Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Integrating Datepick.js into your XPage

No, Datepick.js is not another Javascript framework; it is simply a super awesome jQuery plug-in that I recently discovered, and put to use in my latest XPages project. 

There are many calendar plugins to use with jQuery.  Here is an article where someone decides which are the top ten. I entertained using some of these, specifically #1 and #6 in the list, until I discovered "jQuery Datepicker" by Keith Wood, which for some reason was not on this list. Once I discovered this one, I knew straight away that my search was over.  In this post, I will show you how I used jQuery Datepicker (datepick.js) within an XPage. 

Generally, this calendar is used like most datepickers, where it is shown via a button and then hidden again. However, i
n my use case, I wanted a full month calendar that was always visible in the left side navigation as shown below.  Below is the 'finished' result.

This is the finished result. The random number is there so I know it refreshes, but later will be meaningful content.
















How I made it work

The first step is to download the source and copy it to your WebContent folder in your application. I recommend creating a "js" subdirectory and placing the files in there.  You then need to reference the files in your XPage using the <script> tag.

Step 1:  Download and add to page

The second step is to create a place to put the calendar and give it a class. I created a panel and gave it a class of ".calHere". 
Step 2 - Add a class where to put the calendar
The third step is to create code to launch and process the calendar.  In the onClientLoad event of the panel, I have the following code. 
Step 3 - Format the calendar and figure out what to do with result

Code Explanation 

First it launches the calendar, and then assigns a function to the calendar's onSelect event.  Finally, it also prevents the user from selecting weekends, which is something in my specific requirements.   

Here is how I went about updating the backend data with the value selected in the calendar:
  1.  I first format the Javascript Date using moment.js, as very useful utility for all things time.
  2.   Then update a hidden input control in the content panel with the formatted date.  I make use here of Marky Roden's X$ function for selecting Domino ID's in jQuery.
  3.   Lastly, I force a partial refresh of the content panel using the built-in XSP object.
I am very pleased with how this came out.  I highly recommend that everyone at least become aware of Keith Wood's jQuery Datepicker.  The datepicker has every imaginable way that it can be customized both in functionality and style.  I wish I discovered this a long time ago.   

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