:::: MENU ::::

Railsy goodness — ToggleFormText and will_paginate

So, as some of you may know, I do a little Ruby on Rails coding on the side. The geek in me really is quite dominant, so I spend a lot of time in terminal with Vim pumping away at code.

Recently, in a project I’m working on with Ainsley, I’ve made use of Mislav’s will_paginate gem.  We had the folks over at Hustlewood design some truly awesome graphics, and then had the nice fellows at PSD2HTML cut up some HTML/CSS for us.

Well, needless to say, I then had to take that HTML/CSS and stitch it back into the RoR application that I was working on.  One of the issues I encountered was that Mislav’s plugin and the CSS that was provided were not playing nice together.

It took me a minute to figure out how to extend his gem, and I’m still not sure that I did it right.  I originally tried to extend the gem by putting some stuff into the lib area, but found that that didn’t work.  After poking around a bit, I found that re-defining the classes for will_paginate in environment.rb seemed to do the trick.  Here’s some of my modifications:

class WillPaginate::LinkRenderer
  def initialize
    @gap_marker = "<li>...</li>"
  # Process it! This method returns the complete HTML string which contains
  # pagination links. Feel free to subclass LinkRenderer and change this
  # method as you see fit.
  def to_html
    links = @options[:page_links] ? windowed_links : []
    # previous/next buttons
    links.unshift page_link_or_span(@collection.previous_page, 'disabled prev_page', @options[:previous_label])
    links.push page_link_or_span(@collection.next_page, 'disabled next_page', @options[:next_label])
    html = "<ul>" + links.join(@options[:separator]) + "</ul>"
    @options[:container] ? @template.content_tag(:div, html, html_attributes) : html
  def page_link(page, text, attributes = {})
    "<li>" + @template.link_to(text, url_for(page), attributes) + "</li>"
  def page_span(page, text, attributes = {})
    "<li>" + @template.content_tag(:span, text, attributes) + "</li>"

As you can see, I had to do a number of things.  Firstly, I had to re-define the gap_marker to be a list element.  By default, the gap marker is enclosed in a <span>, and that just wouldn’t work for me.  Secondly, I also had to re-define the page_link and page_span methods.  These methods are used as part of the output generation, but were simply generating <a> links. I had to make will_paginate output everything encapsulated in <li> elements, and I also had to force what would normally be spit out as a <span> to also be spit out as a <li> element.

I still need to do some tweaking here with the previous/next, but I think I may simply just modify the CSS at this point (it may be easier).

EDIT: This does *NOT* work in Internet Explorer. Please check here for more information! EDIT

I had a few fields in a form that I also wanted to play with. I know you’ve all seen those nice forms where you click into a text field that has some default values, and the values magically disappear. If you click away, and haven’t typed anything, the defaults magically re-appear. I originally found a few jQuery scripts that seemed to do the trick for one field, but I had two that needed modification, and I also wanted to not send the default values along with the form submission. Enter ToggleFormText, a jQuery plugin. This does exactly what I described.

It uses the “title” attribute of the <input> tag instead of the <value>. Through the magic of jQuery, any <input> with a definition for “title” has its value updated. Clicking in a field (giving it focus) causes the value to be erased. Clicking the submit button causes any fields with their value still equal to the title to be blanked out again. It’s quite delicious.

I really only had to do a couple of simple things:

In my application.rhtml layout:

javascript_include_tag "jquery-1.2.6.min", "jquery.toggleformat"

In my view, I simply modified my text field output:

text_field_tag "searchName", params[:searchName], :title => "NAME", :maxlength => 50
text_field_tag :zip, params[:zip], :title => "ZIP", :maxlength => 5

That was it! The wonderful plugin took care of the rest.

jQuery allows you to do some really powerful stuff with Javascript, so you should certainly check it out if you’re doing any kind of modern-era web design.

That’s all I’ve got for today. A departure from my normal tech bloggery, but at least it’s something interesting to someone out there.