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<script>{ "title": "Using the classes Option", "level": "advanced" }</script>

As of the 1.12 release, the jQuery UI widget factory includes a means of managing CSS class names through the classes option. This article will give you an overview of how the classes option works, and discuss what you can do with it.

Syntax overview

The classes option is used to map structural class names to theme-related class names that you define. To see what this means let's look at an example. The code below uses the classes option to create a red dialog:

<style>
	.custom-red { background: red; }
</style>
<script>
	var dialog = $( "<div>Red</div>" ).dialog({
		classes: {
			"ui-dialog": "custom-red"
		}
	});
</script>

Here, the presentational custom-red class name is associated with the structural ui-dialog class name. Now, whenever the dialog applies the ui-dialog class name, it will also add a custom-red class name. However, something other than adding the custom-red class has happened here, which isn't immediately obvious. This code also removes the existing default value which was "ui-corner-all". You can associate multiple class names by including multiple space-delimited class names in the object's value. For instance the following code creates a dialog that is red and still has rounded corners:

<style>
	.custom-red { background: red; }
</style>
<script>
	var dialog = $( "<div>Big and red</div>" ).dialog({
		classes: {
			"ui-dialog": "ui-corner-all custom-red"
		}
	});
</script>

Note: To get a full list of the class names you can use with the classes option, check the API documentation for the jQuery UI widget you're interested in. For example, here's the list of classes for the dialog width: http://api.jqueryui.com/dialog/#theming.

The classes option works like any other widget factory option, which means all the widget factory option mechanisms still apply. For instance, the following code uses the option() method to remove all class names currently associated with the ui-dialog class name:

dialog.dialog( "option", "classes.ui-dialog", null );

And the following creates a widget extension that automatically associates the custom-red class with the ui-dialog class:

<style>
	.custom-red { background: red; }
</style>
<script>
	$.widget( "custom.dialog", $.ui.dialog, {
		options: {
			classes: {
				"ui-dialog": "ui-corner-all custom-red custom-big"
			}
		}
	});
	$( "<div>Big and red</div>" ).dialog();
</script>

As an added benefit, the widget factory also removes any class names specified in the classes option when the widget is destroyed.

Theming

As the previous examples show, the classes option provides a quick way to associate theme-related class names with the structural class names used within a widget. This approach works for simple cases, but it can also be used to adapt third-party themes to work with widget-factory-built widgets. For example, if you're using Bootstrap and jQuery UI together, you can use the following code to create a jQuery UI dialog that uses Bootstrap's theming:

$.extend( $.ui.dialog.prototype.options.classes, {
	"ui-dialog": "modal-content",
	"ui-dialog-titlebar": "modal-header",
	"ui-dialog-title": "modal-title",
	"ui-dialog-titlebar-close": "close",
	"ui-dialog-content": "modal-body",
	"ui-dialog-buttonpane": "modal-footer"
});

For more examples of this approach, check out Alexander Schmitz's repo that adapts jQuery UI to work with Boostrap using the classes option.

Conclusion

The introduction of the classes option takes us one step further in the split between structural and theme-related classes, making it easier than ever to make jQuery UI widgets match the look and feel of your existing site. At the same time, this allows jQuery UI to be used alongside other CSS frameworks, just like jQuery can be used alongside other JavaScript frameworks.