Custom modal windows using canvas and MooTools

I’ve built a simple modal window class named Modal using MooTools. This class combines a dynamic canvas drawing API (my Rectangle class) with dynamic DOM element generation to create on-demand modal windows using no external images. My goal was to make this about as easy to use as a normal JavaScript alert, prompt or confirm window.

Fun with canvas and MooTools: a Rectangle class

Recently at work I realized I needed a good modal window that was more extensible than JavaScript’s built-in confirm and prompt windows. MochaUI looked like a handy way to get slick modal windows into my project, but I soon realized that MochaUI is designed to do much, much more than I need, and therefore is (for my purposes) bloated. So, in typical DIY fashion here at pipwerks, I decided to borrow a page from Greg’s book and make my own MochaUI-inspired modal window using the canvas element, CSS, HTML, and MooTools. After evaluating what I’d need for my little modal window, I whipped up a MooTools-based JavaScript class that produces canvas rectangles in the blink of an eye.

Dealing with Internet Explorer in your JavaScript Code

It’s almost the end of 2008, and thanks to the hard work of web standardistas, browser vendors, and JavaScript framework developers, cross-browser JavaScript code is much less of an issue than it used to be. Even Microsoft is feeling the love — the upcoming Internet Explorer 8 will be a (mostly) clean break from legacy Internet Explorer releases and will behave much more like Firefox, Safari (WebKit) and Opera. …And they rejoiced.

So why is it that when I look under the hood of some recently produced web pages (learning management systems, courses produced by e-learning rapid development tools, general web pages, etc.), the pages’ JavaScript often includes incredibly out-of-date and bad-practice Internet Explorer detection?

Here’s a quick rundown on the dos and don’ts.