Use ‘link_to_remote’ unobtrusively

I have become a big believer in unobtrusive scripting utilizing lowpro, but I still like being able to use the Rails Prototype helpers because they are there and simple (not to mention hooked into plugins such as Redbox). But by default, the href on a link_to_remote is set to ‘#’, which hardly gives the desired behavior when Javascript is disabled. However, with a quick rewrite of the link_to_remote helper, we can achieve unobtrusiveness (if not complete code separation) for any link_to_remote call:

def link_to_remote(name, options = {}, html_options = {})     html_options.merge!({:href => url_for(options[:url])}) unless options[:url].blank?     super(name, options, html_options) end

Link_to_remote is actually just a wrapper on link_to_function, which accepts html options. However, if you set href in the html_options hash, it will override the default ‘#’ and use the url specified. Now whether javascript is enabled or not, the same URL will be called. Respond_to to the rescue! Just drop some custom code into the action to which you are linking, and you can easily render out an HTML page or perform javascript behavior, depending on the format desired:

class SomeController < ApplicationController   def some_action     respond_to do |format|       format.html { redirect_to :back } # reload the page we were just on       format.js { render :update do |page|          # update the content dynamically       end }     end   end end

It’s a simple technique, but this has allowed me to use redboxes for modal controls and seamlessly degrade to a properly laid out form if javascript is disabled, all without changing a single line of code in the redbox plugin.