Update page information without refreshing

Posted on 2008-10-20
Last Modified: 2013-12-13
I want to show the number of items in my shopping cart and update it at the moment customer add another item in to the cart without refreshing the page. I am using the mysql database to keep all the everything works great except the total number of items in the shoping cart update only when I refresh the page (read the data from the database). How can I solve this problem without using iframes.
Question by:ppeiris
  • 2

Accepted Solution

aldanch earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
This sounds like a job for AJAX.

Say you have a SPAN or DIV with the ID of "totalitems" (this can be a textbox as well). You could use AJAX to update it "behind the scenes" like this.

=== Javascript ===

var ie5 = (document.getElementById && document.all); 

var ns6 = (document.getElementById && !document.all); 

var ua = navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase();

var isapple = (ua.indexOf('applewebkit') != -1 ? 1 : 0);

function createRequestObject() {

	var ro;

	var browser = navigator.appName;

	if(browser == "Microsoft Internet Explorer") {

		ro = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");


	else {

		ro = new XMLHttpRequest();


	return ro;


function getTotalItems() {

	var ge = createRequestObject();

	var rn = Math.floor(Math.random() * 1000); // Don't get cached data'get', 'aj_gettotalitems.php?rn=' + rn);

	ge.onreadystatechange = function() {

		if(ge.readyState == 4) {

			// Use this if you are updating a SPAN or DIV

			document.getElementById('totalitems').innerHTML = ge.responseText;

			// Use this if you are updating a textbox

			//document.getElementById('totalitems').value = ge.responseText;

			ge = null;





=== PHP ===

The PHP script called in the function above (aj_gettotalitems.php) should return the number of items in the cart. This is where it reads the database, does a little magic, and spits out the total thus far.

=== HTML ===

Your HTML should include an "onclick", "onchange", or whatever to call the getTotalItems() function. I imagine this would be the button or link the user clicks to add something to their cart.

More info on AJAX can be found here:

Or on Google:

Open in new window


Expert Comment

Comment Utility
you mite also want to check out this site (about 2/3 way down page 'Calling a server-side Script without refreshing the page')

I also came across this in the past:

I use to have a great link but lost it :(

Let me know if either of these links are of any use to you

Author Comment

Comment Utility
The AJAX script is working for me but still have a small problem. I being a floating div tag (Using thickbox) to add items in to the shopping cart, when it is done you can close the thickbox but i don't know how to call a javascript function in thickbox that update the contents in the main window ?

Thank you


Expert Comment

Comment Utility
What method are you using to close the window (box)? I have never used thickbox but I would look for the code that is executed when the window is closed and add a line to call the function there.

If the thickbox is closed via a link chances are it's Javascript performing the close. That being the case, have it call the function at that time.

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