But still we use a browser as the demo environment. So we should know at least few user-interface functions. In this chapter we’ll get familiar with the browser functions
This shows a message and pauses the script execution until the user presses “OK”.
The mini-window with the message is called a modal window. The word “modal” means that the visitor can’t interact with the rest of the page, press other buttons etc, until they have dealt with the window. In this case – until they press “OK”.
prompt accepts two arguments:
result = prompt(title[, default]);
It shows a modal window with a text message, an input field for the visitor and buttons OK/CANCEL.
- The text to show to the visitor.
- An optional second parameter, the initial value for the input field.
The visitor may type something in the prompt input field and press OK. Or they can cancel the input by pressing a CANCEL button or hitting the Esc key.
The call to
prompt returns the text from the field or
null if the input was canceled.
The second parameter is optional. But if we don’t supply it, Internet Explorer would insert the text
"undefined" into the prompt.
Run this code in Internet Explorer to see that:
So, to look good in IE, it’s recommended to always provide the second argument:
result = confirm(question);
confirm shows a modal window with a
question and two buttons: OK and CANCEL.
The result is
true if OK is pressed and
We covered 3 browser-specific functions to interact with the visitor:
- shows a message.
- shows a message asking the user to input text. It returns the text or, if CANCEL or Esc is clicked, all browsers except Safari return
- shows a message and waits for the user to press “OK” or “CANCEL”. It returns
truefor OK and
All these methods are modal: they pause the script execution and don’t allow the visitor to interact with the rest of the page until the message has been dismissed.
There are two limitations shared by all the methods above:
- The exact location of the modal window is determined by the browser. Usually it’s in the center.
- The exact look of the window also depends on the browser. We can’t modify it.
That is the price for simplicity. There are other ways to show nicer windows and richer interaction with the visitor, but if “bells and whistles” do not matter much, these methods work just fine.