I’ve begun to write up a set of things I’d like to be able to do with an AJAX enhanced form framework. This is by no means complete, so check back for updates.
Last updated: Wednesday 25th of April.
Use Cases for AJAX form framework
The general goal is to speed up the users ability to work with a web application. The smaller the amount of data transfered between server and client, the faster the user can perform tasks. Since lots of data transfered between client and server is duplicated, there is a lot of room for improvements.
- numerical fields
- date fields
- choice fields (assuming they aren’t using select elements).
note: some widgets might do validation directly rather than through some other function that gets called on data submission. For example, a numerical input field might by a text input where the text turns red when the data in the field is not a number. This is the sort of thing where the “validator” would be called as the user types in the input field.
Unification of Display and Edit fields
When a user wishes to only change one attribute of an object, it can be cumbersome to load the entire edit form for the object. Since edit forms are generally accessed by first navigating to a display form, it would be beneficial if display forms could act as edit forms. Specifically, I see this working with widget switching, where a
display widget is switched to an edit widget. In this case there are two possibilities.
1. In the case that simple fields are being used, such as text
fields, modifying a simple display widget into a simple edit
2. In the case of more complicated widget fields, for which there
request the edit widget from the server via AJAX.
Wrapping Sub Forms in AJAX
When working with complex data input systems, it is sometimes the case that there are sub forms within a larger form. For example, we might have some kind of nested tree data structure where we wish to edit individual nodes within the tree. In a case like this, forms are recursively generated for each node and its children in the tree. Here the distinction between a widget and a sub form becomes vague. We may choose to define a widget that displays/edits a node or we may choose to define a sub form that displays/edits the node. Either method would work but the implementations would be slightly different.
1. Form object iterates through all widgets
2. One of the widgets links to a SubForm object.
- SubForm fields are not wrapped in form tags (i think that is the
only distinction between sub forms and regular forms)
3. Widget renders subform
4. js associated with widget parses subform html looking for