14 Apr 2014

AngularJS & Popup Windows

Popup windows are extremely annoying hence most modern browsers block them, agreeably so. That being said one use of popup windows is when doing OAuth. Showing the OAuth authorization dialog in a popup window as not to confuse the user.

If there is a better or different way please comment below.

All the code can be found at angular-popup.

Here is how I solved it using a simple express 4 application and the accompanying AngularJS.

The express code is very simple it just creates two routes. The root/index route renders the view to bootstrap the angular application.

The angular app has one default route / with its controller set to PopupCtrl. In the template popup.html using ng-click we call the function bound on the $scope called showPopup. This is the code for PopupCtrl;

Read the inline comments;

popupApp.controller('PopupCtrl', ['$scope', '$window', '$interval', function PopupCtrl($scope, $window, $interval) {
  'use strict';

  // assign the current $scope to $window so that the popup window can access it
  $window.$scope = $scope;

  $scope.showPopup = function showPopup(){
    // center the popup window
    var left = screen.width/2 - 200
        , top = screen.height/2 - 250
        , popup = $window.open('/popup', '', "top=" + top + ",left=" + left + ",width=400,height=500")
        , interval = 1000;

    // create an ever increasing interval to check a certain global value getting assigned in the popup
    var i = $interval(function(){
      interval += 500;
      try {

        // value is the user_id returned from paypal
        if (popup.value){
      } catch(e){
    }, interval);


We tell the popup to load up the /popup URL which our express app will render the server side jade template.

extends layout

block content
    <h1>I'm a popup</h1>

            window.opener.$scope.says = 'teapot';
            window.value = true;
        }, 2000);

The template above is simple enough. All it does is after two seconds assing to window.value to indicate to the $interval that the popup has done something important. The popup also assigns a value to window.opener.$scope which is the $scope that was assigned in PopupCtrl.

As we have used ng-model in the default routes template a we will see the text teapot appear in the text input.

Hope this makes sense.