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Updated Toolbars

 
   

Challenge

One of our clients addressed to us with a task to create a toolbar for two popular browsers � Mozilla Firefox and MS Internet Explorer. This toolbar has to have the following features:
  • Display links to sites in a form of menu items;
  • Display information from RSS channels;
  • Support search on different sites;
  • Support its structure update after user installed in on information base received from the site of toolbar�s company-owner;
  • For both browsers the toolbar should be installed and uninstalled by one installer.

Solution

For the implementation of this project KBSoft team used a set of tools and technologies, different for each browser. Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 abilities and .Net Framework platforms were used to create a toolbar for MS Internet Explorer. JavaScript abilities and the language of interface description XUL were used to create a toolbar for Mozilla Firefox.

We developed a toolbar structure, supporting necessary control elements and implemented it for both browsers. The first part of the structure was a menu with information about toolbar and product site, and also searchbox for search with the help of Google.

The control's architecture is also flexible enough to allow further enhancement (addition of new charts, indicators, rendering technologies, etc.)


Further an arbitrary number of buttons, opening either list of links:

  or RSS channel followed:



A mechanism at which the toolbar checks the presence of fresh updates on the product site was created for the update of the structure. For that, it downloads update_config.xml file from the product site in which all buttons and their menu are described and it also contains a date pointing if the structure of each button was updated or not.

This fragment demonstrates one of the records in update_config.xml file for toolbar button:

 <button index="1" version="2008-06-26T10:53:46-04:00">   <url>
     http://www.jeaks.com/games/update/cheatssearch.xml
  </url>
</button>

Version attribute indicates a date when this file was updated. If after downloading of this file it is discovered that the date was modified, a file, the address of which is indicated in element <url> (in this case it is cheatssearch.xml), will be downloaded. This file described the structure of one button of the toolbar.

We used Inno Setup Compiler to create an attractive installer. Thus, for the installation of a toolbar, a user have to go over several steps of installation wizard in order to installer the toolbar into both browsers.



Software and Services

C#, JavaScript, XML, MS Visual Studio.NET 2005, XUL.

Results

In the result of the project implementation the client received a toolbar installed into two most popular browsers. Moreover, he received a mockup for creating an arbitrary number of toolbars supporting update from the site, which allows to modify information displaying in the already installer toolbars.