This wiki is a step-by-step example explaining how the controller, model and the view's CGridView work together. It explains simple things - as well as more complex things that you will anyway quickly have to know. So, even if you don't use dynamic gridviews, take a morning off and thoroughly work through this tutorial. It should save you lots of struggling.
Sometimes the active form we wish to use to edit/add a new element on our database is too small and we believe that is much better to use an AJAX'ed dialog/slide form rather than reloading the page to just display one or two fields.