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better-ajaxify
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A simple PJAX engine for websites

The library helps to solve the performance problem for HTML pages and also improves user experience. There is a term called "Full AJAX website" that defines a web site that instead of regular links or forms uses AJAX requests. After including an extra library on your page and simple adaptation on backend each navigation change triggers a partial reload instead of full refetching and rerendering of the whole page. That experience is always faster and nicer: user doesn't see white flashes, moreover you can show cool animations instead.

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Index

Installing

Library distributed via NPM:

$ npm install better-ajaxify --save-dev

This will clone the latest version of the better-ajaxify into the node_modules directory at the root of your project.

Then append the following html elements on your page:

<script src="node_modules/better-ajaxify/dist/better-ajaxify.js"></script>

Links

HTML element <a> allows to navigate to a url. Library modifies this behavior to prevent a white flash. Request to server is made using Fetch API, and response body replaces the current document without a full page reload.

In some cases regular <a> behavior preserved:

  • when href attribute value has only a hash;
  • when <a> has non-empty target attribute;
  • when <a> has non-http(s) url as the href attribute value (tel:, mailto: etc.).

To disable library for a particular <a> element you could also call method Event#preventDefault in the click event listener:

myLink.addEventListener("click", function(e) {
  // call preventDefault to stop ajaxify from invoking a fetch request
  e.preventDefault();
}, false);

Forms

HTML element <form> serializes user input data and to sumbits it to new server url specified in the action attribute. Then browser triggers full page reload with the new url. Library modifies this behavior to prevent a white flash. Request to server is made using Fetch API, and response body replaces the current document without a full page reload.

In some cases regular <form> behavior is not modified:

  • when a <form> has non-empty target attribute;
  • when a <form> has non-http(s) url as the action attribute value (tel:, mailto: etc.).

To disable library for a particular <form> element you could also call method Event#preventDefault in the submit event listener:

myForm.addEventListener("submit", function(e) {
  // call preventDefault to stop ajaxify from invoking a fetch request
  e.preventDefault();
}, false);

Custom events

The library introduces set of new custom events.

Event name Type of Event#detail Description
ajaxify:serialize FormData Trigerred only for forms and contains user input data
ajaxify:fetch Request Trigerred when a navigation AJAX request starts
ajaxify:load Response Trigerred when a navigation AJAX request ends
ajaxify:error Error Trigerred when an error happened during a navigation AJAX request
ajaxify:render Document Triggered when the current page is ready to update visual state

ajaxify:fetch

Custom event ajaxify:fetch used to modify AJAX request construction under some obstacles. For instance code below uses sessionStorage as a cache source with responses from server so no network used for repeated requests:

document.addEventListener("ajaxify:fetch", function(e) {
    const req = e.detail;
    // cache only GET responses
    if (req.method !== "GET") return;

    const html = sessionStorage[req.url];
    if (html) {
        e.preventDefault();
        // construct new Response object with cached response content
        const res = new Response(html);
        Object.defineProperty(res, "url", {get: () => req.url});
        
        const event = document.createEvent("CustomEvent");
        event.initCustomEvent("ajaxify:load", true, true, res);
        // fire ajaxify:load to continue flow of changing the current page state
        document.dispatchEvent(event);
    }
}, true);

ajaxify:load

Custom event ajaxify:load used to modify how to process server responses. For instance code below stores a new key-value pair in sessionStorage to cache server responses on client side:

document.addEventListener("ajaxify:load", function(e) {
    const res = e.detail;
    // cache only GET responses
    if (req.method !== "GET") return;
    
    if (res.ok && !res.bodyUsed) {
        res.clone().text().then(html => {
            sessionStorage[res.url] = html;
        });
    }
}, true);
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