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How to build a simple dashboard with AJAX functionality using a Process module

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After this tutorial you'll have learned how to:

  • Build a Process module
  • Make an AJAX request to backend
  • Serve JSON as response

Let's say you want to display the latest orders in a dashboard that you can access from admin panel. And you want it to refresh its content with a button click. Most straightforward and proper way (that I know of) is to create a Process module, as they're built for this purpose.

First, create a directory under /site/modules/, call it ProcessDashboard, and create a file named ProcessDashboard.module under that directory. Following is about the least amount of code you need to create a Process module.

<?php namespace ProcessWire;


class ProcessDashboard extends Process
{
    public static function getModuleInfo() {
        return [
            'title' => 'Orders Dashboard',
            'summary' => 'Shows latest orders',
            'version' => '0.0.1',
            'author' => 'abdus',
            'autoload' => true,
            
            // to automatically create process page
            'page' => [
                'name' => 'order-dashboard',
                'title' => 'Orders',
                'template' => 'admin'
            ]
        ];
    }

    public function ___execute()
    {
        return 'hello';
    }
}

Once you refresh module cache from Modules > Refresh, you'll see your module. Install it.

chrome_2017-04-29_17-03-07.thumb.png.cf2bad54019bcc4eb354168dc5df14fb.png

It will create an admin page under admin (/processwire/) and will show up as a new item in top menu, and when you click on it, it will show the markup we've built in execute() function.

chrome_2017-04-29_17-12-11.thumb.png.72112716449f08dfc872dee86a5e030a.png

 

All right, now let's make it do something useful. Let's add create a data list to display latest orders. We'll change execute() function to render a data table.

public function ___execute()
{
    /* @var $table MarkupAdminDataTable  */
    $table = $this->modules->MarkupAdminDataTable;
    $table->setID($this->className . 'Table'); // "#ProcessDashboardTable"
    $table->headerRow([
        'Product',
        'Date',
        'Total'
    ]);


    // fill the table
    foreach ($this->getLatest(10) as $order) {
        $table->row([
            $order['title'],
            $order['date'],
            $order['total']
        ]);
    }


    // to refresh items
    $refreshButton = $this->modules->InputfieldSubmit;
    $refreshButton->name = 'refresh';
    $refreshButton->id = $this->className . 'Refresh'; // "#ProcessDashboardRefresh"
    $refreshButton->value = 'Refresh'; // label of the button
    
    return $table->render() . $refreshButton->render();
}

where getLatest() function finds and returns the latest orders (with only title, date and total fields)

protected function getLatest($limit = 5, $start = 0) {
    // find last $limit orders, starting from $start
    $orders = $this->pages->find("template=order, sort=-created, limit=$limit, start=$start");

    // Only return what's necessary
    return $orders->explode(function ($order) {
        return [
            'title' => $order->title,
            'date' => date('Y-m-d h:i:s', $order->created),
            'total' => $order->total
        ];
    });
}

When you refresh the page, you should see a table like this

chrome_2017-04-29_18-32-47.thumb.png.7c915544b190bb099d3086e0a66f3e76.png
Now we'll make that Refresh button work. When the button is clicked, it will make an AJAX request to ./latest endpoint, which will return a JSON of latest orders. We need some JS to make AJAX request and render new values. Create a JS file ./assets/dashboard.js inside the module directory.

window.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', function () {

    let refresh = document.querySelector('#ProcessDashboardRefresh');
    let table = document.querySelector('#ProcessDashboardTable');

    refresh.addEventListener('click', function (e) {
        // https://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Web/API/Event/preventDefault
        e.preventDefault();
      
        // Send a GET request to ./latest
        // http://api.jquery.com/jquery.getjson/
        $.getJSON('./latest', {
            limit: 10
        }, function (data) {
            // check if data is how we want it
            // if (data.length) {}  etc

            // it's good to go, update the table
            updateTable(data);
        });
    });

    function renderRow(row) {
        return `<tr>
                    <td>${row.title}</td>
                    <td>${row.date}</td>
                    <td>${row.total}</td>
                </tr>`;
    }

    function updateTable(rows) {
        table.tBodies[0].innerHTML = rows.map(renderRow).join('');
    }
});

And we'll add this to list of JS that runs on backend inside init() function

public function init()
{
    $scriptUrl = $this->urls->$this . 'assets/dashboard.js';
    $this->config->scripts->add($scriptUrl);
}

Requests to ./latest will be handled by ___executeLatest() function inside the module, just creating the function is enough, PW will do the routing. Here you should notice how we're getting query parameters that are sent with the request.

// handles ./latest endpoint
public function ___executeLatest() {
    // get limit from request, if not provided, default to 10
    $limit = $this->sanitizer->int($this->input->get->limit) ?? 10;
    return json_encode($this->getRandom($limit));
}

Here getRandom() returns random orders to make it look like there's new orders coming in. 

protected function getRandom($limit = 5)
{
    $orders = $this->pages->find("template=order, sort=random, limit=$limit");
    return $orders->explode(function ($order) {
        return [
            'title' => $order->title,
            'date' => date('Y-m-d h:i:s', $order->created),
            'total' => $order->total
        ];
    });
}

And we're done. When refresh button is clicked, the table is refreshed with new data.

Here it is in action: 
2017-04-29_19-01-40.mp4 (227KB MP4, 0m4sec)

Here's the source code:
https://gist.github.com/abdusco/2bb649cd2fc181734a132b0e660f64a2

 

[Enhancement] Converting page titles to edit links

If we checkout the source of MarkupAdminDataTable module, we can see we actually have several options on how columns are built.

/**
 * Add a row to the table
 *
 * @param array $a Array of columns that will each be a `<td>`, where each element may be one of the following:
 *   - `string`: converts to `<td>string</td>`
 *   - `array('label' => 'url')`: converts to `<td><a href='url'>label</a></td>`
 *   - `array('label', 'class')`: converts to `<td class='class'>label</td>`
 * @param array $options Optionally specify any one of the following:
 *   - separator (bool): specify true to show a stronger visual separator above the column
 *   - class (string): specify one or more class names to apply to the `<tr>`
 *   - attrs (array): array of attr => value for attributes to add to the `<tr>`
 * @return $this
 *
 */
public function row(array $a, array $options = array()) {}

This means, we can convert a column to link or add CSS classes to it.

// (ProcessDashboard.module, inside ___execute() method)

// fill the table
foreach ($this->getLatest(10) as $order) {
    $table->row([
        $order['title'] => $order['editUrl'], // associative -> becomes link
        $order['date'], // simple -> becomes text
        [$order['total'], 'some-class'] // array -> class is added
    ]);
}

Now, we need to get page edit urls. By changing getLatest() and getRandom() methods to return edit links in addition to previous fields

protected function getLatest($limit = 5, $start = 0)
{
    // find last $limit orders, starting from $offset
    $orders = $this->pages->find("template=order, sort=-created, limit=$limit, start=$start");
    return $orders->explode(function ($order) {
        return [
            'title' => $order->title,
            'date' => date('Y-m-d h:i:s', $order->created),
            'total' => $order->total,
            'editUrl' => $order->editUrl
        ];
    });
}

protected function getRandom($limit = 5)
{
    $orders = $this->pages->find("template=order, sort=random, limit=$limit");
    return $orders->explode(function ($order) {
        return [
            'title' => $order->title,
            'date' => date('Y-m-d h:i:s', $order->created),
            'total' => $order->total,
            'editUrl' => $order->editUrl
        ];
    });
}

and tweaking JS file to render first column as links

function renderRow(row) {
    return `<tr>
                <td><a href="${row.editUrl}">${row.title}</a></td>
                <td>${row.date}</td>
                <td>${row.total}</td>
            </tr>`;
}

we get a much more practical dashboard.

2017-04-30_15-34-09.thumb.gif.e050cb9396156b792244e8dfa7f9a704.gif

 

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Thanks @abdus for this useful tutorial! If you could also add how to turn the values of the first column into links, then it would be a 100% perfect example.

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1 hour ago, szabesz said:

Thanks @abdus for this useful tutorial! If you could also add how to turn the values of the first column into links, then it would be a 100% perfect example.

Thanks for the suggestion, I've added it to the original post.

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hi abdus,

thanks for your effort on helping others :) maybe i can suggest you to take a tool that lots of people are using here for creating micro-screencasts as animated gifs: http://www.cockos.com/licecap/

licecap_rules.gif

very easy, very helpful :)

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I've been using ShareX for the screencasts, but it can't handle high DPI screens very well (might be ffmpeg's fault, though), and cursor is offset a bit.
Just tried LICEcap, it seems to work on high DPI screen just fine. I'll use this one from now on.

Thank you very much for the suggestion @bernhard!

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