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 Thoughts on Web Development
Menus, mouseovers, and the IPhone Thursday, January 31, 2008 6:16 PM

So, I've been thinking about getting an IPhone or a Tilt. I went down to the AT&T store yesterday. It was the first time ever that I was in a phone store that didn't have a zillion people in it. I was left alone with the IPhone for 45 minutes . What a great interface and device - but more on that later. It came as a bit of surprise to me when I browsed to the LimberTech website and tried navigating around using the menu. I never thought about it before but mouseover's won't work on a touch screen type of interface because when you press your finger on the menu item, it means to select it. There is no notion of hovering over a link. I'm not sure there is a way to do a popup menu'ing system on the IPhone. I'll have to do a bit of research to figure that one out.

I almost walked out with an IPhone. I had my credit card out and they had brought a box up from the back. However, I came to an abrupt halt when I found out there was no way to use the phone as a modem for the laptop. I just took for granted that you would be able to hook the phone to the computer and use the EDGE network for data access. But the salesperson said that you couldn't do that because the IPhone "wasn't a true PDA". So I had them put the IPhone back and went to look at the Tilt.

The Tilt certainly didn't wow me like the IPhone did. But I was still blown away by the device. While the interface isn't anywhere near as tight/nice as the IPhone, it seems like the features might be a better match for me - re: Outlook integration and better support for IE.

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Smart people and Web 2.0 Applications Monday, January 15, 2007 11:53 AM

There are some smart people doing some innovative work out there. I recently ran across this article on CodeProject's website: Build Google IG like Ajax Start Page in 7 days using ASP.NET Ajax and .NET 3.0 by Omar Al Zabir. It was an interesting article which spoke to creating mashup pages using AJAX. Even more so, the article led me to Al Zabir's website PageFlakes.

He's doing some interesting work. Websites like PageFlakes.com, Window Live (if you personalize it), and Google's IG brings to life the idea of mass individualization.

One of the interesting aspects of the next generation of web applications is that they face some of the same problems faced by GUI applications as they evolved. For example, on PageFlakes you can select the feeds you want to appear on your personalized webpage. These little windows (gadgets) remind me of the windows in mdi applications back in Windows 3.x. The central issue is how do you manage the UI in a consistant way so that the user doesn't become confused. On PageFlakes I selected an entry from one of the feeds and was presented with the content. But was I still on PageFlakes or had I moved to the website which hosts the content? When I hit the back button, the unexpected happened - I left PageFlakes and went to the website I was viewing before I came to PageFlakes. Weird.

As "Web 2.0" applications become more popular smart people are going to have to re-solve some of the problems GUI developers faced in the past.

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