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Nothing but headaches over here.

I have to make several changes to some forms because of usability issues. What this means is that the backend code also needs to change too. It’s a lot more complicated than I first thought. A seemingly simple change to the user interface layer can cascade right down to the database layer of application.

One of the problems I’m having is the use of multi-select boxes (the box where you hold down CTRL to select multiple things). This form element is a usability nightmare. So now I’m refactoring the multi-select boxes into several, single dropdown menus. This means I need to rewrite some backend code as well.

Usability issues aren’t the only problem. There are a few fundamental issues with the database design too. I’ve also done a fair amount of poor programming and lots of code needs to be fixed!

The revised launch date is now the 28th of July 2008 (hopefully I won’t have to change it again)

Soldiering on …



  1. Wait! CakePHP (I’m presuming you use Cake as this post ended up on my CakePHP rss feed) might be able to help šŸ™‚

    There’s an option tucked away in $form->input() that will turn the unusable dropdown select into a bunch of much more usable checkboxes:

    $form->input(“fieldname”, array(“multiple”=>”checkbox”));

    I further enhanced it with a bit of jQuery that automatically adds a select all/select none to the group (takes 2 mins if you understand jquery)

  2. Hi Richard, thanks for the info! I didn’t know that šŸ™‚ I’ll make sure to remember it

    But Unfortunately for my current sitation using checkboxes is a bit of a usability problem due to having about 100 options in the select šŸ˜›

    No doubt there will be future projects where I will need it, though

    Thanks šŸ™‚

  3. Same for me, we use them for tagging purposes, with 200+ tags available.

    We wrapped the tag checkboxes in a div with a fixed height, overflow auto (it becomes a scrollable list) and then use jquery to keep a running display as items are selected/unselected.

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