Single user, multiple workflows

Ray Davis ray at media.berkeley.edu
Wed Sep 26 18:46:27 UTC 2007


With wide-ranging, "sticky", multi-faced web spaces such as most 
Sakai and uPortal deployments (or Yahoo, Google, or, to a lesser 
extent, Amazon), words like "site" and "application" become 
ambiguous. This ambiguity should be taken advantage of rather than ignored.

To put it another way, besides switching contexts in a single browser 
frame, I'd like to give Sakai users the ability to tear off a new 
window or browser-tab from any link that doesn't post updates to the 
DB, and then maintain parallel workflows complete with back-button 
support and reasonable page titles. Google doesn't keep me from 
monitoring my email while I'm paging through a search or drafting a 
post; similarly, I want to let university instructors work on more 
than one course site, monitor more than one discussion, compare the 
progress of different lab sections, experiment with various grade 
weightings, etc. This goes nicely with support for "maximized" views 
of complex screen-size-hungry applications, where portal decorations 
are trimmed to a minimum.

Almost every time I see a discussion of how to make the Sakai 
portal's embedded tabbed panel less awkward, this goes through my 
head. I strongly agree we need to improve management of "tabbed" 
[i.e., switchable] contextual views within a single browser frame. 
But how would people feel about _explicitly_ stating support for 
multiple active contextual views? I ask now because this is something 
that some Java development approaches make harder.

Ray




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