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Revision as of 15:42, 3 January 2013 by jasfox (Talk | contribs)

HERE Maps API - How to create a tabbed Infobubble

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This article explains how to use CSS styling to modify an Infobubble. Initially a simple change of size and color scheme is discussed, the article then moves on to more advanced topics such as how to create a usable, tabbed Infobubble through combining CSS styling with DOM event handling.



The Infobubble is a map component which is used to associate text with a particular point on the map. When it is displayed, it appears as a speech bubble, with its tail pointing towards a specified location. The location of the content box of the Infobubble will shift around the anchor point to best display the content on the map canvas. In other words, the Infobubble content will move either above/below, or left/right of the anchor point as the map is scanned.

A standard Nokia Map Infobubble is black, with white text as shown below:


Simple CSS Styling

The InfoBubble has several options associated with it. The most useful of these is the defaultWidth. By defining the defaultWidth, the content within the Infobubble is wrapped beyond a fixed size. This would be useful when displaying a Map with an Infobubble on mobile devices for example. The content of the Infobubble can either be plain text or HTML. If the Infobubble contains HTML content, and this HTML describes elements which have a greater width than the defaultWidth , the width of the InfoBubble is stretched to be able to display the specified content. To define a defaultWidth use the code below:

var infoBubbles = new;
infoBubbles.options.defaultWidth = 400;

For variety and personal preference, you may wish to alter the default color scheme. All of the Infobubble content is held within a <div class='nm_bubble_content'> element, so it is possible to restyle the content by applying a CSS style to the class.

border: 1px solid black;

The text has been altered to black and the background is white. A single pixel border has been added to the InfoBubble to stop the text from melting into the background of the map. Note that the tail of the Infobubble cannot be styled, and will always be black.

Tabbed Infobubbles

If an InfoBubble contains a lot of information, and the size of the map is restricted, it may be that not all of content of the InfoBubble can be displayed at once without scrolling. This can be seen in the examples shown above, where the bottom of the Infobubble is "below the fold". In this case, and especially if the Infobubble contains information which can be split thematically into parts, it may be preferable to display the content in a tabbed control. Although there is currently no instance of an actual tabbed Infobubble within the standard map components, it is possible to create a TabbedInfobubble component through CSS styling, and the creation of a single DOM event


Styling Tabbed Infobubbles

Styling must be added to each of the HTML elements so that the desired effect of a tabbed dialog is achieved.

Structure of an HTML Tabbed Dialog

A tabbed dialog consists of two parts :

  • A list of tab headers which are displayed in a row. All entries in the list are displayed.
  • The tabbed content area, where only the content of the currently selected tab is visible.

An outline of the HTML can be seen below:

<li>Header of the first tab</li>
<li>Header of the second tab</li>
<li>Header of the third tab</li>
<div> Content of the first tab</div>
<div> Content of the second tab</div>
<div> Content of the third tab</div>

CSS of the tab headers

Since the tab headers are presented as an un-ordered list, they are contained within a <ul> element. This must be styled to shift the position of the <ul> element such that it lies just above the main InfoBubble. The offset required must be judged by eye, and the magic number used here is 39 pixels, which places the <ul> above the close button [X] on the right-hand side. The list-style-type: none removes any bullet points preceding the header text on each tab; the remaining styles space the tabs and align look with the "black-on-white" InfoBubble defined above.

ul.nm_tabnav { /* general settings */
position: relative;
top: -39px;
text-align: left;
margin: 0px -1em 1em 0px;
list-style-type: none;
padding: 3px 10px 0.1em 10px;

Each tab header is held within a <li> element. We want to make sure that the tab headers display in a single row, and therefore the <li> needs to be styled display: inline. The background and border matches the InfoBubble styling, so that the text of tab header is not displayed over an invisible background. The colour and style of the text may be altered as desired, but there needs to be some way to distinguish between the currently selected tab and the others. Therefore the currently selected tab is given its own styling, as well as a slightly altered bottom-border so that the tag merges into the main InfoBubble.

ul.nm_tabnav li { 
display: inline;
border: 0.1em solid black;
position: relative;
top: 1px;
padding: 3px 1em;
/* You can add your own styling here */
ul.nm_tabnav li.nm_tab_current { /* do not change */
border-bottom: 0.2em solid white; /* set border COLOR as desired */

CSS of the tabbed content area

The CSS of the tabbed content area is very simple. The first <div> element is made visible by applying the display: block styling. The second and subsequent <div> elements are made invisible using the display: none styling. The CSS styling here uses the plus syntax make all <div> elements preceded by a <div> element invisible. display: none means that not only is the element invisible, but that it does not take up any space on the screen.

.nm_bubble_content > div{
display: block;
.nm_bubble_content > div + div{
display: none;

Enabling the tabbed dialog to respond to DOM Events

The Nokia Maps API already contains library functions for attaching a function to a DOM event. The following order of initialisation needs to occur when the Infobubble is attached to the mapDisplay

  • The Page object needs to be initialised to query if DOM events are supported.
  • An EventTarget initialised and fed an existing DOM object to wire up the event handler
  • Finally the function holding the dialog tabbing code can be added as an event listener using the addListener() method.

It should be noted that the only way to identify the correct <div> holding the InfoBubble text is through its style class. This can be done using the document.getElementsByClassName() method, however not all browsers support this. In particular older versions of Internet Explorer lack native document.getElementsByClassName() support. In order to overcome this, a standard getElementsByClassName() shim must be added to ensure the largest range of cross-browser support. The <div class='nm_bubble_content'> is injected into the DOM when the map is intialised, so it is necessary to wait until the map has been created before wiring up the tabbed dialog DOM event.

this.attach = function (mapDisplay) {	
this.openBubble = function(content, coordinate){
TabbedInfoBubbles.prototype.openBubble(content, coordinate) ;
// Uncertainity as to which bubble needs wiring up - do both.
function wireUp(index){
var Page = nokia.maps.dom.Page;
var EventTarget = nokia.maps.dom.EventTarget;
// This element will only exist once the map has been displayed.
var infoBubbleDisplay = document.getElementsByClassName("nm_bubble_content")[index];
// Query Page support for the node.
// Attach EventTarget interface to the document to allow normalized events at the node.
// Add a listener for the click event to the node and show an alert if clicked.
infoBubbleDisplay.addListener("click", clickFunction , false);

The "click" DOM event will be fired whenever the user clicks anywhere within the InfoBubble. An initial check restricts the code to only update the InfoBubble if a tab has been clicked. The code itself comes in two parts: the first part traverses the DOM until the first <div> of the tabbed content is discovered, the second part iterates thorough each of the <li> elements in turn and associates the nm_tab_current class with the <li> that was clicked and displays its associated content, whereas the nm_tab class is associated to all the other tabs, and their content <div> elements are hidden, by setting the style to display:none.

var clickFunction =  function (evt) {	
if( == "nm_tab"){
var offset = 0;
var tabs =;
var tabContent = this.children;
while (offset < tabContent.length) {
if (tabContent[offset].nodeName== "DIV" ) {
// Loop through all the LI elements and set the clicked on to current,
// At the same time ensure only the nth DIV associated with the Nth Tab
// is visible - all other are set to display:none.
for (var i = 0, len = tabs.length; i < len; i++){
if ( tabs[i] =={
tabs[i].className = 'nm_tab_current';
tabContent[i+ offset].style.display ='block';
} else {
tabs[i].className = 'nm_tab';
tabContent[i + offset].style.display ='none';

Adding content to the tabbed dialog control

The InfoBubble map component accepts HTML as one of it input parameters, all that remains is to create a function that creates the HTML in the required format. A function can be written which takes an Array of tab headers and an Array of tab contents, along with an optional title for the TabbedInfoBubble, and create the necessary HTML for the tabbed dialog control.

this.addTabbedBubble = function(tabs, content, title, coordinate){
TabbedInfoBubbles.prototype.addBubble(tabbedContent(tabs, content, title), coordinate) ;
var tabbedContent = function (tabs, content, title){
var myHTMLcontent = "<ul class=\"nm_tabnav\">";
for (var i = 0; i < tabs.length; i++){
if (i==0){
myHTMLcontent = myHTMLcontent + "<li class=\"nm_tab_current\">"+ tabs[i] + "</li>";
} else {
myHTMLcontent = myHTMLcontent + "<li class=\"nm_tab\">"+ tabs[i] + "</li>";
myHTMLcontent = myHTMLcontent + "</ul>" + title;
for (var i = 0; i < content.length; i++){
if (i==0){
myHTMLcontent = myHTMLcontent + "<div>"+ content[i] + "</div>";
} else {
myHTMLcontent = myHTMLcontent + "<div>"+ content[i] + "</div>";
return myHTMLcontent;

This function can be used to create a tabbed Infobubble using the syntax:

  infoBubbles.addTabbedBubble(tabs, content, title, coordinate)	;

The result of this can be seen in the Worked Example

Using tabbed Infobubbles with KML

Using KML helps to separate the actual content from the way it is displayed on screen. The HTML which is displayed in the Infobubble is defined as a <BalloonStyle> and the content taken from the <description> and <name> elements. It is a simple matter to change the styling by associating an appropriate <BalloonStyle> using the <styleUrl> element.

<Style id='tabbed'>
<BalloonStyle><text><![CDATA[<ul class="nm_tabnav">
<li class="nm_tab_current">TAB ONE</li>
<li class="nm_tab">TAB TWO</li>
<Style id='untabbed'>
<Placemark id="1">
<name>TITLE TEXT</name>
<description><![CDATA[<div>TAB ONE TEXT</div>
<div>TAB TWO TEXT</div>]]></description>

When displaying the KML data, the required order of events is a follows: firstly the map is initialised, secondly the tabbed InfoBubble is wired up and finally the KML is loaded. An example of the use of a tabbed InfoBubble showing loaded KML data can be found in the Worked Example.



Although there is currently no instance of an actual tabbed Infobubble within the standard map components, it is possible to create a usable tabbed dialog by overriding the standard Infobubble component and adding the necessary CSS styling, and through the creation of a single DOM event. When such a tabbed dialog is created, it is also possible to use it to display KML generated data.

Article Metadata
Code ExampleTested with
Devices(s): Google Chrome 16.0.912, Firefox 10.0.2, Internet Explorer 8
Platform(s): Web Browser
Dependencies: Nokia Maps 2.2.3
Keywords: Nokia Maps, JavaScript, Infobubble, CSS, styling, KML
Created: jasfox (27 Feb 2012)
Last edited: jasfox (03 Jan 2013)
539 page views in the last 30 days.