According to the various sundry purveyors of browser and operating system statistics, Windows 7 either has passed or will soon pass Windows XP in popularity.  These statistics shouldn’t be considered especially authoritative as they represent something of a self-selected group – they are based on data acquired from users who visit websites controlled by whoever is publishing the data.

Several months ago, we wrote about the challenges faced by the software engineer in making their applications Windows 7 compatible.  Today, we would like to discuss a feature that you can add to your website that will take advantage of the taskbar integration between Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9.

In Internet Explorer (sorry, it doesn’t work in Firefox or Chrome currently), open up CNN, Amazon, or Yahoo.  Now, drag the icon in the left of the address bar down to your task bar.  This will “pin” the site to your task bar, but for sites with taskbar integration, it will also add subpages as “tasks” – Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Sports in our example.

In Internet Explorer itself, the back and forward buttons have turned purple and a Yahoo icon has been added to the left of them that works as a home button – if you navigate away from the site, this icon will bring you back.

These features are strikingly easy to add to your website using Microsoft-specific meta headers.  Some of the more common ones are:

  • msapplication-starturl: The root URL for your application.
  • misapplication-navbutton-color: A custom color for the back and forward buttons.  Any HTML color such as “green” or “#800080” can be used.
  • msapplication-task: A task to be added to the jump list.  The format is:

<meta name=”msapplication-task”
content=”name=Display name;action-uri=http://website.com/url;icon-uri=http://website.com/favicon.ico
/>

So in our sample, we have added three tasks, an icon, and custom toolbar colors.

<html>
<head>
    <title>Taskbar Integration Demo</title>
    <link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”http://jasedigitalmedia.com/favicon.ico” />
    <meta name=”msapplication-navbutton-color” content=”#900000″/>
    <meta name=”msapplication-task” content=”name=JASE Digital Media;action-uri=http://jasedigitalmedia.com/;icon-uri=http://jasedigitalmedia.com/favicon.ico” />
    <meta name=”msapplication-task” content=”name=JASE Technology blogs;action-uri=/category/technology-2/;icon-uri=http://jasedigitalmedia.com/favicon.ico” />
    <meta name=”msapplication-task” content=”name=JASE eBusiness Solutions;action-uri=http://jasedigitalmedia.com/ebusiness-solutions/;icon-uri=http://jasedigitalmedia.com/favicon.ico”
/>

</head>
<body>
This is a demo of taskbar integration.  Drag the icon to your task bar to see it in action.
</body>
</html>


Are you looking for ways you can enhance your website?  Contact our web design and eBusiness teams for more ideas.

Photo credit: George Takis

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