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Getting rid of the annoying popup help

Recently I stumbled upon two excellent blog posts about how to change the default pop up APEX Help functionality to something more user friendly. Martin explained how to transform the Help into a tooltip, while Piotr transformed the Help pop up into a DIV.
I will add my two cents to this discussion by adding another option...
The pop up is trigger by a call to the Javascript function "popupFieldHelp'. So I decided to locally overwrite that function with this one:

function popupFieldHelp(pItemId, pSessionId ){
// Construct the URL
vURL = "wwv_flow_item_help.show_help?p_item_id=" + pItemId + "&p_session=" + pSessionId;
// Call getRequest to get the HTML for the popupWindow
var popupWindow = getRequest(vURL);
// Get the Subject (item name) from the Window
var HelpSubject = $(popupWindow).find('.fieldtitlebold').html();
// Get the HelpText from the Window
var HelpText = $(popupWindow).find('.instructiontext').html();
// Show the results as an alert
showHelp( HelpSubject, HelpText );
}
This function calls two other functions:
a. showHelp - to show the Helptext in a jQuery Dialog box
b. getRequest - to retrieve the results of an URL by executing an AJAX call (I was hoping to find something like that available in the standard APEX Javascript lib, but couldn't find it - if you know a better way, please let me know!).
The result is a nice looking help (you can tweak the settings and/or presentation the way you like):


IMHO the main advantage for this approach is that you don't need to change anything in your templates (apart from loading the necessary Javascript files), so it is very easy to implement!
As usual there is an example on apex.oracle.com...

The code for "showHelp" is below:

function showHelp(pTitle, pText){
vText = '
'+''+pText+'
';
$(document.body).append(vText);
$("#info").dialog({
bgiframe: true,
modal: true,
minHeight : 200,
width : 200,
close : function(){$("#info").remove();},
closeOnEscape : false,
buttons: {
Ok: function() {
$(this).dialog('close');
$("#info").remove();
}}
});
}
The code for "getRequest" is here:

function getRequest( vURL ){
http_request = false;
if (window.XMLHttpRequest) { // Mozilla, Safari,…
http_request = new XMLHttpRequest();
if (http_request.overrideMimeType) {
// set type accordingly to anticipated content type
http_request.overrideMimeType("text/html");
}
}
else if (window.ActiveXObject) { // IE
try {
http_request = new ActiveXObject("Msxml2.XMLHTTP");
} catch (e) {
try {
http_request = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");
} catch (e) {}
}
}
if (!http_request) {
alert("Cannot create XMLHTTP instance");
return false;
}
http_request.open("GET", vURL, false);
http_request.send(null);
return http_request.responseText;
}

Comments

Hi Roel,

Great example! I think this will be very useful for larger help texts that may also require copy & pasting etc.

Thank you,

Martin
Johannes said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johannes said…
Hi Roel,

When I try it a 2nd time it doesn't work. The help text then appears in the trailer portion of the page.

Johannes

ps. sorry for the negative comment.
Johannes said…
By the way Roel,

It goes wriong if you close the allert with the x.

Johannes
Roel said…
@Johannes,
Thanks for pointing that out. It is solved by adding
close : function(){$("#info").remove();},
to the dialog method.
I've updated the example and the code above.
Cheers
Roel
Johannes said…
Working perfect now Roel TX.

Johannes.
shalini said…
Hi Roel,

I read your post and I am trying to implement it on my workspace but I do not know where to place the javascripts. Any help appreciated.

thanks
Roel said…
Shalini,
You could place the javascript in an (external) javascript file and load it into your template after the apex javascript stuff. Or - for testing purposes - just put it into the page HTML header (or footer).
shalini said…
Hi Roel,

Thanks for the tip. I have uploaded all the javascript into a file and I am calling it in my page header. When I click on the item label, I only get the info.png image. I am not getting the jquery effect. I have tried by calling the jquery-1.3.2.js in the page header but it still wont show up. Any suggestions?

thank you!!
shalini said…
Hi Roel,

I got it working now. I had to include the jqueryui.

thanks again
Bhavin said…
Hi Roel,

This is very nice example.
Just quick thing, how can I find my workspace id to put here: p_security_group_id=your-workspace-id.

Thanks,
Bhavin
Roel said…
select workspace, workspace_id from apex_workspaces
Robert said…
Hi Roel,

When I try it ,the help text then appears in the trailer portion of the page and the icon is not displayed. I saw that Johannes mentioned it, but I did not see a solution. How can it be solved?
Roel said…
@Robert,
The icon is just a png file (Info.png) I uploaded, you can choose your own one.
And the other thing: Are you sure you included jQuery and jQuery UI (at least the dialog js file)? (Double)check it using Firefox w. Firebug.
Thanks, that post is helpful.

Alex.

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