Screen Navigator next steps

Colin Clark colinbdclark at
Fri Aug 14 21:39:56 UTC 2009

Hey all,

A few of us developers met today to chat about the Screen Navigator  
component and our next steps with it. Here's a quick summary of the  

The Screen Navigator is a component designed to provide native-like  
iPhone interactions on the Web. It works alongside the Fluid Skinning  
System's mobile themes, and is responsible for managing navigation  
between chunks of HTML markup that represents a screen's worth of  
content. Screen Navigator coordinates the low-level event handling and  
CSS3 transitions to make the end-user experience entirely idiomatic to  
the device, just as if it were a native iPhone application written in  

There are a number of assumptions embedded in the Screen Navigator  
style of interaction, including:

  * It's designed to support a native app-style of interaction, rather  
than browser-style. In other words, it's optimized for use in full- 
screen mode, without all the additional browser "chrome" including the  
address bar, back buttons, and so on. As a result, it needs to be run  
as a home screen bookmark (requiring the user to set it up this way)  
or as an embedded UIWebView inside a downloaded app.

* It's designed to mimic the look and feel of a native iPhone  
application as closely as possible (and can potentially be extended to  
support other styles in the future)

This approach makes a number of noteworthy trade-offs, including the  
removal of browser-based bookmarking, back button, and history  
management. In a standard Web-based deployment, this can be very  
awkward. Given these trade-offs, we decided that it's best to ensure  
that the Screen Navigator doesn't impose any specific contract on the  
markup or Web application it is being used with. That way, we can  
ensure that HTML content will work correctly with or without the  
Screen Magnifier present. Jacob and Antranig are going to dive into  
some of the tweaks required to the current implementation to ensure  
this is the case.

I think the Screen Navigator is going to be a really exciting tool we  
can offer to Infusion and Engage users for building compelling  
experiences for mobile devices. Like our other components, we'll make  
sure it doesn't infringe on the content author's ability to adapt and  
repurpose their user interfaces in other contexts.


Colin Clark
Technical Lead, Fluid Project

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