This problem actually relates to any site that uses queued effects, I just ran into it on Ruby on Rails. The problem is that if you queue up too many scriptaculous effects on a dom object, you will end up having nothing displayed, or flickering or highlights that never fade etc…

For Rails, getting your flash or message div to blind down, highlight and blind up sounds easy enough, but if you are trying to do it with RJS templages, you end up trying to sequence your calls with “page.delay(5) do … end” blocks to get it firing in the correct sequence… suffice to say this smells/reeks of bad code smell.

So to handle this, I found the easiest way is to not use RJS templates to display the flash effects directly, instead, you should wrap the effects in a “show_flash” javascript function, which first deletes the effects queue, resets the flash box to a known state and then runs the effects again.

But enough talking, here is the code:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
function show_flash(message) {
  // Get the queue for the box
  var queue = Effect.Queues.get('flashbox');
  // Reset each effect to start and cancel each one
  queue.each(function(e) {e.render(0); e.cancel()});
  // Reset the background to the initial (white) value
  $('FlashBox').setStyle({backgroundColor: '#FFFFFF'});
  // Update the contents of the box (which should now be hidden
  $('FlashBox').update(message);
  // Add each effect you want back into the queue
  new Effect.BlindDown('FlashBox', {
    duration: 1,
    queue: { scope: 'flashbox',
             position: 'front' }
  });
  new Effect.Highlight('FlashBox', {
    duration: 5,
    queue: { scope: 'flashbox',
             position: 'end' }
  });
  new Effect.SlideUp('FlashBox', {
    duration: 3,
    queue: { scope: 'flashbox',
             position: 'end' }
  });
}

Put that into your application.js file if you are using Rails.

This function can now be called from your RJS template like this:


page << %[show_flash('flash_message_text')]

Now you can call this as often as you want and your flash will always nicely blind down, highlight and slide up! If it gets interrupted in the middle of the effect, it will reset the effect to nothing (hide the box, reset the background) and reset the message and then start again.

One gotcha is that you need to make sure that the variable flash_message_text does not contain any single quotes, you can use double quotes instead. If you do need to use single quotes, then escape them so Javascript does not interpret them as the end of the string.

This is where I found out about the effect queue

Shout out to bugrain for the pointers.

blogLater

Mikel