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myff admin

myfreefriend.org - creating the javascript windows framework

Having decided on a flashy windows look, there has to be a bit of a time out to get it working right.

I am pleased to say you can now go back to each page and see the windows where you dragged them, as cookies now store the windows positions.
myff admin

Whilst I would not mind betting that Ajax on the windows will create a little fun, forms in the windows now work.

I make no bones about making use of example code on the net, and I used some for the basic windows like interface this morning.
But all example code tends to be a little simplistic, designed to show a trick and little else.
In this case it casually left around a copy of the html that does into each window, so if you had a form, then all of a sudden you had two forms and some very confused forms code, or really just about any other javascript that tried to do things with the html is going to go bang when faced with duplicates.

All the same it is a lot easier doing upwards from something that does something, rather than doing it all from scratch.
myff admin



Just realized through force of habit I have started the buddy list code using good old forms submission code, the stuff I have just been making viable in the windows system. But of course we don't want to play in that old fashioned way, we want AJAX.

Nothing lost really though, getting the base system working is vital.
myff admin

Well strike another two hurdles down xajax calls are working and can be made easily to pick up the users session information so that useful things can happen.

So you can now make a friend list request in one window and the fact pops up in another instantly

So the friends list should be fully functional tomorrow, which probably will make chat and messaging the next prioritys.

We will have the sort of one line messaging system, where your friends can leave you quick notes, as well as fully fledged chat rooms.
myff admin

Having decided to change the windowing system, quite a lot needed doing, a new Joomla icon module and a rework of all the ajax stuff. But touch wood you can now show and hide windows using the menu items in an ajax like fashion.

Still a lot of missing detail like remembering window state and actually populating the windows. But the bits that might have been tricky are there and that counts for a lot
myff admin

Whilst I am at it, I am also rationalizing the number of windows.

A friendship request is really just another message, and the window where you make such requests may as well show the ones you have already made.
myff admin

Getting quite close to window resizing working okayish. It might seem an oversight not to have made this a priority and it was

But in the final analysis the interface would be silly without it.
myff admin

resizing is now working in a somewhat tolerable fashion, and for that matter the main window resizes to fit the browser, both horizontally and vertically.

It is becoming plain that the javascript framework I am developing is going to be quite a masterpiece in of itself

Something that may set a standard for interactive web sites

But that might only happen in a complete sense over quite a long time. Meanwhile I guess next weeks efforts should probably focus on core actual functionality.

Simply having an official chat system would be justification enough for an early release.
myff admin

A bit more polish done on the framework, cookies were a text book example of how not to code cookies but one of those cases of wanting a quick fix to see whether something worked, they are now coded to take a fraction of the space. Important within the ajax system that cookies are slimline.
myff admin

time for some office paper I think

But this morning tab dialogs and window maximize/restore have been coded a long with the start of the profile form for a member.

The profile form is another one to muse over, as it needs doing right within an ajax frame work.
myff admin

Developing the "myfriends" tab dialog reveals the framework does not deal well with the content resizing

So time for some more work in this area I think. I did kind of expect this to arise.
myff admin

Well it is a slight case of three steps forward two steps back But scrolling areas are now working after a fashion, and one part of the windows framework has been moved from where it would kind of generally work to where it actually should be, this needed quite a bit more coding, which is still not quite complete, but it is a good feeling to have things logically right.
myff admin



Feeling really pleased now At least in Firefox things are dragging/resizing/maximizing/restoring/minimizing, show scrollbars as appropriate and accept a call to force the content height.

It feels like quite a robust windows facsimile now.
myff admin

Added a few more tweaks like a slightly different shade on the top line in pixels in the windows bar.

But the main issue at the minute is dealing with a new type of window.

The earlier windows are all kind of permanent whether they are displayed or not. Moving on to profile windows for peoples friends and you have a different ball game, windows that will be created/destroyed on the fly.

This means that at the moment if you view a profile and minimize it and then view it again, the system screws up as the window remembers its previous state and choose to minimize itself again

It is not a big deal to deal with, but one of those decisions that needs getting right.
myff admin

Another important addition is the concept of the windows working within a view portal on screen.

Cookies now store the positions within the portal, and the portal is defined at run time. The upshot is that we can redefine the basic screen layout and the users windows will remain in sensible positions.
myff admin

Getting a little messy, but I have added a little more code that when a window is shown, goes through various container classes and resizes them.

html/css is chronically lacking the basic constructs that an X windows programmer would expect to see in this regard.

A DIV should have layout properties, like fromVert, leftEdge, attachRight and so on, properties that automatically control how things look at all sizes.

I think we are getting there now, but what the screenshots were not revealing is that windows that started off minimized were ending up with their contents squashed in some cases
myff admin

Had a good look around the bookshop earlier today.

The shelves are loaded with Javascript/Ajax books, and I am a big fan of books, my shelves are loaded with computing books Somehow though I came away empty handed, new tech like this generates loads of hot air and genuinely useful information still looks very thin on the ground.
I think what I am doing here already with the myfreefriends site is a long way ahead of what I have been reading.
myff admin

I now have a seemingly working set of functions to create "Wizards" with the type of Back/Next functionality that is sometimes quite useful. This should make the sign up dialogs quite nice
myff admin

Mutter mumble, the Wizard really is quite excellent, but with the new sign up code i have found some missing functionality in the xajax code that is solved by the new beta which is not available with the Joomla wrapper.

This is now a show stopper, there is no sensible way to hack around the missing function, so there is no choice but to slot in the xajax beta myself.
myff admin

Hmm, I have put in the upgrade and oddly some of the ajax is working, but the bulk is dead and unresponsive
myff admin



Solved that one, almost all the function calls have been renamed, and the system fails silently if you use an old style name

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