Lightbox (JavaScript)

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A typical lightbox image display

Lightbox is a JavaScript library that displays images and videos by filling the screen, and dimming out the rest of the web page.[1]

The original JavaScript library was written by Lokesh Dhakar.[2] The term Lightbox may also refer to other similar JavaScript libraries. The technique gained widespread popularity due to its simple and elegant style.

The original Lightbox library used two JavaScript libraries, Prototype Javascript Framework[3] and,[4] for its animations and positioning. In April 2012, the plugin was rewritten for jQuery.[5] The open-source nature of Lightbox encouraged developers to modify and fork the code, resulting in plugins such as Colorbox, Magnific Popup, Slimbox or Thickbox.

Lightbox scripts are dependent upon a browser's JavaScript support,.[4] Many Lightbox scripts use unobtrusive JavaScript. Browsers that do not load the script for whatever reason can instead simply load the image as a separate page load, losing the Lightbox effect but still retaining the ability to display the image.[6]


The user may use a developer tool such as Chrome's Inspect Element, to remove the code for it from the DOM. [7] Adblock Plus as an example, has the ability to block these elements using Element Hiding Helper or manually written rules. [8]


  1. ^ Jakob Nielsen, Alertbox. "10 Best Application UIs". 
  2. ^ Dhakar, Lokesh. "Lightbox JS". Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  3. ^ Herrington, Jack D. "Ajax and XML: Ajax for lightboxes". IBM DeveloperWorks. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  4. ^ a b Schmitt, Christopher (2006). CSS Cookbook. O'Reilly. p. 204. ISBN 0-596-52741-1. 
  5. ^ Dhakar, Lokesh. "Lightbox2". Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  6. ^ Zervaas, Quentin (2007). Practical Web 2.0 Applications with PHP. Springer. p. 423. ISBN 1-59059-906-3. 
  7. ^ Nicholas Miller, "Popup Killer: How to Bypass Website Barriers Without Signing Up or Completing Surveys", WonderHowTo, 2014
  8. ^ [1] "Element Hiding Helper Companion Extension for Adblock Plus"], Retrieved on 2015-09-23