Lightbox + FancyTooltips Bug Fix

For those of us enjoying the stylish functionality of Lightbox or any of its many incarnations, images “magically” overlay the window and unfold, revealing navigational buttons, image count, and of course the image titles. Likewise, for those of us enjoying the stylish functionality of FancyTooltips or any of its many incarnations, title and alt attributes manifest as stylish displays of CSS brilliance that your visitors will love.

However, for those of us employing both features, there is a potential JavaScript conflict. This conflict makes it impossible for Lightbox to display the contents of title attributes associated with images. Thus, if you are employing Lightbox (or one of its many variations) and FancyTooltips (or one of its many variations), image titles will be missing from your Lightbox-displayed images. If this is the case, everything else (nav buttons, number display, close button) will display properly, including the “fancy” tooltips. If this sounds like your situation — missing Lightbox titles — we have good news..

Good news

Fortunately, the “fix” for this “bug” is relatively simple. Before getting to that, it is important to explain two things: (1) cause of the conflict and (2) verification of the conflict. Keep in mind that we are attempting to extrapolate from several specific scenarios to many possible configurations. So, if this article fails to fix your specific setup, hopefully it will provide insight toward an individually deduced solution.

First, let’s examine the cause of the conflict. Generally speaking, JavaScript-based tooltip enhancement involves replacing title and/or alt attributes with author-specified “hooks” that enable scripts to function. For example, the FancyTooltips script rewrites all title="" attributes as fancytooltip="", thereby enabling the FancyTooltips script to recognize and act upon such attributes exclusively.

The problem is that once all of the title="" attributes have been replaced with script-specific hooks, Lightbox no longer recognizes them, making it impossible to display their contents. Hence the mysteriously missing Lightbox titles. To verify this, use your browser’s “Save Page As…” feature to save an offline copy1 of a page that uses both Lightbox and FancyTooltips (or any other similarly conflicting scripts). Then, examine the source code of the offline copy and look for title="" attributes replaced by fancytooltip="". If you find that the title and/or alt attributes have indeed been rewritten, read on for the fix!

The Fix

Now that you hopefully understand the nature of the dilemma, it is time to completely eliminate the conflict. Open your lightbox.js file and scroll down to around line #333, searching for the following:

// if image is NOT part of a set..
if((imageLink.getAttribute('rel') == 'lightbox')){
	// add single image to imageArray
	imageArray.push(new Array(imageLink.getAttribute('href'), imageLink.getAttribute('title')));			
} else {
// if image is part of a set..
	// loop through anchors, find other images in set, and add them to imageArray
	for (var i=0; i<anchors.length; i++){
		var anchor = anchors[i];
		if (anchor.getAttribute('href') && (anchor.getAttribute('rel') == imageLink.getAttribute('rel'))){
			imageArray.push(new Array(anchor.getAttribute('href'), anchor.getAttribute('title')));
	while(imageArray[imageNum][0] != imageLink.getAttribute('href')) { imageNum++;}

Now, near the end of the fourth line, replace title with fancytooltip. Then, likewise, near the end of the eleventh line, replace title with fancytooltip. You’re done. Upload the file and check tooltips and Lightbox images. You should now be enjoying titles in your image popups and titles in your fancy tooltips. Note that this easy fix may be generalized to any set of similarly conflicting scripts. Simply determine the rewritten attributes by saving an offline copy and then search/replace the offending values in the corresponding scripts.

This article is a work in progress. Please contribute any helpful information by leaving a comment below or via the Contact form. God Bless.


  • 1 In general, offline copies are very useful troubleshooting tools, as they represent the code after scripts have acted upon it, thereby offering a more accurate view of what the browser actually interprets.