Simple Things

Sometimes it’s the simple, but clever things that are most interesting.  A great example is this post: Sniff browser history for improved user experience

To summarize the post, basically it describes a method to allow you to check if the visitor to a page has visited a specific url (or url’s) recently (ie is in the browser’s history).  The idea is simple: apply a different color to visited links for a set of hidden url’s on the page, and then use javascript to check the color of the url’s.  If the element has the color for visited links, then you know the user has been to that page recently (it’s in the browser history), and if not than the page is not in the history.  Oh so simple, but quite clever.

The article mentions using this to dynamically show various subscribe buttons based on what rss readers are in your browser’s history, but I’m sure there are plenty of other practical applications as well.  Kind of makes me want to clear my own browser history though…

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