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Creating Modal "Please Wait..." Dialog Boxes with jqModal jQuery Plugin

Part of the power of having jQuery integrated with Drupal is the ability to take advantage of the strong jQuery developer community. There are many, many plug-ins for jQuery that can add some great functionality to your site - usually with very little code.

jqModal is just one of these plug-ins. It can be used to create modal (or non-modal) dialog boxes. In this example, I'm going to show you how to use it to create a modal "Please Wait..." dialog box. This can be useful when your user submits a form that might take a few seconds to process. Having a modal dialog box not only gives the user some feedback that the site is actually doing something, but it also stops the user from clicking the "submit" button multiple times.

I've created a sample module (Drupal 5) to illustrate how it works. You can download it and integrate it into your own modules.

Let's take a quick look at the various files in the module:
  • - standard Drupal 5 .info file
  • jqmodal.module - implements hook_form_alter and a theme function for the modal window
  • sample.js - jQuery code that enables the modal window and displays it at the proper time
  • sample.js - CSS code that themes the modal window
  • /jqmodal/jqmodal.js - jqmodal plug-in
  • /jqmodal/jqmodal.css - jqmodal default css

For simplicity, all of the files are included in the jqmodal module. In a live site, you may want to move the contents of sample.js and sample.css to your site's theme.

The guts of the code are in the jqmodal.module file:

function jqmodal_form_alter($form_id, &$form) {
global $user;
switch($form_id) {
case 'comment_form':
drupal_add_js(drupal_get_path('module', 'jqmodal') . '/jqmodal/jqmodal.js');
drupal_add_css(drupal_get_path('module', 'jqmodal') . '/jqmodal/jqmodal.css');
drupal_add_js(drupal_get_path('module', 'jqmodal') . '/sample.js');
drupal_add_css(drupal_get_path('module', 'jqmodal') . '/sample.css');
$form['throbber'] = array(
'#type' => 'markup',
'#value' => theme('jqmodal_throbber_window', 'Please wait...', 'He that can have patience can have what he will.'),

function theme_jqmodal_throbber_window($toptext, $bottomtext) {
$output = '<div class="throbber">';
$output .= '<div class="toprow">' . $toptext . '</div>';
$output .= '<div class="bottomrow">' . $bottomtext . '</div>';
$output .= '</div>';
return $output;

The jqmodal_form_alter function simply adds the modal window to the comment form. There are a couple of drupal_add_js and drupal_add_css functions to includes the plug-in and an additional form element to hold the modal window. The sample.css code sets the modal window's display to "none" so it is does not appear when the user first displays the page. The additional form element passes two strings to the modal window - these are used to customize the message that is displayed to the user. Ideally, the values of the strings can be set using the module's settings page.

The theme function takes the 2 text strings and outputs the HTML for the modal window. By using a theme function, the look and feel of the modal window can be easily customized.

The sample.js file is quite short:

$('#comment-form .form-submit').click(function() {
return true;

After ensuring that the page is loaded, a call to the .jqm() function calls the plugin and sets up the modal window for the targeted elements (in this case, anything with a class="throbber"). Then, we just attach the jqmShow() function to the click action of comment form submit buttons.

The sample.css file controls the look of the modal dialog box:

.throbber {
position: fixed;
top: 50%;
left: 50%;
margin-left: -200px;
width: 400px;
margin-top: -80px;
height: 160px;
background-color: green;
color: #333;
border: 1px solid black;
padding: 5px;
display: none;

.throbber div {
background-color: #FFFFFF;
margin: 5px;
font-size: 1.2em;
font-weight: bold;
color: #000000;
padding: 5px;
border: 1px solid red;

The only thing that is actually necessary to make everything work is the "display: none;" definition. This hides the modal dialog box when the page is first rendered. The rest of the CSS code is just for taking care of how the modal dialog box looks.

What I've shown here is just a small portion of what the jqModal dialog box can do. Additional functionality includes close buttons, AJAX calls for the content of the box, and the ability to display multiple boxes. The jqModal home page has a bunch of demos that you can check out.

Submitted by michael on Sun, 02/24/2008 - 12:06pm
Filed under:

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I just want to see it work

I just want to see it work


You may want to check out the blockUI plugin for this; not only will it pop a "please wait" modal, but it will block interaction with the rest of the page until the request is complete.

Very Nice!

Very Nice!


well done!

hey, let me test this

hey, let me test this out

this jquery site is erally nice


Love it (Mostly I want to see it...)

This is really good

This is really good

Thank you

Thanks this is what I was looking for!

thanks for the sharing.

thanks for the sharing.

How about preventing or warning users from navigating away

from the page?

benjamin, Agaric Design Collective

Haven't tested it with the comment form

Nope - I haven't done much with jqModal other than what I talked about the post.

It's an interesting idea, though. I imagine that the modal form would have to display just the comment form (not the entire page) and then upon submission, somehow target the parent frame (since jqModal uses iframes for AJAX content).

If I have time, I'll play with it and let you know...


Ah, I think I read that if

Ah, I think I read that if iframes are involved it can't be done. Well, I shouldn't say can't but would be difficult with the current methods.

Yes, in the end I called only the form using drupal_render(). That all worked well, like I said. Just the submission reloaded in the popup window.

Keep us posted,

Have you tested this on a

Have you tested this on a comment form? I worked on this type of setup for the comment form using thickbox.

All worked fine except the form page would submit and reload inside the modal window, which I wanted the window to drop and the original node to load and get the status message to show (your comment is waiting approval etc).

Do you have a demo we can play with?