Perfect jQuery UI rotating tabs

Published on October 20, 2009 JavaScript jQuery

Tabs are nice. They create a very elegant interface, and jQuery UI does this marvelously.

How to do that?

Include the files

With jQuery and jQuery UI it is dead simple. First, load the libraries, I recommend using the hosted files at Google for jQuery:

	<script src="" type="text/javascript"></script>
	<script src="path/to/jquery UI" type="text/javascript"></script>

Remember to include also the CSS files for the UI Theme! Otherwise the tabs won't seem to work!

The JavaScript:

Now comes the cool part, basically we want to have tabs: But although tabs are nice, people may not realize there is more content, or they might be just too lazy to browse through it, so, why not rotate through the tabs?
jQuery UI does that by itself with a very simple command, but it is not perfect! So we need to program our tabs to rotate, unless the mouse is over them. This way when a user is looking for a link, the tab will wait!

So here is how this is achieved:

    	$("#tabs-rotate").tabs({ fx: { opacity: 'toggle' } }).tabs('rotate', 3000);
    			$(this).tabs('rotate', 0, false);
    			$(this).tabs({ fx: { opacity: 'toggle' } }).tabs('rotate', 3000);

First we instruct jQuery UI to set up tabs in that div, and to rotate them. Then we use a hover event to control the rotation. On hover no rotation, and on out resume rotation.

Further actions:

Now you may want to stop rotation completely when a tab is clicked. This can be done easily: First we will add a new handler for the onclick event to the tabs-rotate, which will remove rotation. But we also have to unbind the hover handler we had setup, using the unbind jQuery function:

    	$(this).tabs('rotate', 0, false);

See it in action

You can see it working on the DJs Music homepage