Yesterday I’ve blogged about Accelerators Platform and now I’m looking at a website googletranslateclient.com which offers to download a standalone VB6 win32 application that uses google translate service to dynamically translate a selected text.
Funny thing is that this program implements what Accelerator Platform is invented for, but in a very limited and counter-productive way – its functionality is limited to only one service so nobody can enhance it!
I think the best thing Microsoft could do would be to create a program that would capture text select event in any window and add Accelerators group to the context menu of that program!
Or alternatively, if this is too much work, just show Accelerators icon () when any text is selected. I’m not much of a system application developer, so I’m not sure this is easy to do, but I’m sure people would benefit from it and developers wouldn’t need to add Accelerators API support in their apps!
Hope that someone will pick this idea.
The whole concept is really useful – Accelerators Platform provides a unified way to enhance an text-operating application with cross-application plug-ins.
Accelerators Platform provides an abstraction layer between applications and accelerators:
- Accelerators operate with text selection with help of web services
- application implementing Accelerators Platform API can use Accelerators
- user running the application can select a text and choose an accelerator that will use this selection
So it’s like a plug-in platform for text selection plug-ins where plug-ins are application independent and stored in one place, so if an accelerator is installed once, it will be available in any application that supports Accelerators Platform.
The fact that Accelerators become application-independent gives the following benefits:
- usability is better as users have similar behaviour pattern across applications, and it’s easier for them to get used to your application
- you as an application developer don’t have to reinvent the wheel and implement useful text selection enhanced functionality and work on a plug-in architecture
- you as an application developer don’t have to maintain a list of supported text selection plug-ins – they can be found and installed easily from here – the list of accelerators is huge!
- if you want to create your own accelerator for your application, it’s well documented and dead easy – I’ve created 6 accelerators just in 20 minutes! Or your users can do it!
So by supporting Accelerators Platform in your app you allow users to do with the text whatever they like and whatever they are used to!
Just imagine – wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to select address in any application, right click on it and see where it’s located on the map? Or select unknown word in any application and see its definition in Wikipedia? Or select a function name that you’d like to refresh you memory about and see what php.net or msdn have to say? Or select any text and translate it to other language in one click? Or check how much selected TV model costs on ebay?
As Microsoft said, Office 2010 would have Accelerators platform support, and I bet other serious software will support Accelerators Platform as well. Here’s Word 2010 screenshot from msdn:
So go and support Accelerators Platform in your app!