Hopefully you’re all familiar with the phrase in the heading and it’s not some strange quirky British turn of phrase that’s got many of you scratching your heads. It is, though, the perfect phrase for describing what I feel about Ma.gnolia‘s sign in screen. It’s not the first time I’ve had issues with over complicated log in pages (complicated in terms of how it’s built) and I dare say it won’t be the last. And just like last time I posted on this topic, I’m expecting that I’ll get comments that will range from "You’re right, this is way over complicating the process – have they not heard of web standards?", through "It’s actually very hard to build sites that use progressive enhancement propely without massive amounts of code forking" to "stop blaming frameworks". But please read on before heading straight to the comments.
So, why am I picking on Magnolia (I’m dropping the ‘.’ in the name from here on in) and what eaxactly is wrong with it?
In the last week or so, us WaSPs have been discussing various options for sharing links so that we do not necessarily have to write a full post that may look forced ("We have all this space to fill, let’s pad it out!"). It’s nothing ground-breaking, all the cool kids do it. But what system do we use? We could use WordPress’ built-in functionality, or del.icio.us or we could use Magnolia. My feeling was basically "Meh, whatever". It’s all the same to me – as long as I get a login, I’m not bothered which service is used as they all essentially do a fairly simple thing and the output would be identical. Magnolia seemed to be gathering steam as the favourite tool, so I registered while at home and got added to the group. When I tried logging on at my workplace it was a different matter. Like a number of sites/apps, it didn’t work for me because part of the script was being blocked by the company firewall. I’ve actually come to expect that with each new web site redesign, there is a good chance that some level of functionaility will be blocked.
So, back to the point at hand: using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The ‘nut’ in this instance is a form login. It could be done as simply as this:
<form action="/processlogin/" method="post">
<label for="username">User name</label>
<input type="text" name="username" id="username" />
<label for="pass">User name</label>
<input type="password" name="pass" id="pass" />
<input type="submit" value="login" />
And here’s the sledgehammer approach (snipped for ‘brevity’ and with some forced carriage returns to make it fit):
<form action="http://ma.gnolia.com/signin" id="signin_form" method="post">
<h1>Please sign in Below</h1>
<p><label for="signin">Email Address or Screen Name:</label><br />
<input class="text" id="signin" name="signin" size="30" type="text" /></p>
<p><label for="user_password">Password:</label><br />
<input class="text" id="password" name="password" size="30" type="password" value="" /></p>
<p><a class="button green" href="#" id="submit_button"
onclick=" ; submit_form=true; $('submit_button_718533').click();
$('submit_button_718533').disabled = 'disabled';
this.className='button green disabled';; return false;">
<span>Sign& nbsp; In</span></a>
<input class="hidden_submit" id="submit_button_718533"
src="http://gnolia.cachefly.net/images/clear.gif?1158369449" type="image" />
<a href="http://ma.gnolia.com/password">Forgot Your password?</a>
So my questions are "why is it necessary to have all these scripts for a lowly login screen" (possible answer: it’s just to preload them into cache on a simple screen) but more importantly, why not just use a simple form as demonstrated earlier? Why use that proverbial sledgehammer to crack that nut?
As it stands, if I want to use Magnolia at my place of work (and I’m more likely to spot something standards-related while browsing over lunch or whatever). I have to do the following, using something like the Web Developer Toolbar:
- Disable CSS (to reveal the hidden login
inputof type image)
- Tab to the hidden button which is still pretty much hidden (it’s the old ‘clear gif’ routine) as I cannot see it on the screen to mouse to it
But frankly I’d rather use del.icio.us.
Now it’s over to you. And go easy with those nut-crackers, all.
- #1 On October 25th, 2006 4:46 am