Summer of Code - Ajax Functionality for Drupal
This last summer I was sponsored by Google as part of their Summer of Code progam to work on Drupal. My goal was to introduce various AJAX functionalities to Drupal.
The official project description was:
"Drupal has recently begun to find meaningful ways to introduce AJAX functionality with the goal of improving the user experience. Work with Drupal's usability experts to identify the next steps and help implement new dynamic functions based on interaction with the XMLHttpRequest object."
I focused on the following Ajax-powered features:
- Inline Editing of posts: Though I built a working prototype module, I decided not to develop this feature further because it is not flexible enough to work as a generic Drupal module. It would break on too many configurations and has limited usefulness anyhow.
- Uploading of files: allows you to attach files to Drupal nodes (with upload.module) without having to reload the page.
- Sorting tables inside a page: this changes the sort order of a table without reloading the entire page. It is not client-side sorting as you'd expect at first sight: because most tables in Drupal are spread across multiple pages, client-side sorting is not very useful.
- Switching between multiple pages: this was implemented on top of the sorting functionality, and only works on paged tables (this covers most of the useful pagers though).
- Progressbar widget: a typical progressbar that fetches the status from the server through Ajax.
The resulting code can be found in my sandbox in the Drupal contributions repository. Note however that most of the code is in patches against the (rapidly changing) Drupal HEAD, so they are likely to go out of date soon.
The file uploader is now already part of the Drupal HEAD, and at least the tablesorter is sitting in the patch queue being reviewed. I will try and keep them up to date.
A big thanks goes to Google for organising the Summer of Code!