Integrating the Lightbox JS 2.03.3 image overlay script with DNN

According to its creators, "Lightbox is a simple, unobtrusive script used to overlay images on the current page. It's a snap to setup and works on all modern browsers."

And it really does what they say. So, why not use it with DNN? The fact that it can also work with groups of pictures providing basic back/forward navigation functionality makes it ideal as a lightweight picture gallery. Of course, it can be used with single pictures too, eliminating popup windows in order to see a picture, complete with (optional) caption, at a larger size.

In order to get Lightbox to work, you first need to go get if from http://www.huddletogether.com/projects/lightbox2/ . There you can also see examples and the way you can integrate Lightbox in an HTML page. So we'll only concentrate on things needed to be done in DNN here.

Our aim is to integrate Lightbox with a specific skin, not with the whole DNN installation. This way we'll have more flexibility regarding access to hosted DNN installations which may only allow access to the "Portals" folder.

So here are our steps:

1. Under the skin folder you wish to use for your DNN portal, create a folder called "Lightbox" and drop the contents of the .zip file you downloaded there. Three directories will be created: js, images and css.

2. Delete the html file as it only serves as an example.

3. Append the contents of the lightbox.css file that you'll find in the css folder into your skin.css file. You can keep the lightbox.css file, but you'll only make things more complex :)

4. Delete the lightbox/css folder if you like, as it is no longer needed.

5. In the ASCX file you will be using for your skin, put the following code immediately after the "@Register" tags as follows:

<script src="
<%=skinpath%>lightbox/js/prototype.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="
<%=skinpath%>lightbox/js/scriptaculous.js?load=effects" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="
<%=skinpath%>lightbox/js/lightbox.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

Update: For LightBox v2.04, the second line must be:
<script src="<%=skinpath%>lightbox/js/scriptaculous.js?load=effects,builder" type="text/javascript"></script>

SKINPATH is a DNN token and will be replaced at runtime with your current skin's path.

6. Immediately after the above piece of code, insert the following code:

<script type="text/javascript">
var fileLoadingImage = "
var fileBottomNavCloseImage = "

Why do we need this? The javascript file declares these two variables supposing they will be inside a folder relative to the physical position of the script, but that's not how DNN works, since our current path is NOT the skin's path, but the root path of the DNN installation! So we must override the paths here in order to be transparent to the image paths (using the skin path). We also have the additional ability to change the images used for the "close image" function here.

7. Open your skin.css file, locate the part you have copied from lightbox.css and locate the #prevLink, #nextLink classes. Change the paths to the three images for blank background, previous and next picture mentioned there as follows:

../images/blank.gif to lightbox/images/blank.gif
../images/prevlabel.gif to lightbox/images/prevlabel.gif
../images/nextlabel.gif to lightbox/images/nextlabel.gif

These images are unfortunately defined by the stylesheet, so since we moved the contents to skin.css we must make the positions of the images relative to the position of our current skin file. I will say again that you could always include the original lightbox.css but the current way is just my suggestion.

Of course you can use any image you like for next, previous and close functions as long as you maintain correct paths.

8. Try entering some image links into a text/html module as described in the original instructions for Lightbox and see what happens. Note: You can't use the aspx page link provided by the file manager when using lightbox. You must provide the links exactly as described in their (simple) instructions.

Finally, if the required JS files seem too big (approx. 103K total size) you could always use a JScript compressor like http://javascriptcompressor.com/ to reduce the total file size.

Please send comments if something in the instructions is not correct, so as to have it immediately corrected.

Happy Lightboxing! :)

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