mikepk.com about current projects contact

Grazr Outlines

July 27, 2006

So the version that was on our preview site (alpha v0.11) has gone live on the main servers. Everyone with a Grazr on their page should see the new version. This is a pretty major release so we'd love to hear any feedback.

The biggest change in this version is the addition of 'view switching' with a new alternate view, outlines. View switching is accomplished with the new button () that appears on the titlebar next to the 'launch' icon ().

While the slider interface is great for it's 'compactness' some data really lends itself to being presented as an outline. There are also advantages to dynamically being able to switch back and forth between the views. Switching from slider to outline view provides a way of figuring out 'where you are', giving you context (in lieu of breadcrumbs). Switching from outline to slider view is useful when the content in the outline would be easier to view in all the area available but still allow navigation. Play with it for a while and I hope you'll agree that it feels very natural.

There are lots of other fixes and changes in this release. Some of the fixes deal with feed and post titles. Feed names are now handled properly and posts without titles are also given more meaningful names (the first 5 words of the post). There are also now 'permalink' links to post items represented by '#' characters. These appear on post titles as standard links so you can copy the url or just click to open.

The behavior of 'launching' a grazr has been significantly changed. It now 'preserves the state' of the grazr you're looking at. This lets you 'keep your place' in the current view, but also allows you to stretch the window for easier reading. It's hard to describe, but try it a few times, you'll see.

On the server side there are some performance optimizations and even better handling of non-standard and 'bad' feeds. Errors should be even more infrequent in this release. (Again, if you find feeds that grazr doesn't handle, let us know! Our processing is getting better all the time.)

This release represents a lot of hard work and the incorporation of lots of great feedback from people. Thanks to all of you that gave ideas and feedback on our preview and pre-preview versions!

Some power user tweaks: One feature that has been requested a few times is the ability to 'override' the Grazr titlebar with a custom message. Adding the query string option "title=XXXX" to grazr (or the embedded code in your template) now allows you to set your own message in the titlebar rather than the opml or feed title.

Another useful feature is the addition of a 'linktarget=XXX' url query string option. This is useful in making Grazr a navigation aid for a webpage. You can set 'linktarget' to the name of an frame, iFrame or a new browser window and *all* links inside of grazr will target that element. You can also set 'linktarget' to _blank to cause grazr to open a new window for each link.