the user is typing because the value they have is incomplete. However, the field will still turn yellow instantly if the value the user is typing isn’t valid (and can’t be made valid by typing more characters). This change should provide good feedback to users.

For number fields, the field will also turn yellow instantly if the user has entered a value that is out of range (like 1000 for a field with max=999), assuming that the value can’t be made in range by typing more characters (ex: “1” in a field with a min of 1000).

Validation Tooltips

You can define the following types of tooltip prompts for the input type form widgets (same list as above):

  • promptMessage: hint message on focus/mouse over of an empty field. Note that this is not recommended from a Ux perspective as it might make the user think they’ve done something wrong.
  • invalidMessage: when the value is invalid.
  • missingMessage: when a required value is missing
  • rangeMessage: when the value is outside a min/max range

If you don’t define a message then dijit uses built-in generic messages, except for the promptMessage, which just isn’t displayed.

The validation tooltips are only displayed while the field is focused (and after dijit has decided that there is indeed an error, see above section).

Prevent form submission

Using the dijit.form.Form widget you can prevent form submission if any of the fields are invalid. Dijit provides hooks so you can either disable the submit button, or popup an error message when the user tries to submit, or even focus on the invalid field.

Use Dijit Form Controls All Over!

Because they’re easy to mix and match, novice Dojo users often combine Dijit form controls with plain ol’ HTML controls. That’s not good for several reasons:

  • The Dijit form controls follow the Dijit Theme but plain HTML controls will not. They will stick out like a sore thumb amongst other nicely-colored widgets.
  • dijit.form.Form and derived controls like Dialog can only deal with dijit.form widgets.

Never fear. For every HTML control, there’s a Dijit equivalent that does the same thing, and obeys most of the HTML attributes.

  • <input type=”text”> becomes data-dojo-type=”dijit.form.TextBox”, data-dojo-type=”dijit.form.ValidationTextBox”, data-dojo-type=”dijit.form.NumberTextBox”, etc.
  • <input type=”checkbox”> becomes data-dojo-type=”dijit.form.Checkbox”
  • <textarea> becomes data-dojo-type=”dijit.form.Textarea” or data-dojo-type=”dijit.form.SimpleTextArea”
  • <select> becomes data-dojo-type=”dijit.FilteringSelect”
  • <input type=”radio”> becomes data-dojo-type=”dijit.form.RadioButton”
  • <button> (or <input type=”submit”> etc.) becomes data-dojo-type=”dijit.form.Button”

Mapped Form Controls

Many of the form controls have a concept of “displayed value” vs. “serialized value” (aka the “real value”), which is the value passed to the server on form submit. For example, a NumberSpinner may be declared like:

<div data-dojo-type="dijit.form.NumberSpinner" data-dojo-props="value:1000">

(note the “value” keyword). But when it’s displayed in America it looks like “1,000” (with the comma). And if they user types in “1,234,567”, it gets sent back to the server as “123456789”.

This is handled internally by having two <input> fields in the widget:


The upshot of this is that Dijit handles localization issues on the client;the server doesn’t have to worry about it (except of course for translating the boilerplate text on the page, like the label for the above control).

Styling of Form Controls

To style any of the form controls, the first thing to do is to look at the template of the form control, for example, Button.html:

<span class="dijit dijitReset dijitLeft dijitInline"
  ><span class="dijitReset dijitRight dijitInline"
      ><span class="dijitReset dijitInline dijitButtonNode"
          ><button class="dijitReset dijitStretch dijitButtonContents"
              name="${name}" type="${type}" value="${value}" role="button" aria-labelledby="${id}_label"
              ><span class="dijitReset dijitInline" data-dojo-attach-point="iconNode"
                  ><span class="dijitReset dijitToggleButtonIconChar">&#10003;</span
              ><span class="dijitReset dijitInline dijitButtonText"

And then look in firebug to see it in action.

The template, however, does not tell the whole story. Each form widget (and many other widgets too) have something called a “baseClass”, which is applied to the root node of the widget. In Button’s case, the baseClass is called “dijitButton”. Also, depending on the state of the widget, additional classes are applied to the widget’s DOM node. The additional classes are a combination of baseClass and various keywords:

  • Focused
  • Active (when pressing the button)
  • Hover (when hovering over the button)
  • Checked (for toggle-type widgets like CheckBox)
  • Selected (button for currently selected pane/tab)
  • Disabled
  • ReadOnly

For example, a dormant button will have the class:

  • dijitButton

When the user hovers over it, the classes will become:

  • dijitButton
  • dijitButtonHover

There are also combination classes that are applied. For example, if a user focuses and hovers over a button, the classes become:

  • dijitButton
  • dijitButtonHover
  • dijitButtonFocused
  • dijitButtonFocusedHover

Using the classes defined on the DOM node you can affect the styling of any sub-nodes within the widget. For example:

.dijitButtonFocused .dijitButtonContents {
     color: red;
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