Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

The Extra Click Syndrome

I just fired up Firefox to do a bit of writing over in the project wiki, and as sometimes happens, I was presented with an extension update notification screen. The UI is mostly a farce of user control in that there's not nearly enough information to judge whether or not going to the next version of Me.dium is a good idea or not. I blithely click "OK" to let it do it's installation dance in the hopes that it'll get out of the way. I've got stuff to do. It dutifully proceeds.

A couple of seconds later, it's done, and instead of getting an unobtrusive notification of success while the browser starts to load whatever it is that I actually care about, the update window simply shows a nearly identical UI, but the button that had previously allowed me to proceed with the upgrade now reads "Continue". Do I have a choice at this point? What would closing the browser at this point ever buy me over hitting "Continue"?

Given the massive number of Firefox users and their use of extensions, it boggles the mind to think how much time is wasted by this one button alone. Unless there is an affordance for recoverability (roll back the upgrade) or discoverability (what just happened?), this button needs to die.

Including Dojo, The Really Easy Way

AOL has been generously hosting builds of the toolkit in their CDN for some time, but using these builds has always seemed scary. Configuring local and remote copies of the same thing hardly seems like fun. Also, lots of people ask us for a way to "just include one file to get Dojo". It's an obvious thing to do, and it turns out the cross-domain infrastructure that AOL donated is the perfect solution to both problems!

In response to Amit Green's excellent suggestion, I've constructed a couple of very small "wrapper" files that will let you include the "Ajax" build of Dojo from various versions through the cross-domain loader. Including the latest stable Dojo couldn't be simpler:

<script src=""></script>

It's also trivial to test out the latest 0.4.1 Release Candidate:

<script src=""></script>

That's all there is to it!

From here on in, your pages can use the dojo.require() system to pull in anything that's part of the "stock" distribution, and by following James' detailed documentation and test page, you can also load your own custom packages while still loading the main system from a separate domain.

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