Example Explained – The HTML Page

When a user selects an RSS-feed in the dropdown list above, a function called “showRSS()” is executed. The function is triggered by the “onchange” event:

<html>
<head>
<script>
function showRSS(str) {
if (str.length==0) {
document.getElementById(“rssOutput”).innerHTML=””;
return;
}
if (window.XMLHttpRequest) {
// code for IE7+, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari
xmlhttp=new XMLHttpRequest();
} else {  // code for IE6, IE5
xmlhttp=new ActiveXObject(“Microsoft.XMLHTTP”);
}
xmlhttp.onreadystatechange=function() {
if (xmlhttp.readyState==4 && xmlhttp.status==200) {
document.getElementById(“rssOutput”).innerHTML=xmlhttp.responseText;
}
}
xmlhttp.open(“GET”,”getrss.php?q=”+str,true);
xmlhttp.send();
}
</script>
</head>
<body>

<form>
<select onchange=”showRSS(this.value)”>
<option value=””>Select an RSS-feed:</option>
<option value=”Google”>Google News</option>
<option value=”NBC”>NBC News</option>
</select>
</form>
<br>
<div id=”rssOutput”>RSS-feed will be listed here…</div>
</body>
</html>

The showRSS() function does the following:

  • Check if an RSS-feed is selected
  • Create an XMLHttpRequest object
  • Create the function to be executed when the server response is ready
  • Send the request off to a file on the server
  • Notice that a parameter (q) is added to the URL (with the content of the dropdown list)

The PHP File

The page on the server called by the JavaScript above is a PHP file called “getrss.php”:

<?php
//get the q parameter from URL
$q=$_GET[“q”];

//find out which feed was selected
if($q==”Google”) {
$xml=(“http://news.google.com/news?ned=us&topic=h&output=rss”);
} elseif($q==”NBC”) {
$xml=(“http://rss.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032091/device/rss/rss.xml”);
}

$xmlDoc = new DOMDocument();
$xmlDoc->load($xml);

//get elements from “<channel>”
$channel=$xmlDoc->getElementsByTagName(‘channel’)->item(0);
$channel_title = $channel->getElementsByTagName(‘title’)
->item(0)->childNodes->item(0)->nodeValue;
$channel_link = $channel->getElementsByTagName(‘link’)
->item(0)->childNodes->item(0)->nodeValue;
$channel_desc = $channel->getElementsByTagName(‘description’)
->item(0)->childNodes->item(0)->nodeValue;

//output elements from “<channel>”
echo(“<p><a href='” . $channel_link
. “‘>” . $channel_title . “</a>”);
echo(“<br>”);
echo($channel_desc . “</p>”);

//get and output “<item>” elements
$x=$xmlDoc->getElementsByTagName(‘item’);
for ($i=0; $i<=2; $i++) {
$item_title=$x->item($i)->getElementsByTagName(‘title’)
->item(0)->childNodes->item(0)->nodeValue;
$item_link=$x->item($i)->getElementsByTagName(‘link’)
->item(0)->childNodes->item(0)->nodeValue;
$item_desc=$x->item($i)->getElementsByTagName(‘description’)
->item(0)->childNodes->item(0)->nodeValue;
echo (“<p><a href='” . $item_link
. “‘>” . $item_title . “</a>”);
echo (“<br>”);
echo ($item_desc . “</p>”);
}
?>

Source: PHP AJAX RSS Reader