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Dialogs in 2022

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José Miguel Álvarez VañóJuly 27, 2022

Introduction to the <dialog> HTML element

Dialogs were especially difficult to manage because there was no way to "hoist" your <div> to the top level of the page. In frameworks like React this can be solved using libraries which provide this functionality. However, we are still handling the problem to someone else and relying on their solution.

The <dialog> HTML element simplifies our codebases and lets us focus on the important parts of our applications. Safari and Firefox support <dialog> since March 2022. Chrome was already supporting it since 2014.

Main advantages of the <dialog> element:

How to use it

Dialogs are very simple to use. First you need to render a <dialog> element with the content that you want to display.

<dialog>
  <h1>Hello World</h1>
  <p>This is a dialog</p>
</dialog>

Apart from that, you only need to call showModal() on the <dialog> element to show it and close to close it. It's also possible to close the dialog pressing ESC. If you want, you can disable this behaviour with the event.preventDefault() function in the dialog's close event.

Simple HTML and JavaScript example

In this example we are using plain HTML and JavaScript. You can see the example working in the live demo.

<button id="openDialog">Open dialog</button>
<dialog id="myDialog">
  <h1>Hello World</h1>
  <p>This is a dialog</p>
  <button id="closeDialog">Close</button>
</dialog>
const myDialog = document.getElementById("myDialog");

const openDialogButton = document.getElementById("openDialog");
openDialogButton.addEventListener("click", () => {
  myDialog.showModal();
});

const closeDialogButton = document.getElementById("closeDialog");
closeDialogButton.addEventListener("click", () => {
  myDialog.close();
});

React example

In this example we are creating a React component to display the dialog.

import { useRef } from "react";

export const Dialog = () => {
  const myDialog = useRef();

  return (
    <div>
      <button onClick={() => myDialog.current.showModal()}>Open dialog</button>
      <dialog ref={myDialog}>
        <div>
          <p>Hello world!</p>
          <p>Press ESC or click the button to close.</p>
          <button onClick={() => myDialog.current.close()}>Close</button>
        </div>
      </dialog>
    </div>
  );
};

You can see the React component in action clicking the following button.

Hello world!

Press ESC or click the button to close.

References

José Miguel Álvarez Vañó
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