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Simple rich text editor (contentEditable) for jQuery UI
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Hallo - contentEditable for jQuery UI

Hallo is a very simple in-place rich text editor for web pages. It uses jQuery UI and the HTML5 contentEditable functionality to edit web content.

The widget has been written as a simple and liberally licensed editor. It doesn't aim to replace popular editors like Aloha, but instead to provide a simpler and more reusable option.

Read the introductory blog post for more information.

Using the editor

You need jQuery and jQuery UI loaded. An easy way to do this is to use Google's JS service:

<script src=""></script>
<script src=""></script>

The editor toolbar is using jQuery UI theming, so you'll probably also want to grab a theme that fits your needs.

Then include Hallo itself:

<script src="hallo.js"></script>

Editor activation is easy:


You can also deactivate the editor:

jQuery('p').hallo({editable: false});

Hallo itself only makes the selected DOM elements editable and doesn't provide any formatting tools. Formatting is accomplished by loading plugins when initializing Hallo:

  plugins: {
    'halloformat': {}

This example would enable the simple formatting plugin that provides functionality like bold and italic. You can include as many Hallo plugins as you want, and if necessary pass them options.

Hallo has got more options you set when instantiating. See the file for further documentation.


Hallo provides some events that are useful for integration. You can use jQuery bind to subscribe to them:

  • halloenabled: Triggered when an editable is enabled (editable set to true)
  • hallodisabled: Triggered when an editable is disabled (editable set to false)
  • hallomodified: Triggered whenever user has changed the contents being edited. Event data key content contains the HTML
  • halloactivated: Triggered when user activates an editable area (usually by clicking it)
  • hallodeactivated: Triggered when user deactivates an editable area


  • halloformat - Adds Bold, Italic, StrikeThrough and Underline support to the toolbar. (Enable/Disable with options: "formattings": {"bold": true, "italic": true, "strikeThough": true, "underline": false})
  • halloheadings - Adds support for H1, H2, H3. You can pass a headings option key "headers" with an array of header sizes (i.e. headers: [1,2,5,6])
  • hallojustify - Adds align left, center, right support
  • hallolists - Adds support for ordered and unordered lists (Pick with options: "lists": {"ordered": false, "unordered": true})
  • halloreundo - Adds support for undo and redo
  • hallolink - Adds support to add links to a selection (currently not working)


Hallo is free software available under the MIT license.


Hallo is written in CoffeeScript, a simple language that compiles into JavaScript. To generate the JavaScript code to examples/hallo.js from Hallo sources, run CoffeeScript's cake command:

$ cake build

If you want to also generate a minified version, run:

$ cake min

Hallo development is coordinated using Git. Just fork the Hallo repository on GitHub and send pull requests.

Writing plugins

Hallo plugins are written as regular jQuery UI widgets.

When Hallo is loaded it will also load all the enabled plugins for the element, and pass them some additional options:

  • editable: The main Hallo widget instance
  • toolbar: Toolbar jQuery object for that Hallo instance
  • uuid: unique identifier of the Hallo instance, can be used for element IDs

A simplistic plugin would look like the following:

#    Formatting plugin for Hallo
#    (c) 2011 Henri Bergius, IKS Consortium
#    Hallo may be freely distributed under the MIT license
((jQuery) ->
  jQuery.widget "IKS.halloformat",
    boldElement: null

      uuid: ''
      editable: null

    _create: ->
      # Add any actions you want to run on plugin initialization
      # here

    populateToolbar: (toolbar) ->
      # Create an element for holding the button
      @boldElement = jQuery '<span></span>'

      # Use Hallo Button
        uuid: @options.uuid
        editable: @options.editable
        label: 'Bold'
        # Icons come from Font Awesome
        icon: 'icon-bold'
        # Commands are used for execCommand and queryCommandState
        command: 'bold'

      # Append the button to toolbar
      toolbar.append @boldElement

    cleanupContentClone: (element) ->
      # Perform content clean-ups before HTML is sent out

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