All entries for Wednesday 04 March 2009

March 04, 2009

Page template copy wizard for Sitebuilder

Problem: How to help a novice user to create a new page based on a template page. She then needs to be able to change the properties for the page (page title etc), and edit the resulting page. I don't want to simply automate the whole process, but do it in a series of steps so that she learns about the underlying process. A balance is needed between automation and transparency.

Solution: I could automate the whole process so that all she needs to do is complete a simple form and a program does all of the work. Sitebuilder APIs allow that. However, instead I created a wizard that presents each step in the Sitebuilder UI, along with a set of instructions. The Sitebuilder UI is embedded as an iframe (they do occasionaly have their uses). Some code in the container page does the work of forwarding the iframe on to the next step in the process, and displaying the correct set of instructions.

Here's a short movie demonstration:

Steve Carpenter suggests that this approach could be better employed in an AIR application.