Randy Schmidt on 26 Jun 2008 09:55:47 -0700

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[PhillyOnRails] jQuery Talk Follow-up

  • From: "Randy Schmidt" <randy.schmidt@gmail.com>
  • To: "Philly on Rails ML" <talk@phillyonrails.org>
  • Subject: [PhillyOnRails] jQuery Talk Follow-up
  • Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2008 12:55:32 -0400
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Hi Everybody,

I just wanted to follow with a solution to one of the problems with
using jQuery unobtrusively with rails, and that was RJS. RJS lets you
update multiple items on a page by sending javascript back to the
browser which gets evaluated. RJS only works with Prototype (there may
be plugins that fix this) so you are kind of SOL with other
frameworks. A way around this in Rails >= 2.0 is to use .js.erb
templates which let you write javascript and spit out data from your
app or render partials. You still want to keep most of your js in
externally linked files so what I do is create functions that hide
away the implementation of what I want to do.

contents of index.js.erb:

updateFolloweesStatus(<%= partial 'users/status', :collection =>
current_user.followees %>)
updateCurrentUserDisplayStatus(<%= partial 'users/status', :object =>
current_user %>)
updateCurrentUserInputStatus('<%= current_user.status %>')

The JS:

function updateFolloweesStatus(txt) {

function updateCurrentUserDisplayStatus(txt) {

function updateCurrentUserInputStatus(txt) {
	// if the field isn't focused, update it (ie, don't clobber something
that will be changed soon)
	if ($('#user_status.focused').size() == 0) {


  # from Dan Webb's MinusMOR plugin
  # enhanced with ability to detect partials with template format,
i.e.: _post.html.erb
  def partial(name, options={})
    old_format = self.template_format
    self.template_format = :html
    js render({ :partial => name }.merge(options))
    self.template_format = old_format

  def js(data)
    if data.respond_to? :to_json

Hopefully this is helpful and closes the loop on the whole "update
more than one element on the page" issue. Let me know if you have any

umlatte llc
Randy Schmidt
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