Open UI: Close Popups on Escape Key

The ESC key in many traditional applications, provides a convenience shortcut to stop, undo, or go back in the application. It enhances the usability of an application by allowing the user to navigate backwards quickly or work more effectively work with two hands.

This feature is also built into major modern browsers, with the ESC key allowing users to dismiss dialog boxes. This feature works on native browser dialogs such as the alert, confirm and prompt dialogs, as well as artificial dialogs, such as the new notification pane seen in Open UI.

Right click on the Notification Pane, and inspect the source code behind this UI element. It will look something like this:

The class attribute of the container gives it away as a jQuery dialog.

You may not know it, but you will be interacting with jQuery dialog boxes throughout Siebel Open UI. Just inspect the browser source for any MVG, Pick or any Popup applet in Open UI, and it will reveal the same class attributes as the Notification Pane. This tells us they are constructed using the same plugin, except these other 'dialogs' cannot be dismissed with the ESC key.

Lets see if we can imbue these other applets, with the ability for us to dismiss them using the ESC key.

This behaviour is controlled by the following code snippet

    position : "center",
    modal : true,
    autoOpen : false,
   //This line disables the ability to dismiss dialogs using ESC             
   closeOnEscape : false

Log onto the Application, and select “Help > About View”, open the Query Assistant Applet, or choose any other popup applet, this will initialise the jQuery dialog. Press the ESC button, and at the moment, nothing will happen.

Press F12 on your browser to bring up the built-in debugger, and paste the code below.

        $("[name=popup]").dialog( "option", "closeOnEscape", true );

Now with that same popup applet still open, press ESC, and watch that applet disappear. Any popup applet that is opened in the Application at this point also inherits this behaviour.

The above code will act the basis of our solution, but it only works if a popup has already been opened, so the most appropriate event is the first time a popup applet is displayed. This makes ShowUI a good candidate, as we can detect when a popup is open, and set the dialog option.

For testing purposes you can put the following code the ShowUI handler of any popup renderer.

if (!$( "[name=popup]" ).dialog( "option", "closeOnEscape" ) ){
    $("[name=popup]").dialog( "option", "closeOnEscape", true );

The above code detects if the closeOnEscape option of the jQuery dialog is disabled, and proceeds to enable it. It works even if the first popup applet is opened, and has been initialised to false.

The above code only works for a particular applet, and any subsequent popup applets opened from that point onwards, so a better approach is to put the code under the global ShowUI handler, which will enable the feature for any popup that is opened, however we only want to run it once.

To achieve this, we can use the technique below, which re-writes the logic to cut out the if statement after the first time the dialog option is set.

Note: This code is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be used in production environments.
function Global_PreShowUI(){
    //Call the usual ShowUI function

    //Perform popup dialog check
    if (!$( "[name=popup]" ).dialog( "option", "closeOnEscape" ) ){
        $("[name=popup]").dialog( "option", "closeOnEscape", true );
        //Rewrite the current function after the first popup has been detected

function Global_PreShowUI_Rewrite(){
    //Show UI code goes here

The line below shows where the application logic is being re-written.


The subsequent time Global_PreShowUI is fired, it will go straight to the real Global_PreShowUI_Real handler, which means our conditional test is only evaluated once. Neat!

Usability has always been thrown in the too hard basket, and although browser script techniques have been available to improve usability in Siebel HI, it has only been attempted by the brave.

The ESC key is already used in Siebel to undo query, undo record, and dismiss dialogs. Open UI now provides the option for customers to extend this feature to all Siebel popup applets.


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