New interface idea

I needed a selection method rather like a selection list or pop-up, but the number of items to select from is around 250. This is for adding entries to a database and so selection needs to be fast - I can’t be hunting around and waiting for a long list to scroll. The purpose is for filling in a timetable (actually a Methodist Preaching Plan). The selected entries are to be loaded into a timetable table on the main page and also to be added to the database.

This is for a page that is ‘framed’ in a Freeway page, but the works are done with PHP. Most of the site is Freeway. The public will never see this interface, they’ll only see the results from the database in static form.

I have solved the problem by making a floating

in Freeway. That is populated with the selections I wish to choose from, and the entire
is made invisible at load time. Each selection item is a list entry with an ID. Each cell in the timetable table contains a space holder marker that also has an ID. Clicking on the marker triggers a JavaScript event that makes the selection pane visible. Clicking on a selection in the selection pane triggers another JavaScript event that plugs the value back into the timetable cell, uses Ajax to update the database, and makes the pane invisible again.

This is working quite well, but needs some security checks.

My first reason for mentioning it here is so that the concept is published and I can put it in the public domain.

My second reason is that it’s the background for a question. In some cases I will want to have multiple selections. My first thought on that is to use a modifier key during clicks other than the last to build a list. Is there a universal (all main browsers) way to detect a modifier key? My JavaScript manual (David Flanagan -Definitive Guide 3rd edition - O’Reilly) says it is IE4 only. The method outlined at docs.sun.com don’t seem to work with Safari.

Ideas please?

David


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If you’re using Ajax to mark the selections, do you need to have a
multiple selection? Can it not be a one-at-a-time selection, but as
many as you want to select?

Walter

On Jan 23, 2009, at 1:09 PM, David Ledger wrote:

My second reason is that it’s the background for a question. In some
cases I will want to have multiple selections. My first thought on
that is to use a modifier key during clicks other than the last to
build a list. Is there a universal (all main browsers) way to detect
a modifier key? My JavaScript manual (David Flanagan -Definitive
Guide 3rd edition - O’Reilly) says it is IE4 only. The method
outlined at docs.sun.com don’t seem to work with Safari.


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At 13:13 -0500 23/1/09, Walter Lee Davis wrote:

If you’re using Ajax to mark the selections, do you need to have a
multiple selection? Can it not be a one-at-a-time selection, but as
many as you want to select?

Walter

On Jan 23, 2009, at 1:09 PM, David Ledger wrote:

My second reason is that it’s the background for a question. In
some cases I will want to have multiple selections. My first
thought on that is to use a modifier key during clicks other than
the last to build a list. Is there a universal (all main browsers)
way to detect a modifier key? My JavaScript manual (David Flanagan
-Definitive Guide 3rd edition - O’Reilly) says it is IE4 only. The
method outlined at docs.sun.com don’t seem to work with Safari.

Thanks for the interest.

When the value selected on the pane is plugged into the main table,
it is still tagged with an ID so that clicking on the new value
allows it to be changed. The place-holder marker is just a pre-set
known string ( [-----] ), and any value works just the same as the
marker. I could change it so that extra values are appended, but I
would lose the ability to make corrections.

David


David Ledger - Freelance Unix Sysadmin in the UK.
HP-UX specialist of hpUG technical user group (www.hpug.org.uk)
email@hidden
www.ivdcs.co.uk


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On 23 Jan 2009, 10:05 pm, David Ledger wrote:

When the value selected on the pane is plugged into the main table,
it is still tagged with an ID so that clicking on the new value
allows it to be changed. The place-holder marker is just a pre-set
known string ( [-----] ), and any value works just the same as the
marker. I could change it so that extra values are appended, but I
would lose the ability to make corrections.

I’m not sure I understand. What do you imagine would happen if you had the ability to do this multiple selection? What would be entered into the main table, and how would it be editable afterward.

Also, what happens when you choose one of the elements from your floating “palette”? Does it disappear from that palette so it cannot be chosen again? Or does it remain for multiple instances?

Walter


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At 18:29 -0500 24/1/09, waltd wrote:

On 23 Jan 2009, 10:05 pm, David Ledger wrote:
When the value selected on the pane is plugged into the main table,
it is still tagged with an ID so that clicking on the new value
allows it to be changed. The place-holder marker is just a pre-set
known string ( [-----] ), and any value works just the same as the
marker. I could change it so that extra values are appended, but I
would lose the ability to make corrections.

I’m not sure I understand. What do you imagine would happen if you
had the ability to do this multiple selection? What would be entered
into the main table, and how would it be editable afterward.

Also, what happens when you choose one of the elements from your
floating “palette”? Does it disappear from that palette so it cannot
be chosen again? Or does it remain for multiple instances?

I was envisaging that shift clicking would add the value and not
close the palette; a plain click would add the value and close the
palette. So to enter a single value you would just click; to enter
multiple values you would shift click all but the last. It’s
backwards to the way command clicking usually works, but I can’t
think how to do it that’s any better. I can put a text field on the
palette that shows what’s chosen so far, even add a clear button and
a ‘use these’ button, but I want to use the smallest number of clicks
that I can.

I wasn’t going to remove used entries from the palette as everything
would move about causing visual confusion. I could grey out used
entries. Thanks for the idea.

David


David Ledger - Freelance Unix Sysadmin in the UK.
HP-UX specialist of hpUG technical user group (www.hpug.org.uk)
email@hidden
www.ivdcs.co.uk


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