Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Importing Custom Stylesheets into PeopleSoft Pages

Adding Web 2.0 behaviors to a PeopleSoft application usually requires adding Javascript, CSS, and HTML to a delivered PeopleSoft page. One way to do this (besides Monkeygrease) is to add an HTML area to a page and place your custom Javascript, CSS, and HTML inside that HTML Area. For more dynamic, data-driven customizations, you can use PeopleCode, HTML definitions, and a derived/work record to set and modify the contents of the HTML Area.

An issue that needs to be resolved when adding Web 2.0 behavior to PeopleSoft pages is how to style those custom HTML elements. If the elements are standard HTML form elements and you want to maintain a consistent look and feel with the PeopleSoft UI, then you can use the standard PeopleSoft CSS class names. However, if you want to go beyond the standard form elements, then you are going to need to add some additional style classes that may or may not be available through PeopleTools stylesheets. For example, the jQuery Thickbox plugin requires additional styles to implement the Thickbox behavior. If you were a web developer in complete control of the rendered HTML, you would either add these styles as a style element inside the head element or you would link them into the document by adding a link element inside the HTML document's head element. The problem is, even though you may be a web developer, you are not in complete control of the HTML rendered by the PeopleSoft application. Instead, you are a web developer that is in complete control of a piece of HTML that will be rendered inside the body element. Therefore, to comply with standards, you must avoid adding style and link elements using a PeopleTools HTML Area. Fortunately, we can use Javascript to import stylesheets. Here is a function I use to import custom jQuery plugin stylesheets:

function importStylesheet(sheetUrl) {
var ss = document.createElement("link");
ss.rel = "stylesheet";
ss.href = sheetUrl;
ss.type = "text/css";

If you plan on reusing this function, then place it in a file on your web server and call it like this:

<script type="text/javascript">

I tested this on both IE 6.0 and Firefox. I believe this is a standards compliant DOM manipulation. However, you may need to modify this for other browsers.