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PHP Example - AJAX and XML


AJAX can be used for interactive communication with an XML file.


AJAX XML Example

The following example will demonstrate how a web page can fetch information from an XML file with AJAX:

Example


CD info will be listed here...

Example Explained - The HTML Page

When a user selects a CD in the dropdown list above, a function called "showCD()" is executed. The function is triggered by the "onchange" event:

<html>
<head>
<script>
function showCD(str) {
  if (str=="") {
    document.getElementById("txtHint").innerHTML="";
    return;
  }
  if (window.XMLHttpRequest) {
    // code for IE7+, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari
    xmlhttp=new XMLHttpRequest();
  } else {  // code for IE6, IE5
    xmlhttp=new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");
  }
  xmlhttp.onreadystatechange=function() {
    if (this.readyState==4 && this.status==200) {
      document.getElementById("txtHint").innerHTML=this.responseText;
    }
  }
  xmlhttp.open("GET","getcd.php?q="+str,true);
  xmlhttp.send();
}
</script>
</head>
<body>

<form>
Select a CD:
<select name="cds" onchange="showCD(this.value)">
<option value="">Select a CD:</option>
<option value="Bob Dylan">Bob Dylan</option>
<option value="Bee Gees">Bee Gees</option>
<option value="Cat Stevens">Cat Stevens</option>
</select>
</form>
<div id="txtHint"><b>CD info will be listed here...</b></div>

</body>
</html>

The showCD() function does the following:

  • Check if a CD is selected
  • Create an XMLHttpRequest object
  • Create the function to be executed when the server response is ready
  • Send the request off to a file on the server
  • Notice that a parameter (q) is added to the URL (with the content of the dropdown list)


The PHP File

The page on the server called by the JavaScript above is a PHP file called "getcd.php".

The PHP script loads an XML document, "cd_catalog.xml", runs a query against the XML file, and returns the result as HTML:

<?php
$q=$_GET["q"];

$xmlDoc = new DOMDocument();
$xmlDoc->load("cd_catalog.xml");

$x=$xmlDoc->getElementsByTagName('ARTIST');

for ($i=0; $i<=$x->length-1; $i++) {
  //Process only element nodes
  if ($x->item($i)->nodeType==1) {
    if ($x->item($i)->childNodes->item(0)->nodeValue == $q) {
      $y=($x->item($i)->parentNode);
    }
  }
}

$cd=($y->childNodes);

for ($i=0;$i<$cd->length;$i++) {
  //Process only element nodes
  if ($cd->item($i)->nodeType==1) {
    echo("<b>" . $cd->item($i)->nodeName . ":</b> ");
    echo($cd->item($i)->childNodes->item(0)->nodeValue);
    echo("<br>");
  }
}
?>

When the CD query is sent from the JavaScript to the PHP page, the following happens:

  1. PHP creates an XML DOM object
  2. Find all <artist> elements that matches the name sent from the JavaScript
  3. Output the album information (send to the "txtHint" placeholder)