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Ajaxion - Standalone AJAX - Part 2 of 2 - C# and Java Example

, 22 Jan 2013
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An article about how to keep AJAX simple as it is and get the most out of it.
Prize winner in Competition "Best Java article of July 2008"

Screenshot - Screenshot.jpg

Introduction

Part 1 of this article is about how Standalone Ajax and REST can improve SDLC: Agile, Ajax, Web design, RESTfull server side. It should be possible to face customers quickly and build easier more reliability and scalability in our software and that is not only about expensive technology. 

This article was initially about "keeping JavaScript simple"... unless you have no choice. The best productivity and results are based on understanding, they do not necessarily rely on heavy frameworks and technologies... maybe on standards. This approach fits the usage of a RESTfull server side - REST is more a standard than a technology so we are consistent in cutting down technology - then on the client in the HTML / CSS / Javascript we can finally speak about technology like jQuery, browsers / client agents etc.. This article shows how Ajax works deep down using XmlHttpRequest - for learning purpose or if you don't use jQuery - if you know this then the Ajax calls with jQuery would be the way to do it now-days. 

Background

The .NET sources contain the Ajaxion embedded into an ASP.NET application; it was the first approach; for the Standalone Ajax follow the "Standalone Ajax demo" link. The Java source contains only the Standalone Ajax demo (by the way, the subject is Standalone Ajax not .NET vs. Java). The ajaxion.js is the same in both, the page event handlers. *.js follow the same idea, the server-side is... a bit different - C#, Java... "a bit" because the server side is already service oriented - that is much more important than the language: the .NET server side relies mostly on a Web service, the Java server side is a service-servlet (both not RESTfull yet!). The Java HTTP servlets are the very simple renderings of HTML, XML or whatever - emphasizing the service approach, running on the application server (you can deploy on Tomcat - for coding you can use Eclipse, Oracle JDeveloper, etc.). 

The idea is well known: an Ajax JavaScript layer acts between the "Ajax enabled" page (its HTML, in fact, even if it is rendered by some ASP or JSP or PHP...) in the browser and the Web (app) server. The Ajaxion JavaScript layer defines Ajaxion events enclosing Ajax calls to consume the services on the Web app server where we run some C# or Java code. Let's rename Ajax call to HTTP call then we can design the server side to consume other services of the same kind, we are almost there, close to a better structure and interoperability across the enterprise... right from the start and that's possible because of REST. The Ajaxion JavaScript layer uses XmlHttpRequest to make GET, PUT, POST, DELETE "HTTP calls". The attached examples show only how to do Ajax calls and for now not how to be RESTfull about it.

So Ajax standalone is in a simplified vision a UI perspective on REST: HTML, JavaScript Ajax call layer, HTTP consuming service oriented REST server-side. Why not, let's think to DLR, how powerful will a dynamic language based application be, bringing maybe a lot of "highly responsive smart client flavor  in the enterprise, rather than the XServerPages Web applications... dying under heavy viewstates or bloated sessions. It is "cool" to bind together so many languages... but... even if most programmers like C# many applications are a mixture of C# and VB.NET, carrying on the VB6 and ASP legacy. On the .NET platform now, you need to know "more languages than technologies" - Python, Ruby etc. are really coming in - .NET is still in its youth; in Java you need to know mostly standards like EJB, the core being well proven, compact and stable... facing now the rise of dynamic languages... So let's build the applications of tomorrow using the current standards... with no learning curve!

A Short Guide for the Code 

Ajaxion relies on:

  • ajaxion.js - that hosts a class like JavaScript that initiates the Ajax calls
  • The rest of *.js defines the Ajaxion events hosting the Ajax calls and their callback JavaScript functions - used to update the host page target HTML elements
  • The C# / Java class AjaxionEventConsumer that handles the Ajaxion events (their Ajax calls) on the server side

How to Get an Ajax Enabled HTML Element by using Ajaxion

Register the Ajaxion JavaScripts to be used in the host page, e.g. see head of Default.aspx. Choose an XHTML element event to trigger the Ajaxion events, like onclick (you can register them also in the body onload):

onclick="ajaxion.postUrl('AjaxCallbackWs.asmx/GetImageUrl', 'imageUrl', GetImageUrl)"

// or e.g. set the HTML event from the C# class of the host page
btnAjaxWsGetImgUrl.Attributes.Add("onClick",
    "ajaxion.postUrl('AjaxCallbackWs.asmx/GetImageUrl',
    'imageUrl', GetImageUrl)");

// be aware, the both above methods were used

//or use body onload (in the Java example):
function onLoad()
{
   var handler = "ajaxion.get('getText', getTextCallback)";
   window.document.getElementById("btn").setAttribute("onclick", handler);
}

and in the page:
<body onload="onLoad()" ...

Register the Ajaxion event (e.g. imageUrl) and the callback function (e.g. GetImageUrl) in the host page specific script (e.g. DefaultAspx_AjaxionEvents.js)

// Register Ajaxion event "imageUrl"

function parseEventParam(eventId)
{
    ajaxion.beginEvent(eventId);
    var parameters = '';

    switch (eventId)
    {
        ...
        case 'imageUrl' :
            ajaxion.setEventMonior('imageUrl', '');
            parameters = window.document.getElementById('dropDown').value;
            break;
        ...
    }
    return parameters;
}

// You can override functions from ajaxion.js like:
// Override ajaxion.beginEvent for the current page
ajaxion.beginEvent = beginEvent;
function beginEvent(eventId)
{
   // Page specific code
}

// Ajaxion event "imageUrl" callback function.
// This updates the host page after the Ajax call for the
// Ajaxion event was consumed.

function GetImageUrl()
{
    if (ajaxion.isEventConsumed())
    {
        window.document.getElementById('image').src = ajaxion.request.responseText;
        window.document.getElementById('image').title = ajaxion.GetParameters();
        ajaxion.endEvent();
    }
}

And, last but not least, the C# / Java code to handle the Ajaxion event:

[WebMethod]
public void GetImageUrl()
{
   try
    {
        AjaxionEventConsumer consumer = new AjaxionEventConsumer(this.Context, 700);
        consumer.ConsumeEvent("images/" + consumer.Parameters, "text/html");
    }
    catch (System.Threading.ThreadAbortException)
    {}
    catch (Exception ex)
    {
        FileLog.WriteLogLn("\nException: " + ex.Message + "\nTrace: " + ex.StackTrace);
    }
}

// Or the Java code:
public void service(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
{
    try
    {
        if (consumer == null)
            consumer = new AjaxionEventConsumer(request, response, 1000);
        else
            consumer.init(request, response, 1000);

        String eventId = consumer.getEventId();
        String param = consumer.getParameters();
        String contentType = "text/html; charset=windows-1252";

        if (eventId.equals(GET_TEXT))
        {
           consumer.beginResponse(contentType);
           consumer.respondString("ajaxionTest.sevice handled POST or GET");
           consumer.respondString(eventId + " [ " + param + " ]");
           consumer.endResponse();
        }
        else
           consumer.consumeEvent("ajaxionTest.sevice handled an event", contentType);

         String message = "ajaxionTest.sevice handled : " + eventId + " 
                    [ " + param + " ]";
         System.out.println(message);
         FileLog.WriteLn(new FileLog().getFileName(), message);
    }
   catch (Exception ex)
   {
        String message = "ajaxionTest.sevice exception : " + ex.getMessage();
        System.out.println(message);
        FileLog.WriteLn(new FileLog().getFileName(), message);
   }
}

Points of Interest

The functionality demonstrated is (in the order it appears):

  • The exchange of some text between two text boxes, but the Ajaxion calls are targeted to different URL-s- pages and WS
  • An XML test, using a Web service call. It is convenient here (unless there is no choice) to handle XML in C# / Java rather than in JavaScript where, as always we run into browser incompatibilities - so let's just keep it simple
  • An approach to start and monitor a thread running on the server
  • Some image retrieval
  • Some drag'n drop
  • And, last but not least, a user control demo, a good approach for Ajaxion, Ajaxion being mostly the XmlHttpRequest wrapper foundation and not the ultimate Web UI fancy effects provider
  • For now, this may look less convenient than the easy usage of e.g. MagicAjax (which is great, by the way) but the point here is to eliminate the "X"SP layer so the server side is responsible much more for the logic instead of rendering XHTML... and... you have complete control over the entire Ajax roundtrip without needing to hook in and recompile any library code; so just keep the event handler JavaScript simple. In time, I will update this article to simplify the code and provide a shorter way to use control-like features as "X"SP have controls / custom tags.

Hope this helps.

History

  • 8th July, 2008: Initial post

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

radumi
Software Developer
New Zealand New Zealand
Coder

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmentorMd. Marufuzzaman21-Jan-13 22:08 
Question:) Pinmemberpty3452-Jan-12 14:08 
QuestionQuick one Pinmemberdraffa213-May-10 20:46 
QuestionSet up Demo Pinmemberjnovy19-Aug-08 5:09 
AnswerRe: Set up Demo Pinmemberdraffa213-May-10 20:48 
you will need to add .Net frameworks to your computer.

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