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On: 2008 / 04 / 03 Viewed: 89669 times
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Early 2006, a cool guy named Lokesh Dhakar introduced Lightbox, a unobtrusive script used to display large images using modal dialogs over a black faded background. A great script, really. Since, every once in a while, someone comes up with their own take at this concept, using this or that javascript library (jQuery, Prototype, Mootools, YUI, you name it) and supporting various types of objects: images, flash objects, videos, inline HTML content, iframes, content fetched via an Ajax call, etc

Recently, thinking about ditching Prototype here on this blog, I wondered if there was any cool Lightbox clone for jQuery. Man, there are dozens of them. How am I supposed to chose the one that will suit my needs? I started to write down a few URLs and comments, then it occurred to me that I could make something cooler. A few coding later, here is the Lightbox Clones Matrix!

Lightbox Clones Matrix

I've listed more than 30 scripts, detailing for each one:

  • Its javascript size (not considering CSS, images or anything else)
  • The library needed, if any, mentionning its javascript size. I opted to compare uncompressed javascript file sizes, as it (sorts of) reflects the complexity and/or power of the library, regardless of how packed/minified/obfuscated it usually ships.
  • The total javascript size. This data won't interest someone already using a javascript library on their site, obviously.
  • Image support
  • The ability to group images into a single collection, allowing for easily browsing through images within the same overlay
  • Any other common object supported: inline content (ie content already existing in the page, but typically hidden), iframe, content fetched by an Ajax call, video, Flash.

To make things cuter and quicker to read, everything is summarized by a row of pretty icons (mostly coming from the wonderful Silk set)

Lightbox Clones Matrix: the comparisons

Of course, what would be the point of it if you couldn't quickly restrict you search to a few criteria? There's a handy filter set to make your selection easier. All the options are logical "OR", ie selecting several features will list scripts with at least one of them. Note that you can shrink the filter box if you don't need it.

Lightbox Clones Matrix: filters

Overall I had some fun making the Lightbox Clones Matrix. I hope it will be actually of any use to someone. Bookmark it, just in case you need it in the future! ;)

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This entry "The Lightbox Clones Matrix: Compare 30+ Lightbox Scripts" was posted on 03/04/2008 at 5:46 pm and is tagged with , , , ,
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105 Blablas

  1. armouf says:

    and you dont even tell us which one you finally chosed !


  2. Ozh says:

    armouf » indeed. FancyBox has my vote as of now :)

  3. WOW!

    Merci beaucoup, bonhomme :-)


  4. usayd says:

    Excellent resource thanks a lot mate.

  5. artakus says:

    great! this is what i looking for. thanks!

  6. […] ?planetOzh???The Lightbox Clones Matrix???????????Lightbox??????????????????????? […]

  7. Kaiserlino says:

    Hey buddy.
    Long time no see.
    Nice stuff you collected.
    Btw if you want, there is also a nice one that is not on the list:


  8. Ozh says:

    Kaiserlino » yeah I did see this script. I just could figure honestly what the f** it was for.

  9. Luca says:

    Hi! And now add this one:

    A mootools 1.2 version, with some differences/improvements

    :) Bye1

  10. Ozh says:

    Luca » Added, thanks!

  11. Maestr says:

    Nice list. thanks!

    One small thing you forgot is lightview supports video formats, avi mpg etc.

  12. Luca says:

    Hi Ozh! Thanks! I've got a couple of things to say about mootools-related clones:

    – I think you should write the correct version of mootools, since they're not really compatible. One could say hey, this clone is really good, I'll put in my pages! And then realize that in fact he can't. For example: litebox is for moo.fx, not for mootools. And Slimbox is for mootools 1.11, but it has problems working with mootools 1.2, even if you include compatibility with previous versions. Not to mention, Milkbox is just for mootools 1.2, and it won't work with previous versions.

    – The weight. I just checked the file weight of milkbox: the mootools distributed with milkbox is about 55 Kb, not 98. And the total javascript size (milkbox+mootools) is about 74.4 Kb, not 111. The very total, with css and button images, is about 87,8 Kb. :P

    So, these are not REALLY important things, but they sure would improve the matrix, so if you maybe want and got the time… ;)

    Thank you!!!


  13. Ozh says:

    Luca » You pretty much pinpoint the #1 thing I dont like with mootools stuff: inconsistencies between version support and size. That's why I elected to only report the latest size with all components :)

  14. […] ???The Lightbox Clones Matrix: Compare 30+ Lightbox Scripts ???30+Lightbox??????????? […]

  15. KAC says:

    Actually I`ve just updated FancyBox, I hope you`ll like it :)

  16. Erik Hansen says:

    Wow… what a great resource!

    There's a great Mootools lightbox that's not on the list:

    Thanks for providing this service to the web development community! – Erik

  17. Nicholas Oxhøj says:

    Really nice overview of what is available! Of course there is an infinite number of features that could potentially be nice to have in the matrix: Does it have keyboard navigation? How does it handle images to large to fit the window? Does it do any preloading? Etc.

    All the options are logical "OR", ie selecting several features will list scripts with at least one of them.

    I think you need to redo the filtering.

    For instance, if I don't care if my lightbox clone does flash, I uncheck the flash select – and suddenly all the clones which can do flash are removed – even the ones that can show images, which I am interested in.
    I don't think my criteria when choosing a lightbox would be "I certainly don't want a lightbox which can show flash" :-)

    Wouldn't it be better to have all the "feature selects" be initially unchecked, meaning "I don't care about this feature" and then AND'ing the selected features, meaning that the lightbox has to have all the selected features?

    At the same you might be interested in lightboxes built on one of several different libraries. So the "library selects", should be initially checked and then showing only the lightboxes that match either of the selected libraries.

    I have taken the liberty to rewrite your get_checks() function to reflect the proposed changes. Beyond that, you just have to remove the initial checkmarks from the "feature selects" :-)

  18. Ozh says:

    Nicholas Oxhøj » This is much much much better than mine. Thanks a million! :)

  19. Adam Alyan says:

    Awesome collection, that what I have been looking for.
    I wish there were a comments field on the matrix where we can see your comments on each of the scripts.

  20. […] zugehörigen Beitrag erklärt Ozh Hintergründe und Funktion, wobei die Matrix selbsterklärend ist. Ebenso […]

  21. datenkind says:

    The combination of Mootools and Slimbox only needs 37 kb in total.
    It's not the way mootools should be presented. It's a modular system and you should note this in this list, rather you like it or not

  22. datenkind says:

    (I missed to mention, that a comparison of non packed libraries is … well, very theoretical)

  23. Frank says:

    Hello Ozh,
    A idea for you matrix, maybe.
    With best gedards.

  24. swggy says:

    It would be nice to note which of the main browsers are supported. I'm on Opera 9.27, and running the demos for LightWindow and ShadowBox to watch the YouTube embedded video starts a d/l of I.swf (or l.swf) each time (in both demos), then nothing happens. No such issue on FF, though.

    Otherwise, great job summarizing their great work, thanks.

  25. Lightbox Scripts Comparison Matrix…

    There are many Lightbox-type scripts which are built with different JavaScript frameworks and have different features.
    planetOzh has created a nice comparison matrix for these Lightbox clones. You can sort the scripts and see their features easily.


  26. michele says:

    There is also Clearbox.
    I have used it in my site

    thanks a lot for your site!

  27. Ozh says:

    michele » I'd rather stick with stuff that I understand better, like English ;)

  28. Funbug says:

    Floatbox which is derived from Lytebox is missing in the matrix. :)

  29. Ozh says:

    Funbug » Thanks, I've added it to the list

  30. Konrad says:

    Great comparison, but I'm missing the "can prefetch the next image" in the filter..

  31. Timo says:

    I think one of the best ones is missing: EnlargeIt! has AJAX support, different animations, lots of stuff to configure, it's absolutely free of charge and it's less than 13 Kbytes.

    best regards

  32. Ozh says:

    Timo » Thanks, added!

  33. Timo says:

    Hi Ozh,

    two small mistakes: Enlargeit is 14 Kbyte in size, not 30 (the source version is only part of the archive to fulfill the GPL requirements). And another one: Just released 0.96 that can group pictures to sets via class attribute and navigate between them with buttons.

    Thanks for your good work!

    best regards

  34. Ozh says:

    Timo » I elected to compare uncompressed sizes.

  35. Timo says:

    Hi Ozh,

    oh I'm sorry, I wasn't aware. That's of course fair, though I can't imagine anyone using the uncompressed version of any of the scripts as long as the author offers a packed version. Especially the framework based products dramatically shrink if all components are compressed. BTW: Highslide is 16.9-69.2, the 8.5 is the packed version. This one was what made me think you compared smallest possible sizes.

    Keep on the good work, your comparison is the most complete I've ever seen!

    best regards

  36. Good work Ozh!

    can i suggest that you add
    …ohhh look it's got a slideshow!

    much love,
    definitely not weeb from weebbox

  37. Ozh says:

    definitely not weeb from weebbox » Added!

  38. guns says:

    Great compilation. I didn't see clearbox on there, however:

    His innovation is the thumbnail browser within the lightbox itself. It's too bad his code is obfuscated, because while the functionality is great, the layout and lack of keyboard navigation are unattractive.

  39. Ozh says:

    guns » I saw this script, but didn't include it because it was not translated in english so I wasn't sure of the features etc…

  40. […] gibt es schon so viele verschiedene Scripte, dass kaum einer noch den überblick hat.Daher hat eine Liste herausgebracht, die über 30 solcher Scripte auflistet und vergleicht. Etwa welche […]

  41. byronious says:

    Hi Ozh,
    Great list. You've doubled the size of floatbox. Probably because there's two js files included. Only one or the other of them is used depending on whether you want full screen or iframe-constrained results. Floatbox currently sits at 43k uncompressed (no libraries). Cheers…

  42. Ozh says:

    byronious » UNcompressed sizes are compared

  43. byronious says:

    Of course UNcompressed sizes are compared. That's why I said Floatbox is "43k uncompressed". In fact, there is no compressed version of floatbox. I don't know where you're getting the idea I'm reporting compressed size.

  44. […] gibi özelliklere göre s?ralama yap?labiliyor.Buradan lightbox klon listesine ula?abilir buradan ise yap?mc?n?n bu proje ile ilgili verdi?i bilgilere […]

  45. Ozh says:

    byronious » I just assumed you needed the two .js files included in your download archive

  46. Jamie says:

    Saw an interesting jquery plugin that is not on your list yet…


    Thanks for keeping up the billboard for my one stop script shopping :)

  47. Brian Schimmel says:

    Hi Ohz,
    great work! Maybe another feature to include in your matrix and filter would be, if the clone has animations, or doesn't have them, or if they can be toggled. (I don't know if other people care so much as I do, but I hate animations done in JS because they eat up my CPU.)

  48. Ozh says:

    Eduardo » Added, but an English page would be really cool

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