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22.4 Recordset Navigation

Dreamweaver's repeating region tool lets you display multiple database records on a single Web page. But a recordset with large amounts of data條ike 1,000 employee records梬ill quickly choke a Web page. A large amount of information takes a long time to download and forces visitors to scroll for many screens to see all of it.

Fortunately, the tool also lets you limit the number of records displayed at one time. Of course, that presents its own set of problems: How do visitors see additional records, and how do you let them know where they are among all the records in the recordset?

A Little Less Repetition

I applied the Repeat Region object, and when I preview the page, the same record is repeated over and over. That's not what I wanted to do! What's going on?

This can happen when you apply a Repeat Region object and inadvertently select the wrong recordset from the Repeat Region window (see Figure 22-12)梐 mistake that's easy to make if you've included more than one recordset on a page.

The Repeat Region object adds programming code that steps through each record of a recordset. So, in practice, the Repeat Region object should get the information from the first record in a recordset and write it to the Web page, then go to the second record and add its info to the page. This process should continue until it's either gone through all the records in the recordset or reached the limit specified in the Records at a Time box.

However, if the information you want repeated is retrieved by a different recordset than the one selected in the Repeat Region window, this system breaks down. Instead, the code continues to cycle through each record from the selected recordset, but doesn't cycle through each record from the recordset containing the dynamic information you want repeated. The result: You get the same information over and over again. The first record of the recordset (the one you want repeated) is repeated for each record in the other recordset (the one you don't want repeated).

In other words, to ensure that Repeat Region works, select the recordset whose data is contained in the area you want repeated.

To solve this dilemma, Dreamweaver comes with two handy commands for adding navigation to a recordset梐nd providing useful feedback about the recordset.

22.4.1 Recordset Navigation Bar

Suppose a page contains a recordset that retrieves 100 records from a database, but the repeating region on the page limits the display to ten records at a time. In this case, you should insert a Recordset Navigation Bar to add either text links or graphic buttons to a page. These navigation bars let your audience view the next ten records in the recordset, jump to the last records in the recordset (see Figure 22-13), jump back to the first record, or move to previous records in the recordset.

Dreamweaver's Recordset Navigation Bar object prevents information overload by letting users step through easily digested pages of information. The Navigation Status message also keeps visitors informed of how many records are available.

To add a Recordset Navigation bar, follow these steps:

  1. Click in the document window at the location you want to insert the navigation bar. In the Application tab of the Insert bar, click the Recordset Paging button and select Recordset Navigation Bar from the menu (see Figure 22-14).

    Repeating Regions Left to Right and Top to Bottom

    When you use the repeating region on a table row, you end up stacking each record on top of the next. While this successfully displays your records, it lacks pizzazz. Wouldn't it be great if you could list, say, a couple of records per row?

    For example, say you've got a database of books. You could display titles and covers for three books from left to right across the page, and then add another row of three books below that one, and so on.

    Dreamweaver MX 2004 can't do this out of the box, but you can turn to the creative army of programmers who write extensions. For the ASP and JSP server models, download Horizontal Looper from . For PHP, there's a commercial product called MX Looper Suite at .

    You can also choose InsertApplication ObjectsRecordset PagingRecordset Navigation Bar. In either case, the Recordset Navigation Bar window appears.

  2. From the Recordset menu, select the recordset to navigate.

    If the page contains more than one recordset, select the one that you used when creating the dynamic table or adding the repeating region.

  3. Select whether to use text or graphic buttons for the navigation bar.

    If you select Text, Dreamweaver will propose the words First, Previous, Next, and Last to indicate the navigation controls. (You can edit them later.) The graphic buttons represent standard VCR controls, representing forward and backward. If you select this option, Dreamweaver copies the four .gif files into the folder containing the dynamic Web page. Later, you can replace these graphics with ones you created.

The Recordset Paging button lets you insert a navigation bar for navigating the records returned in a recordset. In addition, if you want to build your own recordset navigation system, you can individually apply server behaviors like Move to First Record and Move to Next Record. These server behaviors are discussed in Section 24.3.

Behaviors That Serve You Well

What's the difference between Dreamweaver Behaviors (Chapter 12) and a server behavior?

Both are prewritten programs created by Dreamweaver's engineers. They differ mainly in where the programs run and what they attempt to accomplish.

A Dreamweaver Behavior is a JavaScript program that runs in a Web browser. It usually affects the interaction between a visitor and a Web page. For instance, the Swap Image behavior makes the Web browser exchange one image for another when a visitor mouses over a link. The behavior itself runs in the visitor's Web browser, and anyone can see the program by looking at the page's source code in the browser.

A server behavior, on the other hand, always runs on the application server梩hat is, on the Web-server side of the Internet. Instead of JavaScript, server behaviors can be in a variety of different languages梀BScript, PHP, C#, Java, and so on, depending on the server model your site uses. Server behaviors specifically let you create connections to databases and display, edit, and delete information from databases. Furthermore, since these programs run on the application server, your site's visitors never see the actual programming code. All they see if they look at the source of the page is plain old HTML (the results of the server program).

In a nutshell, Dreamweaver Behaviors add interactive elements to a Web page, like rollovers and JavaScript alert boxes. Server behaviors supply the programming code needed to build sophisticated database-driven Web sites.

  1. Click OK to insert the navigation bar.

    Dreamweaver inserts a table into the document window, consisting of one row and four columns. Each cell contains one text or graphic navigation button. You can change the alignment and any other property of the table to fit your design.


If you use the Recordset Navigation Bar frequently, you may long to replace the VCR-control graphics that Dreamweaver displays. Just create your own graphics and name them FIRST.gif, LAST.gif, PREVIOUS. gif, and NEXT.gif, and place them in the Dreamweaver MX 2004ConfigurationSharedUltraDev Images folder.

22.4.2 Recordset Navigation Status

When you're viewing hundreds of records, it's nice to know where you are and how many records there are in total. The Recordset Navigation Status tool adds just such information to your pages, as shown in Figure 22-13. The status message is presented in the form of "Records 1 to 10 of 18," indicating which records the visitor is currently viewing and the number of total records.

Here's how to add a Recordset Navigation Status message:

  1. Click in the document window at the location you want to insert the status message. In the Application tab of the Insert bar, click the Recordset Navigation Status button (see Figure 22-1).

    You can also choose InsertApplication ObjectsDisplay Record CountRecordset Navigation Status. In either case, the Recordset Navigation Status window appears.

  2. Select a Recordset from the menu.

    If the page contains more than one recordset, you should select the one that you used when inserting the Recordset Navigation bar.

  3. Click OK to close the window and insert the status message.

The Recordset Navigation Status message is simply text with the three dynamic text items described in Figure 22-8. Change the words "Records," "to," and "of " to anything you like, such as "Products 1?0. 149 total products retrieved."

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