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  1. #1
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    I have been given a chance to design a webpage (at last - after years of trying to get the company to move forward) - at least internal for time being. I have created a mock-up of what I think it should look.

    Since, this is my first foray into html/webpages, I have few simple questions for you guys.

    The webpage shows information about release notes for all company products and divided into 5 parts. The idea is that only this look is available to the user. The user can select a product from the list and gets information on it. He/She can click one the option in the 2nd link options and information changes.

    Part1-> is a link bar at the top that populates the 'products' column on the left. (Past, Present and Future)
    Part2-> is a list of link options that change the information within the 'client' and 'server' columns (Default is the information as shown in the snapshot, clicking Reference/Upgrade Instructions would update the 'client/server' columns). I would like this to be a like a tab but not sure how to achive this yet.
    Part3-> is the 'Products 'columns. List of products/informations based on the selection of 'Previously Released, Current or Coming soon). The 'Products' list to be populated when ' 'Previously Released, Current or Coming soon' is selected. Selecting a product from the list would populate the two other columns 'client' and 'server'.
    Part4-> is the 'client' information for the selected 'product'
    Part5-> is the 'sever' information for the selected 'product'

    Q0: Is this actually possible - i.e. is proposal do-able?
    Q1: Should I do this webpage as a table with columns to display different information or perhaps use something called frames (of which I don't know much)?
    Q2. Is it possible to dynamically update *only* the information in a particular area (e.g. if a product is selected then populate columns 2 and 3 and refresh the page) or do I have to re-display the 'whole' page at anytime any information is changed on that page? The 2nd option seems rather laborious.
    Q3. Columns 2 and 3 could have one or more sections within it, i.e. for Default information is has 3 sections for client and 3 for server (Purpose of release, Compatibility, Changes) but for References it could only 1 for client and 1 for server. Is this possible?

    Attached is a snapshot of 'design'. Thanks in advance for any insight.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Thanks.
    Robie

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    I think there really are two separate questions here: (1) is this possible, and (2) is this possible using the UI of my development tool without extensive hand coding. The answers are: (1) yes, and (2) maybe not (certainly an old copy of FrontPage will not get you very far with the functionality).

    In the old days, parts of pages were individually updated using <iframe>s. An <iframe> contains an entire web page and can be navigated independently from the rest of the page. However, due to security restrictions, it can be difficult to change frame #2 from frame #1.

    In the new millennium, parts of pages are individually updated using JavaScript and a technique generally known as AJAX. A script in the page retrieves the data and inserts it into a predefined location on the page (e.g., a <div> or <td>). Unless your users disable JavaScript (or, in IE6, JavaScript and ActiveX controls), this would be the best way to go.

    As for the layout of individual columns, you probably will be sending queries to the server to get the data for these pages. You will have to design the server-side script pages to deliver the right information. There is no reason that these pages cannot conduct two queries, if necessary to deliver two different sets of data.

  3. #3
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    [quote name='jscher2000' post='790522' date='24-Aug-2009 21:21']I think there really are two separate questions here: (1) is this possible, and (2) is this possible using the UI of my development tool without extensive hand coding. The answers are: (1) yes, and (2) maybe not (certainly an old copy of FrontPage will not get you very far with the functionality).

    In the old days, parts of pages were individually updated using <iframe>s. An <iframe> contains an entire web page and can be navigated independently from the rest of the page. However, due to security restrictions, it can be difficult to change frame #2 from frame #1.

    In the new millennium, parts of pages are individually updated using JavaScript and a technique generally known as AJAX. A script in the page retrieves the data and inserts it into a predefined location on the page (e.g., a <div> or <td>). Unless your users disable JavaScript (or, in IE6, JavaScript and ActiveX controls), this would be the best way to go.

    As for the layout of individual columns, you probably will be sending queries to the server to get the data for these pages. You will have to design the server-side script pages to deliver the right information. There is no reason that these pages cannot conduct two queries, if necessary to deliver two different sets of data.[/quote]

    Thanks Jefferson. I am still trying to get to grips with it.

    So in essence this do-able plus and I don't need 'frames'. Iframes is an old method of doing things.

    So, I can populate individual table cells/columns with queries to the server.
    Thanks.
    Robie

  4. #4
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    [quote name='robie' post='790576' date='25-Aug-2009 02:29']So, I can populate individual table cells/columns with queries to the server.[/quote]
    Yes. Generally speaking, you create pages on the server that accept requests (either GET requests with the variables tacked on the to URL or POST requests similar to HTML forms) and return data intended for your script to insert into the page. Then you connect your scripts to the links or form controls in your page and replace their normal behavior of loading a whole new page with code to fetch the desired data and insert it into the desired location. The reason you need to split your project between the code sent to the browser and the code stored in server-side script pages is that it is very unwise from a security perspective to connect client code directly to a database (i.e., disclosing exact location, username and password).

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