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Wikipedia WebSlices

Trust the open-source lovin’ contributors at Wikipedia to be early adopters of Microsoft web technologies. Beginning just a couple of days ago, Wikipedia user “Soum Yasch” began building Wiki templates to support the new content-subscription feature in Internet Explorer 8 called WebSlices which allow you to save and retrieve snippets of information from web pages without loading the whole page.

WebSlicesSo far the template is only implemented on the “Acid3” Wiki. On this page it allows users to save a WebSlice of a table which records the web standards test result of different layout engines. As a result, you can then just bring up this table by clicking on the toolbar. As a built-in feature of WebSlices, if the content is ever updated, it will also be highlighted in the toolbar.

Obviously the implementation is a little rough at the moment – the toolbar pop-out is not styled at all and cuts off at the bottom, but it’s a great start to build more adoption for WebSlices and what better place to start than the world’s most popular encyclopedia.

Has anyone seen any implementations WebSlices beyond those originally demoed by eBay, Facebook and MSN?

Speking of which if you’re a Firefox user, you can get in on some of the WebSlices action too with the extension “Webchunks” which emulates the same function. “Anything you can do, I can do better.”

24 insightful thoughts

  1. I suppose it’s my fault, but I still don’t get what webslices are. I barely use RSS so I haven’t bothered to figure out the newfangled thing I won’t use.

    Does anyone know if the crash recovery in IE8 (I heard this is a feature) will remember back button history? I use the IE7 Pro add-on that has crash recovery but can only remember currently open pages.

  2. It’s basically subscribing to a portion of a webpage. A good example will be an Olympics gold medal tally table on the Olympics website. You would subscribe to just this tally, then it’ll show up on your toolbar. Whenever the tally changes, it’ll flash to notify you and when you click it, just the tally (not the whole page) will show up.

  3. I think it’s one of that gimmicks you will be using in an amazement for one week and then forget it altogether…

  4. @ rajo
    I use RSS a lot and I know a lot of other people do too. I think web slices could be very useful in certain situations. I think news and blog sites are a good example of how it could be used.

  5. my internet connection is that fast, why should i use web slices? yes sure, it sounds handy in theory, but as rajo says, this is a feature ill use and forget again. dont see much sense in it, unfortunately.

  6. “my internet connection is that fast, why should i use web slices?”

    Because a webslice telling you if it has been updated is better than periodically having to check if the page has been updated by hand?

  7. While it is obvious that firefox will have extensions that will copy both activities and webslices features into Firefox it don`t means they already work well. right now they are very rough to say the least. maybe by the time IE8 beta 2 comes out. so don`t jump on conclusions to fast there Long.

  8. @fred
    for me exactly not. i can check the whole webiste within a second. i understand that this would make sense on dial up connections or slow broadband, but with nowadays modern connections?
    lets see how this feature evolves – maybe one day its really useful.

  9. It’s not about saving bandwidth, it’s about being notified of new updates. Sure you could check it every 5 minutes but isn’t it better if it tells you when there’s something new?

  10. “Trust the open-source lovin’ contributors at Wikipedia to be early adopters of Microsoft web technologies.”

    That makes no sense at all. Any true open source lover wouldn’t touch M$ with a 10 foot pole.

  11. Now out of the big Four web browsers (Firefox, IE, Opera, Safari) three of them support Web Slice-y-ness in some form, and they are all starting to accept Activities (Flock is a prime example of activities). Epic Win for Innovation+Standardization!

    And I think the purpose of Web Slices is to have them on your divice/desktop for quick review… kinda like having an “istartedsomething.com” link on my Speed Dial (Opera), or RSS feeds of a site, but more home grown.

  12. Yert: Yes! Let’s see how will opensource people react to the fact that nothing important happened in the field of browsers until MS came out with that old despised IE8 :).

    I actually like this feature, it will certainly come handy in some situations (being notified of update of my sports club race list etc.).

  13. I added a webslice to our MSFT-YHOO Documents Timeline page, which gets added to periodically (but by no means regularly or daily), and is a good candidate for Webslices, I think. A couple of thoughts though:
    -need more control over what shows up in the webslice window. Cutting off the bottom is a problem, etc.
    -I can see the “favorites (links)” toolbar being filled up very quickly. What happens if webslices takes off and you subscribe to 20 or 50 webslices? A webslice reader? Webslice reading in your RSS reader?
    -would be good to have some better clues on the page/site that webslices are available

  14. I think it’s quite a useful feature as a complement (I hope that’s the correct usage) to RSS. But, what percentage of the internet actually use RSS? Outside of my more technical-minded friends, nobody I know actually uses it and I think that’s the way WebSlices will go.

  15. @marco: “for me exactly not. i can check the whole webiste within a second.”

    The point is that you don’t -have- to check the website.

    ” i understand that this would make sense on dial up connections or slow broadband, but with nowadays modern connections?”

    It has nothing to do with bandwidth. It’s about notifications, instead of manually surfing to a website periodically to see if something has changed.

  16. In answer to your question about implementations beyond eBay, FB etc… Yes 🙂 I’m with a company called Me.dium, we make a social-browsing add-on, and MSFT actually presented our WebSlice Discovery and Activity pieces at the IE8 launch. We’d love for you to check it out and give us your thoughts.


    Me.dium username: pjn

  17. I personally prefer PageSlices addon for Firefox for creating web slices from any portion of any web site. You can even store multiple web slices on user pages and create your personal gallery of slices

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