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January 7, 2007

Trip name, tags, photo titles

Filed under: Howtos / tips / tricks — mtbguru @ 11:24 pm

These three items on your trip page have in common that you can edit and change them on the fly, by hovering your mouse over them, clicking and typing.

What makes this possible is a technique called ‘Ajax inline editing’. Most people will associate the word ‘Ajax’ with the cleaning product, the Dutch soccer team or the Greek hero – but in web development circles it’s the name of a cool and hip set of techniques (acronym for ‘Asynchronous Javascript and XML’) to make web sites more responsive, interactive, intuitive and usable. The word is almost continuously being dropped by Web 2.0 marketing types, in buzzword-bingo worthy fashion, but it can truly make a difference.

For instance, let’s see how you can edit trip names. On the trip page, hover with your mouse over the trip name field – you’ll see it light up in yellow; and after a second or two, a tooltip appears (the ‘Click to edit’ box):


Then, if you do click, you’ll see this edit box appear, together with ‘ok’ and ‘cancel’ buttons:


You can now simply type in or edit the trip name and press enter or click ‘ok’.

The same works for the tags, as well as for the photo titles; the latter can be used to add some lines of commentary underneath the photo thumbnails, as shown below:


The stuff that lights up in yellow is material that you can edit right away by a single click.

Without Ajax, you’d have to work with links or click buttons that reload the entire page, with forms and other clunky remains of the earlier days of the web. One drawback of the Ajax approach though is that web site visitors are generally not yet anticipating this kind of interactivity and may overlook it – hence this post.

2 Responses to “Trip name, tags, photo titles”

  1. Dennis (Ogre) Says:

    The other problem with AJAX is that a portion of the web surfing population surfs with Javascript disabled or with older browsers which don’t support Javascript.

  2. mtbguru Says:

    That’s true. But with Javascript disabled, the Google maps themselves won’t even show up, so you could argue that for those people the site won’t be very useful anyway. Though you could still see/browse the trip summaries, plots and photos.

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