Archive for the ‘AJAX’ Category


CODI 2006: Shelly Neville’s presentation on Information Portal 8.x


I’m posting this in Atlanta, having forgotten to post earlier. (Uploading 500MB of photos to Flickr takes a while, especially since the Little America hasn’t got an OC-48, and Flock kept losing its connection until about 1:30am. For all the wonders of Web 2.0, I’d have loved to be able to just use ssh, ftp, or even Xmodem-CRC.

There was a question about library-supplied images in combination with Syndetics images; Shelly pointed out that it would be rare to have both kinds of images for the same record, but that you could check boxes on a config screen to modify the layout. I said that you could also use XSLT to display the Syndetics image only if there’s no locally-provided image — just change the stylesheet.

Shelly laughed and said: “Any time a technical person says ‘you can just change the stylesheet’, I worry. I can *spell* XSL and that’s about it.”

You can use location groups to show “local copies”, “other libraries within 20 miles”, “other libraries further away”, etc.; the user would see the first group’s holdings and use a drop-down menu (or a similar control) to choose a different view.

(I hope there’ll be a way to use checkboxes to do something similar — perhaps “just change the stylesheet” to introduce some code that would display each group in a div and then show or hide the divs as the user toggles ‘public libraries’, ‘Pinellas County’, and so on. Heck, there’s an AJAX way to use a slider to say how far away you’re willing to go, but that might not actually be *useful*, just cool.)

Speaking of stylesheets, CSS will be used for layout, so there’s a good chance that the layout could be radically improved without messing around in XSLT.

Language translations will be stored in customer-accessible resource bundles, so we can create a Greek translation, or tweak a Spanish translation to reflect local usage. (Or even make the PAC say ‘your mailing address needs updated’, if that’s how normal people talk in your area.)


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 is “Title of book / by Name of author”.  When the user drills down, we can make another request using “uri=” + 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.