Adding a tabview to an existing application with the YUI library

I recently built a small web application and the client requested, after a significant portion was built, that it be placed in different tabs. I immediately thought of the Yahoo! User Interface Library, which is a set of independent components “for building interactive web applications.”

I just wanted the TabView component, which is easy to just drop in and has pretty good documentation. This component is new in the 0.12 version of the YUI library.

However, FireFox 1.5 had an issue with the pages once the component was added. The different tabs would show up, but the bodies were all visible at the same time. IE6 did not have that issue, bizarrely enough. I asked some questions on the mailing list and received some helpful answers–the main things I needed to do were add the component instantiation function to the onload method of the window, and make my HTML valid. I used the W3C validator for the latter.

This post is pretty short, and I guess that’s the point–adding tabs to an existing application was pretty easy using the Yahoo! libraries.

Using the YUI library was simple and the support and documentation were good. I don’t like to think of how long it would have taken me to write a tab interface supported on so many browsers. If you need to retrofit some UI magic onto an existing application, or you just want discrete components for your web application (as opposed to the all in one approach of GWT), YUI is well worth a look.

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Social networking paper on First Monday

There’s a fantastic paper up on First Monday, an online journal I’ve written about before, “Friends, friendsters, and top 8: Writing community into being on social network sites”. It’s an interesting look at how social networking sites affect and are affected by their users. I’ve touch on this before in “Will you be my Friendster”.

Some interesting quotes from the paper:

Investigating Friendship in LiveJournal, Kate Raynes-Goldie and Fono (2005) found that there was tremendous inconsistency in why people Friended others. They primarily found that Friendship stood for: content, offline facilitator, online community, trust, courtesy, declaration, or nothing.

Or nothing! I wonder if this applies to business networking sites such as Linked In?

Talking about the early users:

Much to the chagrin of the developers, the early adopters of Friendster framed the social norms, not the system’s designers. Taking advantage of the technological affordances, early adopters used the site to meet their needs. In turn, because of the networked structure of Friendster, they passed on their norms to their friends. Their Profiles signaled what type of people belonged and their communication practices conveyed what types of behavior one could expect.

See Social Software and the Politics of Groups for more on how groups bend social software as they wish.

And from the conclusion:

Part of what makes the negotiation of Friendship on social network sites tricky is that it’s deeply connected to participant’s offline social life. Their choice of Friends online is not a set of arbitrary personal decisions; each choice has the potential to complicate relationships with friends, colleagues, schoolmates, and lovers. Social network sites are not digital spaces disconnected from other social venues — it is a modeling of one aspect of participants’ social worlds and that model is evaluated in other social contexts. In thinking about Friendship practices on social network sites, it is crucial to evaluate them on their own terms, recognizing the role of technology and social navigation rather than simply viewing them as an extension of offline friendship.

The paper is long but well worth a read.

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