Adding Event Handlers to Font Awesome Icons in XPages

In the previous two posts, I showed how to implement Font Awesome in XPages and two options for adding icons to your page. In this post, I’ll show how you can add event handlers so that you can trigger an action when a user clicks on an icon.

Add a Client-Side Event Handler with Dojo or jQuery

If you want to trigger a client-side event, you can use Dojo or jQuery to add an event handler to the icon after the page loads.

For example, if you have this bullseye icon…

<i id="myIcon" class="fa fa-bullseye"></i>

…and you want to add an event handler to display an alert when the user clicks on it, you can use this Dojo code:

dojo.on(dojo.byId('myIcon'), 'click', function() {
  console.log('clicked icon');

Here’s more information about attaching event handlers (you may need to include the dojo.on module) and event delegation in Dojo.

Add Icon Within an XPages Control

Another option for making icons clickable is to put them inside of another XPages control that has an event handler. For example, you can create a link control, button control, span control, etc and put a font awesome icon inside of it.

Here’s an example of displaying an icon within an XPages button. It displays a message in the console with client-side JavaScript and also triggers a server-side partial refresh of a panel.

To add the icon, you have to switch to the source view and add it directly.

<xp:button value=" Click Me" id="button1">
  <i id="myIconButton" class="fa fa-bullseye"></i>
  <xp:eventHandler event="onclick" submit="true" refreshMode="partial" refreshId="myPanel">
    <xp:this.script><![CDATA[console.log('clicked icon button');]]></xp:this.script>


Notice that it turns the icon blue by default. It does the same when inside of a link, because the browser makes link text blue by default (and these icons are implemented as a font, so therefore, the browser is correctly treating them as text).

Here’s an example of displaying an icon (with the same effect) within an XPages link:

<xp:link escape="true" text="" id="link1">
  <i id="myIconLink" class="fa fa-bullseye"></i>
  <xp:eventHandler event="onclick" submit="true" refreshMode="partial" refreshId="myPanel">
    <xp:this.script><![CDATA[console.log('clicked icon link');]]></xp:this.script>

Add an XPages Event Handler Directly to an Icon

In my last post, I mentioned that I prefer to use computed text fields with the tagName property set, because you can set a rendered formula and compute the class names as needed. Another advantage to that approach is that you can attach an XPages event handler, so you can add server side code, partial refreshes, onComplete callbacks, etc.

Now, that comes with a significant caveat, because Computed Field controls do not provide the ability for you to add events in the “pretty panels”.

However, if you add an event handler to another control, you can go into the Source and move that event handler into the Computed Field (xp:text) control and it will fire.

In this example, I created a Computed Field to display an icon and I copied the event handler from the previous example into it.

<xp:text escape="true" id="computedField2" tagName="i"
  styleClass="fa fa-bullseye fa-3x">
  <xp:eventHandler event="onclick" submit="true" refreshMode="partial" refreshId="myPanel">
    <xp:this.script><![CDATA[console.log('clicked icon link');]]></xp:this.script>

If you go into the source and click on the xp:eventHandler tag, you’ll get a property panel where you can bring up the client or server JavaScript editor or add other callbacks.


Now, I have a clickable icon with no extraneous tags around it.

It is certainly simpler to wrap an xp:span tag around an icon to get the same effect, but if you need the clickable icon without additional tags, this provides a way to do it.

Tip – Changing the Cursor when Adding an Event Handler to an Icon

If you’re going to make standalone icons clickable, the text cursor may be confusing (at least in IE and Firefox). (Remember — it’s actually a font, so this makes sense).

If you want to change the cursor when hovering over an icon, you can add this CSS:

i.fa {

Of course, this will affect the cursor over all font awesome icons in your application. You can target the CSS as needed to only modify it for icons that are clickable.


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