[Pdx-pm] Making web pages that display "working on your request"

benh ben.hengst at gmail.com
Mon Jul 30 16:41:02 PDT 2007

I guess it really depends on the data your handing back to the user.
If your building a page on there request there was some interesting
discussions on the idea at oscon. If you can, the  "best" way to hand
back parts of the page so that it builds as the back end still loads
things up as the page is built.. this gives the user the impression
that something is being worked on and they have things to look at.

Though this will not work if you just are passing in data to get an
'ok' msg. for that I would think that you could have a div that has a
'loading...' animation and a div thats empty but will hold your
response. Fire off an ajax call back to the server to start the back
end process so that you have a handle for the reply.  This could then
hide the loading div and poplate the other container div (or overwrite
the loading div i guess, could be cleaner?)

hope that helps.

On 7/30/07, Kevin Scaldeferri <kevin at scaldeferri.com> wrote:
> So, I'm not really an HTML guy, but I find myself needing to produce
> a moderately fancy web UI for the project I'm working on.
> Basically, I have this server that aggregates a lot of information
> from various sites to display to the user.  Unfortunately, a request
> can take 60 seconds or more to query all the data sources and get
> back the required information.  The complaint from users is that they
> can't really tell that the server is actually doing anything when
> they just stare at a blank page "forever", and sometimes they just
> give up, convinced it is broken.  (The page-loading spinner in the
> browser chrome is not considered sufficiently convincing.)
> So, at a minimum I want to display a message like "Working on your
> request <spinner>" while we are gathering the data, then make that
> message disappear when the rest of the data comes in.  Ideally, I'd
> provide a much more detailed, ongoing update of what the server is
> doing as it works on the request.  I guess that means some sort of
> DHTML / AJAX thing, which is exactly the sort of thing I have 0
> experience with.
> Do people have recommendations on where to go to learn how to produce
> effects like this?  Of course, I'd like that perfect combination of
> practical and theoretical exposition which will provide excellent
> working examples of similar effects, plus enough understanding to
> modify them effectively.  But, I'm willing to go to a couple
> different sources to piece it all together.
> Thanks,
> -kevin
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