Example 6 - Dialog Boxes

There's no doubt that web-based applications have revolutionized the software development process. This is especially true for corporate computer systems. In the past, system administrators suffered through a highly complex process to deploy client-server applications. This process generally required installing specialized code on each computer throughout the enterprise. Maintaining all of the systems was a nightmare.

The browser-based application radically changed this process for the better. But along the way, a few benefits were sacrificed. One of the lost benefits was the large library of user interface widgets. And among those widgets, the dialog box was critical.

A dialog box serves as a way to "escape" from a main page, collect detailed information, and then return to the newly refreshed main page - all without losing the context of the larger task at hand. In the Web 1.0 model, this was simulated by navigating between a number of web pages. The resulting experience was cumbersome and slow. (I tend to think of it as trying to run in sand.) Even worse, since browsers are not single-purpose business applications, users are able to simply navigate away from a site in the middle of a task. This "ability" breaks the mental model of a modal* dialog box.

With the Web 2.0 revolution, nearly all of the leading web toolkits have implemented a dialog box. And as you've no doubt guessed, Dojo is no exception. The following example will demonstrate how to quickly update information without navigating away from the main page of interest.