The Shelf: Topbar or Classic

Published on 15 February 2006

One of my first task for Flock was to take the torch from Daryl and give a lifting to the Shelf. In the Flock web browser, the Shelf is a place where you can put content from the web (a link, an excerpt, an image...) to drag it later to Flock's blog editor (or any other text entry) to blog about it. I actually did it for this release, and now the Shelf has a new skin and a new engine. The new interface I think this is obvious for people who played with Flock 0.4, but the Shelf is now a topbar rather than a popup window, and have a nice black look homogeneous with the rest of the browser. The topbar has several advantages. First, some users associate "popup window" to "advertisement", and don't like them whatever the content is. Then, most Windows users (and some Linux users) like to have their browser window in full screen. To use a popup-like shelf, they have to resize their window, change position, something they're not used to do. Finally, it gives an homogeneous experience with the photo browser and other Flock modules. Well, I guess some people like the popup Shelf anyway. They can have very good reasons, and I recommand them to read the end of this post. The new engine The Shelf's engine is now an xpcom component, storing it data in an RDF datasource. What does it means for extension developers?
  • You can use templates to represent the Shelf's data in your xul files. Just use the datasource "rdf:flock-shelf"
  • You can access to the Shelf's data very easily, for example to add or remove elements.
Ex.: var data = new RichObject() data.type = "link"; data.title = "Flock"; data.src = '<a xhref="http://www.flock.com" mce_href="http://www.flock.com" >Flock</a>'; data.webPageUrl = location; flock.shelf.service.insert(data, -1); Basically, you can insert any object implementing flockIRichObject interface. The API of the shelf is still work in progress, but I will do my best to make the Shelf usable by any third party developer. You can help me by telling me in a comment what you would like to do as an extension developer. What about the classic Shelf? Yes, the classic Shelf. The popup stuff. Some people like it, in particular Mac users who are used to have several small windows, not maximized. Here is a screenshot for people who just discovered Flock: Classic%20Shelf I have a bad news and a good news for the lovers of the Classic Shelf. The bad news: it's no longer in Flock, and it will never be. Topbars are the Flock way. The good new: I adapted the code of the Classic Shelf to the new engine, and packaged it as an extension. Here is the Classic Shelf extension ! Disclamer: This is a non-official Flock extension. There is no guarantee that it will be maintained and updated to work with further version of Flock. Also, please post a comment on this page for bugs or feature enhancements, don't open bugs on Flock's buzilla.

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