In doing internet searches trying to learn how to incorporated ajax into web pages generated by the yii framework I noticed that there seems to be a lot of confusion. I worry that too-clever hacks will be broken in upgrades of the framework.
CGridView (or CListView) together with CActiveDataProvider is a very powerful combination of the built-in tools of Yii. But how do they work together to accomplish their fantastic functions? And what are you expected to do to use them and to customize their behaviors? This article explains the very basics of them.
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.