Thursday, May 26, 2005

The future of browser programmability

Thanks to Rich over at the Power of the Schwartz for the link to a Lotus guy's Sergio Leone take on the current state of web application development. The bit that was of particular interest to me is quoted here:

"The back button is not a bug in Ajax, it's a flaw in the browser metaphor.

I hearby serve notice to the following browser controls: forward, back, home, reload, and that URL field. You need to die... unless I need you."

I've been pretty immersed in Notes client development for the last 4 years. Well, that and XSLt, but that's a whole 'nother story. Anyway, I've gotten away from my web roots. But this got me thinking: Firefox is built on JavaScript and XML. The chrome is exposed to developers of themes, and now GreaseMonkey allows coders to change the content of a page from the user end; what's to say that the actual browser controls won't eventually be programmable as well? Wouldn't that be a fantastic tool to have? Just think... you could disable the Back and Forward buttons and force users to stick with the application navigation you've built to ensure that they progress in a logical manner, rather than clicking around willy-nilly, like your 1000-hours-of-overtime baby was just some... some web site.

Or have I completely missed the boat while buried in LotusScript classes? Has this already been done by some script kiddie?


Jerry Carter said...

Kindly enough, IE, Netscape, and FF (AFAIK) let you hide those controls with some javascript. Seems to answer the 'die unless I need you' requirement, does it not? has some examples for that handle this in their Javascript documentation.

Esther said...

Thanks for the link, Jerry - that's one I wasn't familiar with. I'll take a look.

Collin Brendemuehl said...

Thanks for the forum direction.
Looks like we're both on :)