In most cases the correct approach to update the UI from the client side with server side data is to raise events, receive response data and then parse the data and perform DOM manipulation. This is a very fast and efficient process as only a small amount of JSON formatted data is being pushed over the XHR connection.

However in some cases this approach would lead to complete duplication of HTML creation code in both server side PHP and client side Javascript. A pragmatic option is to force a 're-render' of the View with the updated HTML being pushed from server to client. It is slightly slower as a lot of redundant HTML characters are being transmitted.

For example in the Basket of a shopping site there might be considerable work in presenting the HTML. Updating the basket quantities may require many different items to be updated in ways that would need codified in the Javascript if it were just to receive data back from the update request. This is a good candidate for using the re-rendering technique


All leaves have a reRender() method. When called during a normal non XHR request it has no effect at all. During an XHR request (e.g. as a consequence of raiseServerEvent()) however it causes that Leaf's view to be rendered into HTML again and the output string to be sent to the client.

class BasketView extends View
    protected function createSubLeaves()
            new Button("updateBasket", function() {
                // Bubble the event up to the Leaf to do some heavy work.
                // Now single a rerender so the basket is redrawn:
            }, true );  // true to switch button event to XHR mode

View Bridge reconnection

After a re-render the HTML of the view is replaced with the incoming HTML provided by the server. This results in brand new DOM elements being created to replace the original ones. The View Bridge base class handles reconnecting the View Bridge object to the new container DOM element (viewNode) however it's important that all event wiring for the UI items in your View are reconfigured.

attachEvents() is ran on your View Bridge again after a re-render allowing you to reestablish event handlers on UI elements.

A common issue with re-render is event handlers being registered in onReady which is not fired after a re-render.

Inappropriate Use

While it can seem like a universal and simple approach to handling XHR requests the re-rendering of large bodies of complex HTML opens up a whole category of issues that are sometimes best avoided. Generally it is simply lazy to re-render a whole page Leaf for example and fraught with problems where state and event handlers may not restore themselves to exactly the same condition.