Dojo in XPages – 20: Handling Successful or Failed AJAX Requests

In the last post, I showed how to use an xhr.get() request in Dojo to asynchronously retrieve information from a REST service. In this post, we’ll look at how to execute code when the request is completed or returns an error within an example that demonstrates how to display the response (or an error message) on the page.

Dojo in XPages Series

Dojo in XPages — All Blog Posts

XHR Callbacks

The Dojo xhr requests provide the opportunity to define up to 3 callback functions that run after the request is completed. The xhr request is generally asynchronous (although there’s a parameter to change that), so it doesn’t block the user from interacting with the rest of the page while data is retrieved. The callback functions are useful in that they can see the results of the request and respond accordingly. All callbacks are anonymous javascript functions that automatically receive at least one parameter.

load – the ‘success’ callback

As shown in the last post, the load callback is executed when the request is completed and data has been retrieved successfully. The function automatically receives a parameter that contains the data that was returned by the request, in the format specified by the handleAs parameter (generally text, json, or xml).

error – the ‘failure’ callback

The error callback is executed when the request cannot be completed successfully. The function automatically receives a parameter defining the error and can also use a second parameter to determine the HTTP status code (among other things).

handle – the ‘always’ callback

In addition to load and error, there is another callback option called handle. This callback runs regardless of whether the call was successful or failed. You can review the response and determine whether it was successful based on the data. This is an option if you want to have some code run regardless of the response and you don’t want to duplicate it in both the load and error callbacks.

An Example

Building on the example shown in the last post, this code will request data from a REST service. If successful, it will write the data onto the page in the form of a table (assuming there’s a passthru HTML div on the page with the ID “resultsDiv”). If it fails, it will display a message in that div in red.

  load: function(data){
    var output = '<table>';

    // Build the header row by inspecting column names
    output += '<tr>';
    for (var col in data[0]) {
        output += '<th>' + col + '</th>';
    output += '</tr>';

    // Build the data rows
    for(var i in data){
      output += '<tr>';
      for (col in data[i]) {
        output += '<td>' + data[i][col] + '</td>';
      output += '</tr>';
    output += '</table>';
    dojo.byId('resultsDiv').innerHTML = output;
  error: function(msg, args) {'resultsDiv', 'color', 'red');
    dojo.byId('resultsDiv').innerHTML = 'Status: ' + args.xhr.status + '<br />' + msg;

When successful, in inspects the structure of the data returned and builds a table to display it:

Dojo 20 - A - Display REST Data

To test out the error code, just point it at a page that doesn’t exist.

Dojo 20 - B - Display REST Error


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