25th June, 2014

Two Level Shrinking Header and Footer with Ionic Framework

See the Pen Shrinking header and footer by Varun Vachhar (@winkerVSbecks) on CodePen.


The Ionic Framework is an open source front-end framework for developing hybrid mobile apps with Cordova and AngularJS. I’m a big fan and use it a lot in my work at rangle.io! We are a full-stack web and mobile app development consultancy.

One of the apps we are currently developing has an infinite stream similar to Facebook. Therefore, we decided to mimic the iOS shrinking header UI, to give the user more screen space for actual content. Ionic has had a demo for this for quite some time. However, the shrinking behaviour is limited to the top of the scroll view.

We wanted to take this one step further and allow the shrinking and expansion to happen at any point during the scroll view. Also, we have a two level header: main header and a secondary toolbar.

Since, the animation can occur at any point we have to keep a track of the scroll direction. This is done by calculating the delta:

delta = e.detail.scrollTop - prev;

If delta is greater than zero then the user is scrolling up and vice versa:

dir = delta >= 0 ? 1 : -1;

The shrink amount is calculated based on the scroll position:

// If Shrinking

shrinkAmt = headerHeight + subHeaderHeight - ( (starty + headerHeight + subHeaderHeight) - e.detail.scrollTop) );

// If Expanding

shrinkAmt = prevShrinkAmt - (starty - e.detail.scrollTop);

This works great until the user scrolls to the top/bottom edge and the view has bounce. The bounce causes all kinds of weird glitches. To prevent these from happening we need to add max and min limits:

// If Shrinking

shrinkAmt = headerHeight + subHeaderHeight - Math.max(0, (starty + headerHeight + subHeaderHeight) - e.detail.scrollTop);

// If Expanding

shrinkAmt = prevShrinkAmt - Math.min(threshold, (starty - e.detail.scrollTop));

The final step is to apply the actual CSS transforms from within the ionic.requestAnimationFrame function. This is also where we check to see if the shrink amount is greater than the height of the sub-header and only apply the transforms to the main-header if it is.

The ionic.requestAnimationFrame calls the window.requestAnimationFrame or a polyfill if it’s not available. This helps optimize the animation updates making it much more smoother:

The window.requestAnimationFrame() method tells the browser that you wish to perform an animation and requests that the browser call a specified function to update an animation before the next repaint. The method takes as an argument a callback to be invoked before the repaint.

This will request that your animation function be called before the browser performs the next repaint. The number of callbacks is usually 60 times per second.

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