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The act of clicking a computer mouse can be tedious. I ve come to this realization because when I have to click on a website more than I think necessary, I become unsatisfied and sometimes even agitated. Sites that require unnecessary clicks and mouse moves quickly disappear from my favorites list and probably disappear from yours too. A quick search on the internet reveals an abundance of links that point to articles on this very topic. In fact, experts earn good money in checking the usability of highexposure websites. When you stop and think about what happens when a user clicks on a link, you understand exactly why it can be so annoying. When the user clicks a link, a request is sent off to the web server for a new page to be created and sent back to the browser. This process is referred to as round-tripping or a postback which is the term that we ve been using in this book when a page round-trips to itself. Part of the problem with a round-trip is that all the HTML must be sent from the web server to the browser, and this takes time. Surfing around the internet today, we can see that many pages take several seconds to load; it s this time that is the cause of the angst that is associated with mouse clicks. Because mouse clicks can cause long waits for users, it s important to pay attention to this issue and to constantly strive to remove clicks whenever possible. In the next section we ll find some of the redundant mouse clicks in our portal and remove them by finding smarter ways to present user interface options to our users.
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Reducing mouse clicks Now that we have a good understanding of the cost that is associated with mouse clicks, let s make some adjustments to the AdventureWorks portal to reduce the clicks required to perform common editing tasks. There are a couple of things that we ll do. First we ll automatically add an edit verb to each web part that will be displayed to users that are authorized to perform edits on the page. Providing the edit verb will allow users to place a web part into edit mode with just a single click compared with the two clicks that are currently required. Figure 7.8 shows how our web parts will appear to our portal users at all times after we ve added our new edit verb.
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If you don t have a copy of the project from 6 you can grab it from the 6 section of the resources website for this book.
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Enabling single-click editing At the beginning of this chapter we looked at how many mouse clicks are required to edit the properties of a web part and we saw that four clicks are required. Remember that the first step in the process was to place the page into edit mode. We did this because, by default, the edit verb is only displayed when the the page is in edit mode and we need to use the edit verb to edit a web part. Placing the page in edit mode requires a postback which, as we ve been discussing, can be the source of angst for our users. 214
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CREATING AN ENHANCED EDITING EXPERIENCE
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Figure 7.8 The edit verb that is shown here is a custom verb that replaces the standard edit verb and is always available to authenticated users even when the current page is not in edit mode.
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We ll now learn how to ensure that an edit verb is always available to our users so that web parts can be edited with just a single click, thereby removing the initial postback to the server. The steps involved with enabling single-click editing are Ensure that the in-built edit verb is not rendered. Add our own edit verb to each web part on the page. Write code that runs when the user clicks the edit verb to place the page in edit mode and select the web part for editing. When we were working with web parts in chapter 2 we saw that there are zone verbs such as edit, connect, close and delete that get added to all web parts by the zone that contains them. We also saw that custom verbs can be added to individual web parts by overriding the Verbs property of the web part and returning instances of the WebPartVerb class. Because we want our new edit verb to be present on all web parts, it is more analogous with the zone verbs than the custom verbs that are added individually on each web part. For this reason it makes sense to add our verb at the zone level rather than adding it for every web part. By adding the verb individually on each part we would run the risk of missing some web parts and then our behavior would be inconsistent. The WebPartZone class contains a method named OnCreateVerbs that we can override to create verbs and have them added to all web parts that are contained by the zone. So we ll use this method to hide the in-built edit verb and replace it with our own. To be able to write code in the OnCreateVerbs method we must create a custom WebPartZone class and then use it in the portal. The following snippet of code shows how to create a custom WebPartZone class:
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public class PortalWebPartZone : WebPartZone { }
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