Mix08 – Session 4 – Integrating your site with Internet Explorer 8

There are two new features that Microsoft is announcing the Beta1 version of Internet Explorer 8.  These two new features are Activities and WebSlices, as mentioned in the keynote. 

Activities

  • XML installed to the browser using the OpenService Format
  • There are a few simple components that make up an activity – Category, Context, Execute, and Preview
  • Category – This is a way to group the different Activities you add – in this example, it is Maps
  • Context – text that shows up in the context menu, context is typically “selection”, which will use the text that you have highlighted
  • Execute – the actual URL that will be launched, with {selection} in curly brackets to dynamically pass the selection
  • Preview – setting this will allow for a mouseover preview – action is a URL, requires parameters for size and selection

WebSlices

  • Little purple button letting user know you can subscribe to the WebSlice
  • An item is added to the favorites bar
  • This can be eBay items, Facebook friends, Stumbleupon, NY Times most emailed articles, etc.
  • WebSlices is based on hAtom Microformats
  • These are implemented using style classes – some from hAtom (entity-title, entity-content), some are new (hslice)
  • You must have a unique ID on an hslice
  • Leverages and expands the Windows Feeds Platform shipped with IE7
  • Also takes advantage of improved links bar – bold is updated, italics is expiring soon, and gray is expired
  • Converts WebSlices into an Atom Feed
  • Update schedule in the browser from once a day to every 15 minutes
  • Use the TTL  class type to determine time-to-live that will be respected
  • You can also define alternative feed URLs, and an end time
  • The hover behaviors can be hidden to prevent hover behavior conflicts.  If you do this, it is easy to add a button that will add the WebSlice instead.  The same API can be used for links and feeds.
  • If you need a username & password to get to the original content, the WebSlice dialog will ask for it to update the WebSlice
  • Feeds should be used for lists of items instead of just a piece of page content

Conclusion

This is a preview of some of the new developer features in IE8.  There will be lots more to come, including new user-centric features.  Based on what I have seen, that should be very exciting stuff too!

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