jQuery 1.3 With PHP: chp8, drag/drop

For chapter 8 of jQuery 1.3 with PHP, I wrote about drag and drop. jQuery has a few different ways to do drag and drop. The most fundamental way is to use the Draggable and Droppable interfaces, but as it happens, most of the things you might want to do with a CMS can be done just with the Sortable interface.

The examples I wrote for this chapter are:

  • Sorting a list and saving the result. demo, download
  • Sorting a tree-based list (navigation menu, for example) and saving the result. demo, download
  • Dragging items from a list of contacts into a list of people to send emails to. demo, download

The second one worried me for a while, as it kept behaving erratically on me – I would sometimes drag an item and it would simply vanish. It turns out that it’s a bug in jQuery UI’s Sortable that should be fixed by the time the book is out, so it will work better then. I’m not worried about its behaviour right now as I’m certain this will be fixed.

I only used Sortable in this chapter, as I was trying to think of a case where Sortable couldn’t be used, and the only cases I thought of were a bit too advanced for the book – the book’s supposed to be for PHP developers that are not absolutely rock solid in JavaScript and those examples might be a bit daunting. Maybe if there’s a second edition I might expand on it with more advanced examples.

An advanced example might including dragging a shopping item into a basket. You could not use Sortable with that because usually, what you are dragging is a full description of something, and when you drop it into the basket, you want it to change to a compact description. Coding is involved there, and that’s when it gets bogged down. Writing about that sort of complex case would mean diving into JavaScript and away from the core subject of the book, which is the interaction of PHP and jQuery.

update: I fixed Sortable. Here’s an example of nested sortables using the corrected code: demo.

  1. Kae, this is great stuff, I really can’t wait for the book. Have you started redeveloping kfm yet? I found a post about how to use it with Expression Engine, I have to test that!

  2. haven’t started the redevelopment yet. my plan is to finish the book, and then hopefully promote a new book to Packt titled “File Management with PHP and jQuery” which will be used to help rewrite KFM and explain how it works.

    Even if they don’t go for it, I’ll write it anyway – I like how Padraic wrote a book on Zend and published each chapter on his site as he wrote it, so I may try that as well.

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