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Rich clients and wavy lines

"Here are a few examples of things you can't really do well in a web application...

...2. Build a real-time spell checker with wavy red underlines"

This really shouldn't be something that every web application, or rich client for that matter, should need to reimplement - it is a commodity bit of functionality that should just "be there" as a standard platform service. In Windows as a feature of the standard richedit system control, and in web browsers as a function of TEXTAREA boxes (perhaps with an attribute identifying that it's expecting standard text of a particular language). There are extensions that do just that, offering full spell checking to every web application in one fell sweep.

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

OSX has this functionality in their text boxes for any application that wants it.

Not that I'm a Mac zealot, just an observation!

Fred
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"just "be there" as a standard platform service. In Windows as a feature of the standard richedit system control,"

That's the problem with sophisticated UI's in Web apps. There is certain functionality (like wavy lines) that must be implemented on the local computer (either via the O/S or the Browser).

In either case, your web app is limited to the functionality of the browser it's running on.

Whereas, if I'm writing a program in Delphi, I can implement whatever I want (wavy lines, whatever) and it shows up fast in real time.

Mr. Analogy
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"Whereas, if I'm writing a program in Delphi, I can implement whatever I want (wavy lines, whatever) and it shows up fast in real time."

Fair enough (though note that implementing a wavy line spell checker is most certainly _not_ a trivial task without basically starting from the ground up and developing an entire owner drawn textbox including all of your own font kerning, etc). My point was that some of the justifications of rich clients, such as spell checking, are because we are in the early stages of "thin clients" - there is absolutely no doubt that spell checking should be a standard feature of TEXTAREAs in web browsers, and with that functionality instantly every single web app in the world has amazing full featured spell checking.

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Why to invent TEXTAREA?

There are plenty cross browser DHTML-edit controls :)

http://mozile.mozdev.org/

Nekto2
Thursday, June 17, 2004

I think the point is not that red wavy lines need to be supported by the web API, but that the 10 next cool features (which we haven't thought of yet, but will in the next few years) like red-wavy lines need to be supported.

Foolish Jordan
Friday, June 18, 2004

"I think the point is not that red wavy lines need to be supported by the web API, but that the 10 next cool features (which we haven't thought of yet, but will in the next few years) like red-wavy lines need to be supported."

The software development field is a highly refined field, and it's remarkable, for instance, how many apps are built simply by putting the basic system components together without a single owner-drawn control (by the way -- if you know of a .NET text control that has red-wavy lines, could you point it out for me? I was seriously looking for it, and laughed when I saw Joel bring it up as a gap of web apps) - we've been using the same basic interface elements for about a decade now with virutally no progression or change.

The truth is that web applications have fulfilled the needs of many users with the absolutely minimalist functionality, but there is some obvious gaps in functionality.

-Standardized menus (ala Windows drop down menus)
-Tree views
-SPELL CHECKING

These are absolutely commodity user interface entities, and it's a definite item that should be standardized.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, June 18, 2004

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