CSS Hacks for Esri’s Web AppBuilder

desk with computer and hand drawings of building layouts

I’ve recently had the opportunity to develop a few web map apps using Esri’s Web AppBuilder (Developer Edition) platform.  It’s essentially a HTML5/JavaScript container that displays a web map and various widgets in a standard layout.  The Developer Edition allows you to create custom themes and add custom widgets, features that are not available in the cloud-hosted version of the product.  For Developer Edition, you install the product on your computer’s local hard-drive, develop the app, export it as a zipped file, extract, and place on your web server.

screen shot of a web map application
A screenshot of the Esris Web AppBuilder web map application

As my organization was developing these web map apps, we soon realized several work-arounds were required to add or remove functionality.  Our solutions were mostly CSS “hacks.”  I wanted to share a few of these solutions in this post

Note: The exact style rules may be different from app to app. I also pull the default styles in the style tag in the index.html file into a separate style.css file, which is where I also add my custom rules.

Disabling the Filter Feature from the Attribute Table Widget

By default, the Attribute Table Widget provides a Filter tool that allows user to perform queries against the layers.  And while this normally isn’t an issue, when we were migrating our Property Mapper from FlexViewer to Web AppBuilder, we were required to disable this, as it would allow the public to search for property owners by name.

screen shot of filter tool for esri web appbuilder
The filter button allows users to query datasets.  It cannot be disabled.

After a support call with Esri, we learned there was not a way to remove this tool.  However, I was able to add a CSS rule to hide button that opens the Filter tool.  Unless Esri has added the explicit option to disable this tool, I think the following CSS rule is your best option.  And while a skilled developer could figure out how to unhide the button, they can probably figure out how to get the REST endpoint of the service – so you’re not really stopping them. (And speaking of this, I’ll be writing a post in the future about a Python script that hits a map/feature service and can copy the records to a shapefile/feature class)

/* hide Filter button for attribute table */
#dijit_MenuItem_4 {
    display: none !important;

Here’s a screenshot from the app with this rule in action:

screenshot of web appbuilder filter button hidden
The filter button can be hidden using CSS.  This results in a “disabled” tool.

Adding a Divider for the Header/Navigation Links 

When developing a Web AppBuilder app, you can provide links within the header/navigation area of the page.  But the drawback is there is no separator if you have multiple links.  In the image below, “Cumberland County” and “Map Gallery” are separate links, but unless you mouse-over them, you’ll probably think is a single link named “Cumberland County Map Gallery”.

esri web appbuilder screen shot showing multiple links in header without  a seperator
Two links without a visual seperator

I found this simply annoying.  However, I was able to add a pipe character to visually separator the links using the ::after selector.  And because I only wanted the separator after the first link, I also used the :first-child selector.  I also added a hover/focus pseudo-class to the links with a transition.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for changing things on the hover/focus event and love transitions.

screen shot of header links in web appbuilder app
The two links have a visual separator using the ::after selector

Below is the code I used to achieve his effect.

/* Header Link to Map Gallery */
/* Add a transition on the color */
a.jimu-link.jimu-align-leading.jimu-leading-margin1 {
    -webkit-transition: color 0.3s ease-in-out;
    -moz-transition: color 0.3s ease-in-out;
    -ms-transition: color 0.3s ease-in-out;
    transition: color 0.3s ease-in-out;

/* Add a pipe character after the first link to create a visible separator between links */
a.jimu-link.jimu-align-leading.jimu-leading-margin1:first-child::after {
    content: " |";
    color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.7);

/* change the color of the links on hover and focus events */<span 				data-mce-type="bookmark" 				id="mce_SELREST_start" 				data-mce-style="overflow:hidden;line-height:0" 				style="overflow:hidden;line-height:0" 			></span>
a.jimu-link.jimu-align-leading.jimu-leading-margin1:focus {
    color: #000;

Having Layer List Widget Open and Expanded on Page Load

One of my projects included migrating a FlexViewer app for our Public Safety office to WebApp Builder.  This should increase the reach of this app, as first responders will not longer be limited to desktop browsers and flash-enabled devices. This app had a window open on page load that allows the user to toggle layers on/off.  All the layers on this app are sub-layers within a single service.  As you will see in the series of images below, it took a few CSS rules to achieve the same effect in Web AppBuilder.  The solution involved changing the initial display properties for a couple elements.

layer list widget in esri flex viewer application
layer list widget in Flex Viewer


default expanded state for layer list in web appbuilder
Web AppBuilder Default expanded state for layer list widget when a service has sub-services/layers


expanded state for layer list with sub-layers expanded in web appbuilder
Sub-layers are expanded, but a loading icon appears instead of the legend icon


final result for expanded state for layer list in web appbuilder
Now the layer list widget matches the Flex Viewer app

And now the code that made it happen:

/* Layer list expanded by default */
.jimu-widget-layerList table.layer-sub-node {
    display: table;

/* layer list legend hidden so it loads properly */
.jimu-widget-layerList table.layer-sub-node .legends-loading-img {
    display: none;


So there are a few examples of CSS work-arounds I’ve implemented with Esri’s Web AppBuilder.  Some others included:

  • adding a black box around a legend element with a white symbol to seperate it from the white background of the legend widget (See Ag Resources map)
  • adding print media queries so a user can print the map with the pop-up box open on the selected feature (this is not supported in the default print widget) (See Property Mapper)
  • adding custom colors for standard/hover/disabled states for map buttons

Have you been working with the the Web AppBuilder product and had to find work-around solutions? Or maybe you’re a JS API guru and solved the problems that way? I would love to hear about it.


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