Alex Vandiver


Jifty::Manual::UsingCSSandJS - Using CSS and JavaScript


Jifty comes bundled with a series of separately developed JavaScript libraries as well as a set of CSS definitions that both allow Jifty to functionally and beautifully work out of the box. This document describes the mechanisms behind the scenes as well as some of the details inside the included files.


Both, CSS and JavaScript (further abbreviated as "JS") files typically reside in the share/web/static directory of Jifty, keeping separate css and js subdirectories for each of both sets of files. When using Jifty without any interference into these files, all of those files will get loaded from the Jifty-provided directories.

In both cases, there are hooks for expansion by keeping empty but present files in the css and js directories. By simply creating and populating these files inside the share/web/static/css and share/web/static/js directories brings the predefined hooks to work.

Also there is a big difference of the whole operation between an application running in DevelMode or a productive application. In DevelMode, every single CSS and JS file will get included into every single template page being rendered. On the other hand, a productive application will merge all CSS and JS definitions upon the first request and will only include one file each containing all CSS and JS definitions in a single request.


Assembly of CSS definitions

When Jifty assembles all CSS definitions (which is internally done inside Jifty::Web by the method include_css), a single file, main.css is included into the generated HTML code of the current page. This file consists of a series of @import directives that reference every single CSS file to get used.

Expansion of CSS definitions

Jifty maintains two initially empty files, app-base.css and app.css that may get "overloaded" by simply providing these files in an application's share/web/static/css directory.

These two files will get included in different order, app-base.css being the very first and app.css getting included very late in the CSS construction process.

This means that general definitions that should apply to all subsequently encountered styles could easily get done in app-base.css whereas individual redefinitions, expansions or your application's own definitions could go into app.css.

Jifty's own definitions

Jifty provides a series of definitions that are responsible for a good look without any modification. Please note that not all of the used CSS classes are already defined, but they will provide a hook for modification of the general look. Some of the styles are listed below.

form_errors, error

Error messages encountered during validation are displayed inside a <div> tag of class form_errors which initially is not yet defined. Every single error message is marked with a class error.

hints, warning, error

These classes are used for displaying additional information for form fields.

form_field, mandatory, argument-$name

Every form field including its label is packed inside a <div> tag with these classes (mandatory only if the field is mandatory, of course), where $name is the field's name.


This section is a <span> tag filled with a form field's preamble content that could contain additional instructions for the user. The content may be set by the preamble accessor method that is available for every Jifty::Web::Form::Field and its successors.

widget, button, button_as_link, combobox, combo-text, combo-button, combo-list, date, label, password submit_button, reset, text, hidden, ajaxvalidation, ajaxcanonicalization, ajaxautocompletes

These class names are used depending on the type of widget getting rendered.


used for the autocomplete div.

toplevel, menu, context_menu, submenu, title, expand

These classes are used in navigation bars.

jifty, results, messages

These three CSS classes are used to surround a message block displaying an action's messages after having run an action.

message, error, $moniker

Every single message that is displayed in an action's result box is marked with the message's type plus the action's moniker as a CSS class name.


Jifty comes bundled with a series of separately developed JavaScript libraries, like


jQuery is a fast, concise, JavaScript Library that simplifies how you traverse HTML documents, handle events, perform animations, and add Ajax interactions to your web pages.


Hereby, major support for encoding and decoding data into the JSON data format (similar to YAML) is provided.


With behaviour.js, intelligent JavaScript handlers can be defined.

Assembly of JS definitions

Jifty maintains a complete list of JS files to include. This list may be retrieved or set by the accessor Jifty->web->javascript_libs. There should, However, rarely arise a situation to do that, because Jifty has already reserved two files that may get added to your application:


Initially empty; put all JS functions you need to define here.


Reserved for defining behaviors for DOM objects using the behaviour.js library.

The assembly process of all JS definitions is done in Jifty::Web by the method include_javascript.