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Omar Zabir's Portal
November 12, 2002 7:37 PM   Subscribe

Omar Zabir's Portal. It's a DHTML/Javascript tour de force. But is it for real, or a subtle joke? (IE only, I'm afraid, but worth booting Windows for).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen (41 comments total)

 
man omar must have a lot of free time on his hands and has had way too much of the kool-aid from redmond.

i liked when i clicked on the "me" icon i got this:

Microsoft VBScript runtime error '800a01a8'

Object required: 'document.documentElement'

D:\O\A\OAZABIR\WWW\MYSITE\../visit.asp, line 108
posted by birdherder at 7:47 PM on November 12, 2002


That is amazing. Wonder how long that took?
posted by phatboy at 7:57 PM on November 12, 2002


o_O
posted by y0bhgu0d at 8:07 PM on November 12, 2002


This is awesome!
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 8:10 PM on November 12, 2002


HOLY CRAP
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 8:13 PM on November 12, 2002


Wow. Very interesting. Granted, it's IE-only, which sucks (I love my Phoenix!) and it could be really really irritating if used improperly (like, for any normal website), but it could have some sort of useful application... I think.

Cool for it's sheer "Wow, you can do that (without making a huge Flash plugin)?" value alone, at any rate. And the fact that it must have taken ages to do.
posted by silvermask at 8:18 PM on November 12, 2002


(by the way, did anyone notice the privacy policy? the one where Omar tells you he's collecting your email addresses and contact information? yeah, that one.)
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 8:21 PM on November 12, 2002


Oh, that's just wrong!
posted by shecky57 at 8:26 PM on November 12, 2002


But, on second thought, I can't wait to try this in IE 5 on Mac OS X at work tomorrow...
posted by shecky57 at 8:28 PM on November 12, 2002


Bleah. No, I'm sorry, that is not cool at all... its scary, is what that is. I wish someone had warned me that it was going to take over my entire computer before I'd clicked on it ... I didn't hang around long enough to see what the purpose was, I'm afraid. I'm not a fan of things you have to CTL+ALT+DEL to escape from, thanks.

Bleah. I think I'll go wash my computer now....
posted by anastasiav at 8:35 PM on November 12, 2002


anastasiav: ctrl-w will close a window ;)
posted by y0bhgu0d at 8:39 PM on November 12, 2002


There was also a "shut down" option in the simulated start menu that closed the window. Pretty neat, but not entirely new. I remember when people first did this with the win 98 interface.
posted by Nothing at 8:43 PM on November 12, 2002


I am running WIN2K PRO and I.E. 6.0.2800.1106 128 bit and this does nothing but show me a black background?????

What is it all about?
posted by arse_hat at 9:08 PM on November 12, 2002


Since the posted description is almost completely nondescriptive, and the thing apparently works only within a narrow set of environments: Would someone who has seen this thing care to tell us what we're missing?
posted by majick at 9:19 PM on November 12, 2002


Would someone who has seen this thing care to tell us what we're missing?

Well, as far as I could tell, it was all very cyber, and the black screen started "printing out" information in these neat little William Gibson-esque lines about my browser platform and my plugins and stuff and then I slammed that window shut so hard I bet I broke it.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:44 PM on November 12, 2002


anastasiav: your standard alt-F4 would have also closed it, along with choosing the "shutdown" option off the start button, along with alt-tab out of it to another application.

It's not fair to say it "took over your entire computer". It only "took it over" in the same sense that a full screen video or screen saver does.

I hope someone is paying this guy very well to do design work.

RJ: holy cow man.... easy on the caffeine brother. It is perfectly harmless.

What it shows: a full screen rendition of a Win2k desktop, complete with wallpaper, icons, taskbar, and functioning START button. The menus expand and dissolve. If you open an "application" it also appears on the task bar.

Basically, imagine a web site that is in the exact same UI form and functionality of a Windows 2k desktop.

I think it's both a poke at the windows OS as well as an interesting experiment in site navigation. I mean, many users are already familiar with that interface, why not co-opt it for site navigation?

I see it smack-dab on the line that separates stupid from brilliant.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:57 PM on November 12, 2002


It didn't work the first time I tried it, so I tried it a second time. It worked, and I was actually impressed for a while (despite the IE-only idiocy) -- until it crashed Internet Exploder. How typical.
posted by livingdots at 10:18 PM on November 12, 2002


I hope someone is paying this guy very well to do design work.

I hope someone is easing this guy's patellas off with ViseGrips.

I mean, many users are already familiar with that interface, why not co-opt it for site navigation?

Because it sucked in the first place?

I see it smack-dab on the line that separates stupid from brilliant.

I see it as smack-dab on the line that separates stupid from annoying.
posted by nicwolff at 10:21 PM on November 12, 2002


that's awesome. i've seem similar sites using mac OS and winME. it looks great and is very functional.
posted by suprfli at 10:30 PM on November 12, 2002


Sorry if I should have been more descriptive - the shock value was part of the effect for me.

It's a reasonable facsimile of the Win2K GUI, done in IE, and co-opted to become navigation elements in Omar Al Zabir's personal site.

Personally, I think it's hideous and wrong on many levels, but it's super-impressive. I love it when people do bad things really, really well.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:35 PM on November 12, 2002


Is anyone else struck by the sledgehammer-like irony that this is only usable from a windows platform?
posted by gsteff at 10:44 PM on November 12, 2002


Er, except for IE on Macs.

*Covers face in shame and runs away*
posted by gsteff at 12:32 AM on November 13, 2002


so how was it made? That's what I want to know.
posted by SpaceCadet at 12:43 AM on November 13, 2002


on second thoughts, having seen a script error, it looks like ASP (using VBScript) on an IIS platform....all Microsoft
posted by SpaceCadet at 12:44 AM on November 13, 2002


Man, you anti-MS people are single-minded. Oh no, it's a web page that simulates an MS product! Run away! :)

Pretty impressive, and I found the navigation to be very intuitive. Looks to me like he's found a fun way to use the technology he learned in those MS Certification classes he took (click on the My Life icon).
posted by ukamikanasi at 1:17 AM on November 13, 2002


I too thought it was interesting and impressive. Thanks to linking to it! Regarding navigation I thought it was intuitive and well-implemented.

The site doesn't "take over your computer" it opens a web page that is larger than your screen which makes it look like your desktop (complete with task bar at the bottom and clickable icons) But lots of sites create that effect these days (for no good reason, mostly) whereas this guy has a reason for wanting that effect.
posted by lucien at 3:24 AM on November 13, 2002


How long until pop-up ads start exploiting this technique?!
posted by effer27 at 4:13 AM on November 13, 2002


lots of sites create that effect these days

hmmm. i've never had a screen without menu bar before, and i look at a lot of sites (although more with mozilla than ie). the right-click menu was useless and if i'd not remembered ctrl-w from this thread i'd have been stuck (i don't know windows shortcut keys - i use the mouse (and emacs and similar unixy tools for software dev)).

those MS Certification classes he took

anyways, it then crashed but, assuming that it works like other people say, why is this guy doing ms certification? is the job market that bad in the usa? i'd be happy to employ anyone who could show me something impressive (programming-wise) that they've created themselves - it's much more convincing than any certificate. although the fact that it crashed for me counts against it... ;o)
posted by andrew cooke at 4:23 AM on November 13, 2002


How long until pop-up ads start exploiting this technique?!

They already do...they feature close and minimize buttons that are part of the ad...
posted by Orange Goblin at 4:36 AM on November 13, 2002


Whats with all the errors? Or did it get MeFied?
posted by twine42 at 4:49 AM on November 13, 2002


"hmmm. i've never had a screen without menu bar before."

Well, ok, I can assure you there are examples out there, either using chromeless windows and not having included or replaced the menu bar, or having sized the screen so large that the menu isn't viewable.

"if i'd not remembered ctrl-w from this thread i'd have been stuck"

Are you using windows? If so you can also control-alt-delete and close down that particular window.
posted by lucien at 5:14 AM on November 13, 2002


"DHTML/Javascript tour de force"?

I see a collection of pretty simple DHTML effects. Exactly what about this is so impressive?
posted by syzygy at 5:16 AM on November 13, 2002


Just to clarify, the site in question looks and acts like an XP desktop, not a Win2k desktop. I know, *nix geeks will just end up saying that's like the difference between arsenic and hemlock, but Win2k is actually far less domineering than XP ("let's just shove this interface down your throat... our scientists have told us you will like it).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:40 AM on November 13, 2002


Exactly what about this is so impressive?

I think just the sheer bloody-mindedness involved in recreating the behaviour of the MS-Win desktop in DHTML is what's grabbing people, you wonder why anyone would bother but you have a grudging sense of admiration for someone that actually did it.
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:44 AM on November 13, 2002


I agree with syzygy. The DHTML behind this isnt very compex at all and the site is very buggy in terns of server side scripting errors too.

Maybe Omar isnt finished yet but there is so much more he could do to emulate the windows 2k ui. When was the last time you used a non resizable window (other than popup) or maximised a window and then returned it to normal size to find the size had changed for example...and wheres the search or control panel, custom right click menu allowing you to change the display settings etc etc

Its a long way towards where its heading and if thats what bakes your biscuit then great, but its a little half baked at the moment...
posted by berto at 5:51 AM on November 13, 2002


You guys are just jealous =)
posted by XiBe at 6:00 AM on November 13, 2002


The page cannot be displayed
There is a problem with the page you are trying to reach and it cannot be displayed.


Oh, well.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2002


I could do the same thing in Flash and it would work in more browsers, and it would be better... I would do this... but it has been done. The fact that he did it all in DHTML is the only amazing part, but even so, what's the big deal?
posted by banished at 9:48 AM on November 13, 2002


I'm pretty sure it got me-fied - it was working fine when i first posted it, and got worse and worse.

Andrew Cooke, he's not in the USA, but India. Why would you assume he was American?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:13 AM on November 13, 2002


He is actually in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His 'My life' "application" says this.

All said and done, a fairly impressive piece of work, this site.
posted by mumbaiyaa at 2:33 PM on November 13, 2002


Whoa!

or

Many that have been here a while see these minimally descriptive posts as the glaringly tiresome....oh forget it, it's not even worth finishing this post, point made I guess, ya know?

posted by yonderboy at 5:23 PM on November 13, 2002


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