What’s going on?

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We’ve just had a seminar with Guus van den Brekel, lots of interesting stuff, but mostly about giving us new impetus and directions to look at. One of the things he’s really pushing is the “library toolbar”, a toolbar with quick-search capability for library resources. Guus — a very nice fellow — uses Conduit to create a cross-platform toolbar for Firefox and IE.

This seems to have inspired a few people, which is good. Personally, I like the idea as it makes things instantaneously available, which is never a bad thing (going by my own attention span…er…what was I saying?). However, I don’t like the Conduit frame, and am developing a toolbar for my subjects (theoretical and applied linguistics; English lang & lit and religious studies) in XUL/JavaScript for Firefox, with a view to porting to IE later.

Some reasons for this:

  • I am unsure as to what I am signing up for when it comes to third-party solutions
  • I want to be sure I am not distributing buggy software — and if I am, I want to be able to correct the problem
  • Conduit-type solutions — while they do offer an excellent service — are not particularly flexible

What I really want is one toolbar for all my subjects — they have a lot of resources in common — with a user preferences pane that allows users to choose sets of resources and/or individual resources for their personalized toolbar. This means students majoring in English, but who study linguistics as an elective can access their resources from one-and-the-same toolbar. I also want to relegate web searches to a sub menu, where they belong! All of this is quite possible in XUL.

You can see a snapshot here.


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