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AJAX and PHP Part 2: XML Communication/Processing - Page 2

by: Jon Campbell
|
June 28, 2007

AJAX Processing of XML
AJAX is an advanced feature of JavaScript primarily programmed within client-browser pages; any server-side programmable language can support it. JavaScript has what is called the DOM or Document Object Model for programming--it is used for XML processing. We will use the DOM methods .getElementsByTagName( ) and .childNodes[ ].value in this tutorial, as these are the methods that allow the client-browser to process XML documents that are received via AJAX.
Listing C: HTML/JavaScript page utilizing XML requests
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" >
<head>

<title>Advanced AJAX Part 1</title>

<script language="javascript"  type="text/javascript">

function processXML(xmlDoc) {  //process the received XML data with DOM methods
   try {
	var cells = xmlDoc.getElementsByTagName("cell");
      for (var x=0; x<cells.length; x++) {
        var title = cells[x].getElementsByTagName("title")[0].firstChild.nodeValue;
        var desc = cells[x].getElementsByTagName("description")[0].firstChild.nodeValue;
	  //Following lines place the data into our HTML page table
	  var cid = "cell"+(x+1);
	  document.getElementById(cid).innerHTML = title+"<br>"+desc;
      }
   } catch (e) {
	alert("Error:"+e.name+"\n"+e.message);
   }
}


function doHttpRequest() {  // This function does the AJAX request
  http.open("GET", "getxml.php", true);
  http.onreadystatechange = getHttpRes;
  http.send(null);
}


function getHttpRes() {
  try {
    if (http.readyState == 4 ) { 
        if (http.status == 200) {
		var xmlres = http.responseXML.documentElement;  //This gets the XML response
	    	processXML(xmlres); //processXML() uses the XML by populating an HTML table
        } else {
            alert("There was a problem retrieving the XML data:\n" + req.statusText);
        }
    }
  } catch (e) {
	alert("Error:"+e.name+"\n"+e.message);
  }
}



function getXHTTP() {
  var xhttp;
   try {   // The following blocks get the XMLHTTP object for various browsers
      xhttp = new ActiveXObject("Msxml2.XMLHTTP");
    } catch (e) {
      try {
        xhttp = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");
      } catch (e2) {
 		 // This block handles Mozilla/Firefox browsers...
	    try {
	      xhttp = new XMLHttpRequest();
	    } catch (e3) {
	      xhttp = false;
	    }
      }
    }
  return xhttp; // Return the XMLHTTP object
}

var http = getXHTTP(); // This executes when the page first loads.

</script>

</head>

<body>

<input type="button" value="Press" name="btn" onClick="doHttpRequest();">

<br><br><br>

XML data...

<table width=100% border=1 cellspacing=0>
   <tr><td id="cell1">cell1</td> <td id="cell2">cell2</td> <td id="cell3">cell3</td><tr>
</table>

</body>
</html>
Our HTML/JavaScript page above could be saved as index.html or mypage.html or it could even be a PHP page. The AJAX features are all standard but you should notice the following line within the getHttpRes( ) function above. This gets the AJAX response from the server into the xmlres variable, but as an XML document, not as just Text.
var xmlres = http.responseXML.documentElement;
The xmlres variable becomes a type XML DOM object. This xmlres variable is passed to the processXML( ) function which processes the various tags and contents in the XML document, examine this function.
function processXML(xmlDoc) {  //process the received XML data with DOM methods
   try {
	var cells = xmlDoc.getElementsByTagName("cell");
      for (var x=0; x<cells.length; x++) {
        var title = cells[x].getElementsByTagName("title")[0].firstChild.nodeValue;
        var desc = cells[x].getElementsByTagName("description")[0].firstChild.nodeValue;
	  //Following lines place the data into our HTML page table
	  var cid = "cell"+(x+1);
	  document.getElementById(cid).innerHTML = title+"<br>"+desc;
      }
   } catch (e) {
	alert("Error:"+e.name+"\n"+e.message);
   }
}
Notice the 2nd line document.getElementById(cid).innerHTML, this does dynamic updating of the cells of our HTML table using the <title> and <description> fields of the XML document variable passed to the above function as xmlDoc. You can break up an XML document into a set of elements as we do in this line of our above function: var cells = xmlDoc.getElementsByTagName("cell"); This creates another XML document variable named cells which holds all the "cell" elements of the original XML document shown in Listing B.
We hope you have enjoyed the topic and found this tutorial educational. Look for more tutorials in this AJAX and PHP series of articles coming soon!



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