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Big problems with Dreamweaver Spry (Ajax)

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  • Big problems with Dreamweaver Spry (Ajax)

    Currently evaluating your search tool. It works very well but we have a big problem. Our site(s) mostly use Dreamweaver's Spry menu bar and also some of their spry widgets (like tabbed panels and so on).
    I battled to get the highlights to work (jump to match and highlight within document) without crippling the top main Spry menu bar (carefully checked support notes) and eventually got it to work but I did not notice that the spry tabbed panels (below the Spry menu bar on some pages) could not be clicked on anymore. Nothing I could do to the code would fix this as suggested in all support notes. BUT in my testing I found an even bigger problem. I removed all the code to allow "jump to match and highlight within document" and got the Spry tabbed panels working again. I then noticed that if one searched for a word residing in one of the spry tabbed panels (lets say there are 5 on one page), Zoom correctly takes you to the page but does not open the correct tabbed panel (user would have to dig through all 5 panels on that page to find the text). Our users need these nice interfaces. This is reality. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    There is a new version of the hightlight script coming in V6 of Zoom that should remove some of the current issues around scripts conflicting with each other. But it won't know anything about spry widget tabs.

    Not knowing anything about spry widget tabs (as it isn't our product) we can't really advise on how you can autoselect tabs. If all tabs have the same URL then don't you really have a more general problem, in that people can't link to specific content your site (e.g. in an E-Mail or from an external web page)?


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. Yes correct of course all tabs do have the same URL but there is a way to address each of those tabs either from within or outside the page. From within, each Widget has an ID and JavaScript you can use onclick with the ID and the number of the tab. To link to a tab from outside the page Adobe have a utility "SpryURLUtils.js" see
      Anyway do you have any suggestions other than a re-write of our website - we like your product a lot. We don't plan to have too many pages with spry widgets on them but they are some key pages with key products. The key search terms are will be indexed and they will land on the relevant pages most times.


      • #4
        This is one of the big disadvantages of AJAX. By heavily depending on JavaScript for the content of your site, you essentially rule your site out from being accessible by: browsers with JavaScript disabled, browsers which support JS different to the ways you have catered for (FYI, every version of every browser interprets JS differently - there is no "standard"), and of course, search engine spiders.

        Now, there are various technical workarounds to accomodate for such shortcomings. Naturally, none of these would be easy since the method you have selected is not designed for what you are trying to achieve. That is, Adobe's Spry is, by default, not designed to allow search engines to find and point to their "AJAX tabs". That is the reality.

        You can open a Spry based website in a browser with JS disabled to see this. Try opening Firefox, and clicking on "Tools"->"Options"->"Content"-> and uncheck the "Enable JavaScript" option.

        You will see that Spry offers an alternate version of the web page, without the tabs, and all the content is laid out on the same page. Since the Spry home page supposedly uses Spry, I am using this as example:

        So this is what a search engine spider will see. A flat page with no indication of tabs. It means that Zoom (and any other search engine) will find the page, but it's not going to know anything about your tabs since it never sees them!

        If Spry was better designed to accomodate this requirement, it could have given links to the individual tab elements via their <noscript> ... </noscript> output, and provided a PHP script, or static individual pages to represent each tab. Then you can use the "Rewrite Links" feature in Zoom (or URL Rewrite in Apache) to point the links back to the AJAX version of the page. But as far as we know, they didn't design it this way. And there's not much we can do to make Adobe's product do something it wasn't designed to.
        Wrensoft Web Software
        Sydney, Australia
        Zoom Search Engine


        • #5
          If each tab has a URL, then use these URLs on your site (e.g. in a site map). Zoom will follow each of the links and treat each tab as a seperate page. The only problem with this however is that each page might still appear to have all the same word on it (i.e. duplicate search results).

          The short answer is that client side Javascript (AJAX) and search engines don't mix well. Google has similar issues.

          Can you use server side tabs instead.


          • #6
            Thanks for the explanations..I think to keep it simple I will re-design parts of the site...If I can get it working the way I suspect I can it will be fine.
            You guys can look for a sale soon.