StudyBar update

The core of StudyBar has been successfully implemented into all of the major browsers in use today – Firefox, Internet Explorer (6+), Google Chrome, Safari (Snow Leopard requires Safari to be run in 32-bit mode to use StudyBar), and Opera across the Mac and Windows platforms where applicable.

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StudyBar allows users to perform tasks on content displayed in the current webpage, such as inline editing of page styles, spellchecking of text input, dictionary search, text to speech, and much more without need for popups.

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At this stage of development the base loading functionality is working in all browsers, as well as a few of the more basic functions. The Spellchecker framework now works in all browsers, so simply needs tuning so that it works more effectively. Efforts are now concentrated on getting Text to Speech linked up and working in FireFox as well as some of the other browsers, referencing and dictionary working and tuning the text and colour manipulation controls.

Development Log

An issue that has been discovered during development is that the implementations of the supporting technology for StudyBar – Greasemonkey, or UserScripts – are different on almost every browser. FireFox was the original browser to support this technology, and provides a useful API for performing functions which would otherwise be very difficult to implement (for example cross-domain AJAX, data storage in the browser). These API functions are not available in Chrome, Opera, Safari, or Internet Explorer.

Due to this, individual toolbar items are still being developed as implementation must take into account differences between browsers. On top of this, custom implementations of some of the FireFox Greasemonkey API libraries have had to been developed to support the Text to Speech system being developed especially for StudyBar, Spellchecking and persistent storage of preferences.

Another issue for development of StudyBar is support for Internet Explorer 6. Due to the differences between Internet Explorer and most other modern browsers, a large proportion of StudyBar’s codebase has to be implemented differently for it to support even some of the most basic and fundamental functions.