Usability: Autofocus and not breaking the backspace-button

A while ago during a project we were asked to implement autofocus on the generic search field that every page in the application has. At a first glance a pretty straightforward task, from a technical perspective that is. Not from a user perspective, as indicated by a colleague mentioning his dislike of such autofocus fields “because they prevent backspace going to the previous page”. In this post I will outline some usability considerations and conclude with a jQuery plugin that will take away some of the possible hindrance of autofocusing a field.…

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Fronteers 2009

About five months after having enjoyed server-side talks at [DPC09][1] it was now time for front-end matters: Fronteers 2009. There’s no exaggeration in the description on the fronteers site: A [stellar line up][2] of speakers who are at the front of what’s happening in web-development. Generally speaking I really liked most of the talks and some of them pointed me to some interesting new techniques and ideas.

Slides of the presentation (if online) are listed at the [Fronteers site][3] and at the end of this post (same content, read along). I’ll briefly recap some of the (for me that is) most interesting parts.

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Taming the Javascript event scope: Closures

When doing client-side developing there are times that jQuery’s get-this-do-that nature doesn’t provide all that is needed. For more complex applications I usually find myself creating javascript objects that ‘control’ a specific part of the page’s interaction. In the objects the application’s state is tracked, references to other objects (could be relevant DOM nodes) are stored and event handlers are set.

One of the problems typically encountered when dealing with javascript event handlers is that they have their own take on the ‘this’ keyword. Closures to the rescue.

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Annoying banners: A plea for quality

Banners play an essential role in many site’s business models so they are an inevitable price paid for all the free content that is available on the internet. To get a user’s attention a lot of practices are employed like animation, placement or sound (horrible). Today I stumbled on a T-mobile advert on the site nu.nl that indeed attracts a lot of attention but does so in a questionable way: It makes using the visited site almost impossible.…

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Jumping in and out of jQuery land

Recently I started using jQuery in some projects. In past projects I have mainly been using Prototype and the fact that jQuery also has a $() function made me feel at home right away. That same fact put me a bit off-guard as both functions are in fact quite different: Prototype extends the selected HTML node with added functionality and returns it. Argument should be a HTML node or element id.…

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Fronteers: Meeting march 10th

At the PHPgg Frontend Special I first heard of Fronteers, an association of dutch front-end developers. Past tuesday they had a meeting at Media College in Amsterdam. As meetings are open for non(yet)-members it was a nice opportunity to get to know more about Fronteers. Two topics were scheduled: jQuery and SUAVE. jQuery Until now I have mainly used the Prototype framework for Javascript projects. As the prototype library, escpecially when bundled with scriptaculous, is quite ‘big’ I was interested in hearing some more about the ‘lean and mean’ jQuery.…

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PHPgg Frontend Special

Last saturday (2009 jan 24th) I attended the [phpGG Frontend Special][1]. phpGG stands for ‘PHP Gebruikersgroep’ which translates to ‘PHP user group’. The meeting was held in a nice little theater in The Hague and was attended by what looked like about 50 people. The four main presentations scheduled:

  • Microsoft – User Experience on the web
  • Adobe – Flex/AIR
  • Javascript – 8 Reasons every PHP developer should love it
  • The frontend is your friend

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FireScope – Firebug extended

Today I stumbled across an interesting new Firefox extension: FireScope. It’s developed by Sitepoint, a site I visit regularly. I was aware of their reference material on html, css and javascript and now they use that content to feed this extension. FireScope is an extension to Firebug, assumably known and installed by anyone interested in FireScope. On the [official firefox add-ons page][3] it has the status ‘experimental’ and hence requires logging in.…

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Bye bye old site, welcome new site

As it looks like the blogging phenomenon is there to stay I finally considered it safe to take my first steps into the blogosphere. Until recently this domain showed the website I developed in 2003 and haven’t updated since. It’s a technology-push javascript showcase. Something I liked back then (the days when dHTML was fancy) but would never build again now. For starters: It’s not accessible and thereby not search engine friendly.…

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