Sometimes I want to have a simple popup without having to bust out the full JQuery UI dialog widget. Using a little bit of SASS and HTML, we can create a simple popup/lightbox widget and convert it into a Backbone component so our code is DRY.

Here is the link to the source.


Here is what the skeleton of our lightbox will be:

<div id="lightbox">
	<div class="content">
		<!-- Your custom content styled however you like -->

That’s it for the html.


// Provide a transparent background without using a png
// Feel free to swap this mixin with a png if you need to support old browsers
@mixin transparent-background($red, $green, $blue, $alpha) {
	background-color: rgb($red, $green, $blue);
	background-color: rgba($red, $green, $blue, $alpha);

// Vertical align the popup in the browser window
@mixin vertical-align($offset) {
	position: relative;
	top: $offset;
	-webkit-transform: translateY(-#{$offset});
	-ms-transform translateY(-#{$offset});
	transform: translateY(-#{$offset});

#lightbox {
	position: fixed;
	top: 0; left: 0;
	z-index: 100;

	// So our popup is center horizontally
	text-align: center;

	/* darken overlay */
	width: 100%;
	height: 100%;

	// A transparent black, tune this to your needs
	@include transparent-background(0, 0, 0, .5); 
	/* end overlay */

	// Your actual content and the popup itself
	.content {
		// Tune this to what looks good, having it dead center for my needs was odd
		@include vertical-align(40%); 

		// Your custom styling goes here (or in another stylesheet)

Basically the #lightbox wrapper will contain our overlay, and .content is our popup/lightbox that we can style however we want.

The Backbone component

In order to trigger the popup, I needed to create a backbone component that is shared across views.

Here is my lightbox.js:

	var Lightbox = Backbone.View.extend({
		// Replace this with your templating system
		template: CustomTemplateLoader("lightbox"), 

		initialize: function(options) {

			// Where to append the lightbox, default to body
			this.selector = options.selector || "body";

			// The rendered html that you want in your popup
			this.content = options.content;


		events: {
			"click .close": "remove" // Delete this view when pressing close

		render: function(){

			// Only one popup, remove existing one if there is one

			// Feel free to swap out what goes in this.content



	return Lightbox;


Calling our lightbox

Now all we have to do is tie it together to some sort of view or event so we can render the lightbox.

// In our view


	var Backbone = require("backbone");
	var Lightbox = require("path/to/lightbox");

	// We want to render this email form within the lightbox
	var EmailFormView = require("content/within/lightbox");
	var ContactView = Backbone.View.extend({

		template: "YourTemplate.handlebars",

		initialize: function(options) {
			// init logic here

		events: {
			"click .email-form": "showForm"

		render: function() {
			// render logic

			return this;

		showForm: function(event) {
			this.emailForm = new EmailForm();

			this.lightbox = new Lightbox({
				content: this.emailForm.render().el

			// Calling render will show the popup


	return ContactView;


Here is the lightbox html template in Handlebars.

<div id="lightbox">
	<div class="content">
		<!-- Bootstrap style close  -->
		<button type="button" class="close" aria-label="Close">
			<span area-hidden="true">&times;</span>

		{ { content } } <!-- ignore the spaces between each {} -->


Github source code: lightbox source.