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~/Deleting items in a table with AJAX via JQuery

29 Nov 2009

This is a very straight-forward tutorial on implementing a jQuery-driven ‘delete via AJAX’ feature. Say we have a plain HTML table containing a list of items and a ‘Remove’ link. I’m not going to describe the back-end, but I’m assuming something groovy like CakePHP or ASP.NET MVC. I’ve also assumed that the delete request always succeeds and never returns an error, which may not be the case. The script itself is a more than required but is my preferred method as I can extend the elements in the UI fairly easily.

    <tr><td>Chickpeas</td>      <td><a href="/items/delete/1" class="delete">Delete</a>    </td></tr>
    <tr><td>Garlic</td>         <td><a href="/items/delete/2" class="delete">Delete</a></td></tr>
    <tr><td>Olive oil</td>      <td><a href="/items/delete/3" class="delete">Delete</a></td></tr>
    <tr><td>Tahini</td>         <td><a href="/items/delete/4" class="delete">Delete</a></td></tr>
    <tr><td>Cumin</td>          <td><a href="/items/delete/5" class="delete">Delete</a></td></tr>
    <tr><td>Lemon juice</td>    <td><a href="/items/delete/6" class="delete">Delete</a></td></tr>

The delete hrefs (/items/delete/XX) link to an action or page that deletes the specified item and returns a HTTP status of 200 (OK). If the action just redirected to the current page then this table should work as it stands, which is probably a good way to check that everthing works as expected without involving AJAX features. If you just want to set up the client side without implementing any server-side code, create the following in delete_test.php and use it for the delete links:

<?php header('HTTP/1.1 200 OK'); ?>

Make sure that jQuery 1.3+ has been included in the page and add the following:

<script type="text/javascript">
    var ui = {
        init: function(){
            $('a.delete').live('click', ui.delete_click);
        delete_click: function(){
            link = this;
            $.get(link.href, function(data, status) {
            return false;

Very basic stuff but it works. It could be jazzed up by fading out the items first or updating a status label. If there is a significant delay between calling the delete action and getting a response the user may not think anything has happened, so perhaps the delete link should change or be disabled.