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README.markdown

REST in Place

                                _______
                               /       \
                               | R.I.P.|
                               |       |
                               |       |
                             -------------

REST in Place is an AJAX Inplace-Editor that talks to RESTful controllers. It requires absolutely no additional server-side code if your controller fulfills the following REST preconditions:

  • It uses the HTTP PUT method to update a record
  • It delivers an object in JSON form for requests with "Accept: application/javascript" headers

The editor works by PUTting the updated value to the server and GETting the updated record afterwards to display the updated value. That way any authentication methods or otherwise funky workflows in your controllers are used for the inplace-editors requests.

URL: http://github.com/janv/rest_in_place/
REPOSITORY: git://github.com/janv/rest_in_place.git
BLOG: http://jan.varwig.org/projects/rest-in-place

Instructions

First, install REST in Place with

script/plugin install git://github.com/janv/rest_in_place.git

To use it, include either rest_in_place.js, jquery.rest_in_place.js or mootools.rest_in_place.js in your template (after loading your JavaScript framework ). rest_in_place.js is the version for the Prototype framework, jquery.rest_in_place.js uses the jQuery framework and mootools.rest_in_place.js uses mootools.

For REST in Place to work with Rails request forgery protection, place the following lines into your applications layout:

<script type="text/javascript">
  rails_authenticity_token = '<%= form_authenticity_token %>'
</script>

To make a piece of Text inplace-editable, wrap it into an element (a span usually) with class "rest_in_place". The editor needs 3 pieces of information to work: a URL, an object name and the attribute name. These are provided as follows:

  • put attributes into the element, like this:

    <span class="rest_in_place" url="/users/1" object="user" attribute="name">
      <%= @user.name %>
    </span>
    
  • if any of these attributes is missing, DOM parents of the element are searched for them. That means you can write something like:

    <div object="user" url="/users/1">
      Name:  <span class="rest_in_place" attribute="name" ><%= @user.name %></span><br/>
      eMail: <span class="rest_in_place" attribute="email"><%= @user.email %></span>
    </div>
    
  • You can completely omit the url, to use the current document's url. With proper RESTful controllers this should always work, the explicit url-attribute is for cases when you want to edit a resource that is displayed as part of a non-RESTful webpage.

  • Rails provides the dom_id helper that constructs a dom id out of an ActiveRecord for you. So, your HTML page may look like this:

    <div id="<%= dom_id @user # == "user_1" %>">
      Name:  <span class="rest_in_place" attribute="name" ><%= @user.name %></span><br/>
      eMail: <span class="rest_in_place" attribute="email"><%= @user.email %></span>
    </div>
    

    REST in Place recognizes dom_ids of this form and derives the object parameter from them, so that (with the current documents url used) you really only need to provide the attributes name in most cases.

    !! --------
    !! Note that a manually defined (in the element or in one of the parents)
    !! object always overrides dom_id recognition.
    !! --------

Example

Your routes.rb:

map.resources :users

Your app/controllers/users_controller.rb:

class UsersController < ApplicationController
  def show
    @user = User.find params[:id]
    respond_to do |type|
      type.html
      type.js {render :json => @user}
    end
  end

  def update
    @user = User.find params[:id]
    @user.update_attributes!(params[:user])
    redirect_to @user, :status => :see_other
  end
end

Your app/views/users/show.html.erb:

<html>
<head>
    <%= javascript_include_tag "jquery-1.2.6.min" , "jquery.rest_in_place" %>
    <script type="text/javascript">
      rails_authenticity_token = '<%= form_authenticity_token %>'
    </script>
</head>
<body>
    <div id="<%= dom_id @user %>">
      ID: <%= @user.id %><br />
      Name: <span class="rest_in_place" attribute="name"><%= @user.name %></span>
    </div>
</body> 
</html>

You can run this example by switching to the testapp included in this plugin, running script/server (sqlite3 required) and going to localhost:3000/users/1

Hint:
you need to set up the database first. Copy and edit testapp/config/database.yml.sample accordingly. If you don't want to use the included sqlite3 database, run rake db:create, rake db:schema:load and rake rest_in_place:create_sample to create a test dataset.

Non-Rails

REST in Place was written for Ruby on Rails but is usable with any kind of RESTful web api. Just include the rest_in_place.js in your webpage and follow the instructions.

Participation

I'd love to get comments, bug reports (or better, patches) about REST in Place. I haven't set up a trac yet, so please use the project page at my blog to contact me about REST in Place: http://jan.varwig.org/projects/rest-in-place

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Kevin Valdek for the mootools version (commit 086b409d38932426540f402bb642c66165c78976) and improvements to the testapp (commit 8eb121271345943588fe2a8467c790e7e37f3d7a).

Thanks to nando for commit 17ca4e3060a1420bf13d9b9d89ceeba2bcc144d2

Copyright (c) 2009 [Jan Varwig], released under the MIT license

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