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Take AJAX to your Email Inbox: Developing the Client-side Application Layer

Welcome to part two of the series “Take AJAX to your email inbox.” If the article’s title doesn’t ring any bells for you, let me tell you that this tutorial series goes through the making of a simple web-based POP3 client, which uses AJAX for pulling out email messages from a given mail server, and displays them right on a web page.

Author Info:
By: Alejandro Gervasio
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 16
April 05, 2006
  1. · Take AJAX to your Email Inbox: Developing the Client-side Application Layer
  2. · Connecting to the mail server: defining the "sendHttpRequest()" function
  3. · Collecting connection data: defining the "getFormValues()" function
  4. · Displaying email messages: defining the "fetchMessages()" function
  5. · Initializing the POP3 client: defining the "initializeUserPanel()" function
  6. · Integrating the POP 3 client: listing the complete source code of the application

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Take AJAX to your Email Inbox: Developing the Client-side Application Layer - Initializing the POP3 client: defining the "initializeUserPanel()" function
(Page 5 of 6 )

As I mentioned before, there's still one last function to be defined, in order to initialize the POP3 client. This function, which I called "initializeUserPanel()," is defined as follows:

function initializeUserPanel(){
    // get 'connect' button
    var sendbtn=document.getElementsByTagName('form')[0].elements
    // send http request when button is clicked on

        // send request & fetch messages from POP3 server
        // display 'Retrieving...' message
        var mdiv=document.getElementById('mailcontainer');
        mdiv.innerHTML='Retrieving messages from the server...';

In the simplest sense, all the above function does is tie the "sendHttpRequest()" function to the "connect" button, so the HTTP request will be triggered when the user clicks on it. Notice how I passed, as parameters, the PHP file responsible for connecting and retrieving email messages, along with the callback function ("fetchMessages()"), which processes and displays the messages on the web page.

The last thing the function does is simply display the legend "Retrieving messages from the server..." while the processes for connecting to the mail server and retrieving messages are running in the background.

At this point, I provided you with all of the JavaScript functions that comprise this web-based POP3 client, which means in basic terms that we have now developed the whole client-side application layer. That said, it's time to summarize what you learned until now and list the full source code of the JavaScript application. Don't worry. It's only a few lines away.

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