Navigating Dropthings ASP.NET

When you first visit Dropthings, which I encourage you to do now,you get a predefined default setup of widgets that you can customize anyway you like.For example, there’s a Flickr photo widget,some RSS feeds, and several community contributed widgets for weather, news,and so on (see Figure).

Your initial visit to Dropthings gives you a predefined template that can be customized

Your initial visit to Dropthings gives you a predefined template that can be customized

On the Dropthings Start page, you can add widgets,remove widgets that you don’t like,and customize individual widgets by clicking on the “edit” link on each title bar.Clicking on the “edit” link brings up the “Settings” area for the widget where you can change its look, feel, and behavior (see Figure).

The photo widget allows you to change the photo stream by clicking on “edit” link on the title bar of widget

The photo widget allows you to change the photo stream by clicking on “edit” link on the title bar of widget

You can also drag-and-drop widgets from one column to another and reorganize the page as you like.When you come back to the page,your customization is preserved even if you did not sign up. However,when you sign up,your pages are saved permanently and you can access them from anywhere (see Figure).

It is possible to have more than one tab (page) of widgets. There’s already a precreated empty second tab where you can add new widgets.So from there, you can add as many tabs as you like.This helps you keep your tabs clean and light and groups relevant widgets in the same location.

Clicking on the “Add stuff” link on the top right of the web page brings up a pop-up widget gallery that shows the list of available widgets (see Figure).rom the list, you can click anywhere on the widget and have it added to your page.After adding it, you can further customize it by clicking on the “edit” link on the widget’s title bar.

You can drag and drop widgets on the page and reorganize the page as you like

You can drag and drop widgets on the page and reorganize the page as you like

Create a “Photo” tab and add a Flickr photo widget to it with Add Stuff; each photo widget shows a specific photo stream from Flickr as defined by the widget’s settings

“Photo” tab and add a Flickr photo widget

At the top part of the page,there’s a bar where you can search the Internet. Search isthe most used function on the Web. Therefore,web portals need to have convenientsearch functionality; otherwise users won’t set a web portal as browser homepage.

The Live.com search bar on the top provides on-site search functionality where the search results are shown right on the page, which allows the user to perform a search without leaving the web portal (see Figure).

The Live.com search bar provides on-site search functionality

The Live.com search bar provides on-site search functionality

As you use the site, you will notice there’s not a single postback of the page.Operations are performed either via asynchronous postback or via JavaScript calls from the browser. You can add/remove widgets,drag-and-drop widgets,and switch tabs without ever causing a postback or refresh of the page.This is what makes Ajax web portals really convenient and fast to use compared to non-Ajax web portals.



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