November 23rd, 2014

New Menu Implementation2

Introduction

Browsers have changed since the first menu implementations of Bindows were created. New restrictions caused various issues for our old menu implementations. For Bindows 4.0, I have been working on a brand new implementation written with these restrictions in mind. As a bonus, we now have nicer themes and we can expand the range of browsers we support. I hope you like what we’ve created.

Reasons for the change

In Bindows 3.0 (and previous versions) we had two different implementations for menus, XUL popups for Firefox and WebFX DHTML Menus 4 for Internet Explorer. These implementations allowed menus to be displayed anywhere on the screen. In Bindows 4.0 we have discarded these implementations and wrote a brand new one. Apart from unifying the two browsers, there are few additional reasons for this.

Security issues

The ability to display a popup anywhere can be used maliciously (e.g. by hiding and impersonating an element of the main browser window). Since these implementations were first created, browser security patches have forbidden popups from being displayed outside the window (or even the frame) where they were created. As a result, Bindows menus that were placed near the bottom edge of the window/frame displayed some strange behavior. We were able to solve several of these issues, but some proved too difficult.

Additional browser support

Bindows 4.0 introduces support for WebKit based browsers (i.e. Safari and Google Chrome). Neither of the menu implementations would work for these browsers, so we would have to add a new implementation anyway. We might as well write one that would work for all browsers, and solve our menu issues at the same time.

API Changes

As a result of the new implementation there has been one major API change. The left and top properties no longer relate to the screen, but to the parent component (which is usually the BiApplicationWindow).

Two new methods have been added: popupAtComponent(oComponent) and popupAtMouse(oMouseEvent). The first sets the component property and displays the menu just below oComponent. The latter uses the mouse coordinates (from oMouseEvent) to display the menu.

Themes

The fact that we have a single implementation for all supported browsers means we also have only one set of CSS styles (for each theme), which applies to all users. When we created our brand new themes for Bindows 4.0, we took this opportunity to revamp the theme properties for menus, making the CSS classes consistent with the rest of Bindows. Your old themes will not be compatible with Bindows 4.0 without some changes. The good news is that we have many compatible themes, free to download at http://www.bindows.net/download/themes/.

A peek into the Bindows future… Bindows Vector Graphics (BVG)4

Linkdemo Screenshot

Working with the Bindows product has been an exciting trip so far. With the introduction of SVG-support in Firefox 1.5 we were given the opportunity to draw vector graphics in both Internet Explorer (VML) and Firefox (SVG).

Abhinav Pobbati started working on a sort of graphing tool for a customer and I recently got the opportunity to help him further develop the concept. Now, we have an early demonstration of this simple graph tool which renders its graphics using VML in Internet Explorer and SVG in Firefox, all within the Bindows framework.

The demonstration contains several elements which can be dragged around on the screen. The elements are linked using lines which can be right clicked to show a context menu. Everything with a beautiful pastel coloured background! :)

Try it out!

We plan to name this feature Bindows Vector Graphics (BVG) and we would love to get any comments and suggestions you may have.

Dion HinchCliffe’s Great Posts0

Dion HinchCliffe has some great posts recently. And we say that, not just because he described the Bindows library as “mindblowing”. “Thanks Dion!!!â€? We thought he provided a great summary of Ajax’s disruptive influences:
1. The End of Software Upgrades, Fixes, and Security Patches
2. Software and Data Available Wherever You Go:
3. Isolated Software Can’t Compete with Connected Software
4. Deprecation of the Traditional Operating System
5. Software That Is Invisible

We were also impressed with his Five Great Ways to Harness Collective Intelligence

1. Be The Hub of A Hard To Recreate Data Source
2. Seek Collective Intelligence Out
3. Trigger Large-Scale Network Effects
4. Provide A Folksonomy
5. Create a Reverse Intelligence Filter

Finally, he provides a great link to one of the best written articles on Web 2.0 - The Hype and Hullabaloo of Web 2.0 by Ellyssa Kroski

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