Anyone want to try making an AjaxHIP?


It occurred to me that, since HIP can return XML data (add &GetXML=true to the URL), it wouldn’t be terribly hard to make an Ajax interface.

Why bother? Well, the interface would become extremely flexible; you could get a compact list of titles and click one to expand a list of locations/items, or switch from a traditional list of results to a “wall of covers” or a “subject cloud”.  Certainly it’d be easier to find overdue books with a “wall of covers” to remind you what the overdue book looks like.  Heck, maybe you could drag and drop a book cover to add it to a booklist or request it.  I don’t know yet which design ideas SHOULD be pursued, but Ajax offers a lot more than the standard Web 1.0 model.

I’ve just started to experiment with Ajax, and what I’ve done so far uses HTML responses.  I haven’t parsed ResponseXML objects yet.  But it seems to me that a simple version could submit a keyword search and look in the following path:


From here, isbn is the ISBN, key is the bib number, and TITLE.data.text is “Title of book / by Name of author”.  When the user drills down, we can make another request using “uri=” + TITLE.data.link.func and parse those results to show a complete list of items.

So who’s going to be the first to develop a simple prototype?  It should be able to do at least one kind of search, display summarized results, and bring in more information when the user wants it.

One comment

  1. I’ve put some effort into this very thing over the past few months. The result is Deck, available at http://decksrc.sf.net

    The alpha-0.1 release can be used to do search, as you suggested, and it has some support for account access. I’ve also succesfully used it to do status checks and item requests. There’s not really anything so far that I’ve found impossible. However, it turns out that interacting with HIP isn’t as straightforward as it seems, and this project has been a lot more trouble and hassle that I originally thought it would be.

    If you or anyone else is interested in discussing or working on this project, drop an email on the Deck mailing list.

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