[FX.php List] AJAX and FX.php

Dale Bengston dbengston at preservationstudio.com
Tue Oct 18 22:20:52 MDT 2005

Hi Dan,

I have it working. I have a time-tracking solution for a graphic- 
design firm that's based on FMSA and FX.PHP. Users click on a grid  
(fancy JavaScript) to register quarter hours of time spent on various  
projects. Any modified lines of time are automatically saved out at  
intervals to FMP via AJAX without having to "submit" the page or  

The AJAX JavaScript passes information to a server-side PHP page,  
which includes the FX.PHP call to FMSA edit a record, or add a new  
one if necessary. The PHP page returns the record id to the  
JavaScript so it can be added to any new lines of time so they will  
be edited the next time around.

Things I learned along the way...

1. AJAX creates a new set of UI challenges. The typical user  
expectation is that to commit data to a database, you submit a form,  
wait, and get a new page. It was hard to convince some users that  
something is happening and their changes were saved without  
refreshing the page. I had to develop some icons to provide feedback:  
time has not been saved, time is getting saved, time is saved.

2. I wasted a lot of time trying to adapt the AJAX code posted by  
others. I would have been better off to just do my homework up-front  
on XMLHttpRequest and write my own from scratch.

3. When I first had the idea to build this time-tracking solution  
using AJAX, I thought I'd use AJAX everywhere. Now, I'm not so sure.  
It has its places, but it's not a substitute for every conventional  
site I develop.

Back in July, Marisa Smith and I cooked up a proof of concept of  
using FileMaker data and AJAX to populate a "Google Suggests" type  
drop-down menu. You can see it at <http://www.streamline-studio.com/ 
AJAX/index.php>. It's a really rough page, and it's terribly slow  
because of where it's getting its FMP data. But it works. This one is  
built on the work of others; I wish I had time to re-do it from  
scratch. Did I mention it's ugly and slow? Really. Ugly. Slow.

Hope this helps,

Dale Bengston
Streamline Studio, LLC
2822 Mason Street
Madison, WI 53705
dbengston at streamline-studio dot com

On Oct 18, 2005, at 1:33 PM, DC wrote:

> Anyone working on integration of FMP/FX.php with the new-style Web  
> 2.0 (aka AJAX) Client-Server architectures?
> What have you found/built?
> Thanks,
> dan
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