Adding controls to headers

GoldenLayout provides a number of hooks that make it easy to extend its native functionality, e.g. by adding additional controls to all headers.

The goal

For this tutorial we'll add a dropdown to every header that allows the user to change the background color.

It needs to:

  • Change the component's background color when a color is selected
  • Set the initial color based on the component's configuration
  • Notify the LayoutManager about state changes when a new color is selected

The result

See the Pen Add Control to Header by Wolfram Hempel (@wolframhempel) on CodePen.

The approach

Whenever a new Row, Column, Stack or Component is created, GoldenLayout emits an event, providing the new item as an argument.

myLayout.on( 'stackCreated', function( stack ){
    // ...manipulate the stack

myLayout.on( 'componentCreated', function( component ){
    // ...manipulate the component

Stacks, Rows, Columns and Components expose the Item API.

Please note: All components are children of Stacks (the item with the header and the tabs)! Even if a component is not configured as a child of a stack one will implicitly be added.

The Stack item provides access to its header and the components within it. Some examples:

myLayout.on( 'stackCreated', function( stack ){

     * Accessing the DOM element that contains the popout, maximise and * close icon
    stack.header.controlsContainer.prepend( '<div>foo</div>' );

     * Listening for activeContentItemChanged. This happens initially
     * when the stack is created and everytime the user clicks a tab
    stack.on( 'activeContentItemChanged', function( contentItem ){
        // interact with the contentItem

     * Accessing the container and updating its state
    stack.getActiveContentItem().container.extendState({color: '#faa'});

And that's the entire code for our dropdown

/// Callback for every created stack
myLayout.on( 'stackCreated', function( stack ){

    //HTML for the colorDropdown is stored in a template tag
    var colorDropdown = $( $( 'template' ).html() ),
        colorDropdownBtn = colorDropdown.find( '.selectedColor' ),

        setColor = function( color ){
            var container = stack.getActiveContentItem().container;

            // Set the color on both the dropDown and the background
            colorDropdownBtn.css( 'background-color', color );
            container.getElement().css( 'background-color', color );

            // Update the state
            container.extendState({ color: color });

    // Add the colorDropdown to the header
    stack.header.controlsContainer.prepend( colorDropdown );

    // Update the color initially and whenever the tab changes
    stack.on( 'activeContentItemChanged', function( contentItem ){
        setColor( contentItem.container.getState().color );

    // Update when the user selects a different color
    // from the dropdown
    colorDropdown.find( 'li' ).click(function(){
        setColor( $(this).css( 'background-color' ) );

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