Friday, November 15, 2013

10 PeopleSoft Interaction Hub CSS Tricks

If you have been to one of my PeopleSoft user experience sessions, you have likely seen a good handful of interesting CSS ideas in my designs. Ever wanted to implement some and need a few pointers? Here is a little Q&A that I hope you find useful.

Q: How do you keep a PeopleSoft or content provider stylesheet from overriding your Interaction Hub (portal) pagelet styles?

A: Higher specificity. I make sure my styles have a more specific CSS selector than the delivered CSS selector. This is actually pretty easy because the delivered CSS selectors for pagelet elements (ptpageletheader, ptpageletbody, ptpgltlabel, etc) just use class names. To make your selector more specific, just include .ptpagelet in front of your selectors. Here is a sample from one of my free formed stylesheets:

#ptpglts .ptpagelet .ptpageletheader {
  border-radius: 10px 10px 0 0;

The delivered selector is .ptpageletheader. I make my CSS selector more specific by adding #ptpglts .ptpagelet to the selector.

Q: How did you make the pagelets on your green/grass theme have a semi-transparent background?

A: There are actually a couple of ways to accomplish this. I created this theme back before rgba support in IE, so the approach I took was to create a 2x2 pixel PNG image with a semi-transparent background. I then set that to be my pagelet's background. Here is an example:

#ptpglts .ptpagelet td.ptpageletbody {
  background: url("opacity-bg.png") repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;

Today we can reduce our downloads and accomplish this much more easily using the rgba color syntax:

#ptpglts .ptpagelet td.ptpageletbody {
  background: none repeat scroll 0 0 rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.5);

Q: How did you create rounded corners for your pagelets?

A: I used the border-radius CSS attribute:

#ptpglts .ptpagelet .ptpageletheader {
  border-radius: 10px 10px 0 0;

I set the top left and right radius on the ptpageletheader class and the bottom left and right radius on the ptpageletbody CSS class.

Q: How do you make some pagelets have a transparent background while others have a color or image as a background?

A:Some pagelets, such as the accordion, look better with no header, border, or background. Through Pagelet wizard (or the new 8.53+ Pagelet Branding), you can hide the border and header, but you can't change the background. The technique I use is to first create, save, and add the pagelet to a homepage. Next, I find the pagelet's ID in HTML (firebug is very helpful for this). With the ID in hand, I write a custom CSS selector, setting the background to transparent. Here is an example:

#ptpglts #ADMN_COMPANY_DIRECTORY_IMG.ptpagelet td.ptpageletbody {
  background: transparent;

Q: How do you make the drop-down menu's bar semi-transparent?

A: Set a semi-transparent background on #pthnavcontainer. You can either use a semi-transparent image or RGBA colors. Here is an example. As with other examples, use a highly qualified selector (specificity) to ensure your selector wins over the delivered CSS selector.

body.PSPAGE #pthnavcontainer {
  background: none repeat scroll 0 0 rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2);

Q: How do you set a background image for the entire PeopleSoft page?

A: Set a background image on .PSPAGE like this:

body.PSPAGE {
  background: url("background-photo.jpg") repeat fixed 0 0 transparent;

Make sure that:

  • Your background image size extends far beyond the expected page size so the image doesn't repeat.
  • You use the fixed attribute so your image doesn't have to extend passed the scrollable area of a page.
  • Your chosen background doesn't make transactions difficult to read.

Q: How do you make the main header area's background show through the transaction area?

A: There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. If you are OK with a semi-transparent appearance, then the easiest way is to add the following to your role based branding header's CSS:

#ptifrmtgtframe {
  opacity: 0.9;

This will make the transaction area semi-transparent. This includes the buttons, text, and every other element within the transaction area. A value of .9 seems to be opaque enough to view the entire transaction area while still allowing a small amount of the background to show through. Just for fun, use Firebug or Chrome tools to try smaller values. Once you get down to .5, the transaction area should be noticeably transparent.

Q: How do you set a background for just the pagelet region of a homepage?

Set a background image on the #ptpglts element. Here is an example:

.pspage #ptpglts {
  background: url("my-favorite-background.jpg") repeat fixed 0 0 transparent;

Q: How do I center the pagelet area and reduce the size to something like 1024 pixels wide?

A: As long as you are using a browser other than IE 8 (PeopleSoft 8.53- requires IE Quirks mode), you can do this using the margin auto CSS centering technique. Here is an example:

.pspage #ptpglts {
  margin: 0 auto;
  width: 1024px;

Q: How do you round the right top and bottom corners of the SES scope drop-down in the global search area of the header?

A: The SES search scope drop-down has the ID selsrchgrp. Here is some CSS that rounds the right side of the search scope drop-down. Since this drop-down is paired to a text field that has the same height, I only round the right side, not the left side.

.pspage #selsrchgrp {
  border-radius: 4px 0 0 4px;