With the new release of PeopleTools and Enterprise Portal, I find myself modifying my old branding themes to incorporate new features. While testing a header, I noticed that it appeared correctly on homepages, but not on transaction pages. Upon further inspection, I noticed that certain HTML elements I included in my HTML definition appeared on homepages, but not on transaction pages. Specifically, if an HTML element had a bind variable as its only content and that bind variable was only relevant on a homepage, then the page assembler would strip my hard-coded empty element from the transaction page. This caused me a bit of concern because I was actually using those elements to provide layout and styling. Consider the "Personalize Content | Layout" links that usually appear underneath the tabs in a standard Enterprise Portal implementation. Those links only appear on homepages, not on transaction pages. The PeopleSoft branding/assembly code uses designated bind variables to insert those links into a header HTML definition. If you wrap a block element, such as an HTML
div around that bind variable, then your
div will appear on a homepage, but not on a transaction page.
When I saw this behavior the other day I was quite surprised... and then I remembered I had seen it before. Several years ago while working with page level HTML Areas and Ajax, I noticed the same behavior. It is quite common to insert empty, hidden
div elements and other structural elements into HTML to act as containers for dynamic content. The only problem with this approach is that the page assembler seems to eliminate these empty elements. Here is the workaround I contrived for this issue: Add an HTML comment inside an empty HTML element as follows:
<div id="jjm_dynamicContent" style="height: 10px; background-color: blue;">
<!-- This comment will force the page assembler to render this element -->
The page assembler will see content (the comment) inside the element and will allow it to pass through to the browser. Since the content is a comment, the browser will ignore the content and treat the element as if it were empty, giving us our much desired empty element.
Now that we have a solution for creating empty elements, let's consider how to turn this seemingly annoying behavior into a positive feature. The PeopleTools branding makes extensive use of HTML definitions. These HTML definitions contain bind variables that may or may not have values, depending on the execution context. I've already given the example of the Personalize links on a homepage. Wrapping items like these in HTML containers, such as
div elements, provides us with conditionals that otherwise might not exist. For example, by wrapping the Personalize bind variable in a named
There was a time when I thought this was a bug that should be fixed. But, now that I am enlightened to the possibilities of conditionals, I see the benefits of this feature and would be very sorry to see this behavior change.
This explains a lot. I'd hit this issue before when creating pagelets with empty elements (which get populated later with dynamic content).
Thank you Duncan for confirming your experience with this. I have never seen the internal PeopleSoft code. I'm only writing from my experiences with PeopleSoft's handling of empty HTML elements and how I work around this issue.
You should also be able to use a non-breaking space character entity as a placeholder for a div. It's actually tidy that is stripping the empty elements during the page assembly process.
@Mark, thank you for the clarification. I thought it was Tidy, but wasn't certain :). Using is another good option. The difference between an HTML comment and a non breaking space is that adds another node to the DOM tree. If it is hidden and you plan to replace the contents anyway, it doesn't matter. If you are planning to append to the contents of the container (div), then it might matter.
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I have found a hidden column on page order tab. Its called "Out of available memory". Its located after Allow column. It is hidden by default. I could not find any documentation on this column. Would you have any idea on what it does?
Thanks to tell how you enabled this hidden feild as I am not able to see it
I did not enable it. It is there. You have to drag the column boundary to see it.
I've seen this as well in much earlier versions of PeopleTools (5-6 years ago) however I thought it was Tidy that was stripping the empty elements. I also employed a similiar trick in using an HTML comment block within the empty tag.
@ropatel, I believe you are correct as that is one of the steps in page assembly.
Very informative blog you have.
I'm trying to call an iframe using an IScript within a peoplesoft page. But when I look at the source, I don't see my iframe tag within the html source. It looks like the page processor strips the iframe tag. Have you ever noticed that. I even tried enclosing it within div tags and it still strips it. How do I work around this limitation
@Satish, did you try adding a comment inside the iframe like <iframe ...><!-- temporary content --></iframe>
Nice! That seemed to have done the trick! I guess the idea is to force the page assembler to process the comment, which is inside the tag we wanted preserved.
As always, thanks a bunch for your help! Please keep up the good work!
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