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Rubber Band for Web Apps

A simple alternative to the tedious checkbox approach
  [vote for,

PROBLEM: Everyone who uses any kind of web e-email application knows this problem. You want to select a subset of items in your inbox, but 'select all' is just not enough. Moreover, the thought of individually clicking a bunch of little checkboxes makes your eyes glaze.

SOLUTION: An implementation of the well-known "rubber band tool" that is in virtually every major GUI platform out there. If you use MSFT Windows, you can understand what I mean simply by going to 'windows explorer' and drag the mouse over some files.

I would like to have a way to do *exactly* the same thing in Web Apps that you can do in 'windows explorer'

RATIONALE: This is a very simple idea, but so far I have never seen a web application that allows you to do something like this, as they almost always tend to employ a 'checkbox' strategy with the ability to 'select all' or 'select none'.

ALTERNATIVES: There are some alternative approaches that make checkboxes less tedious (such as combining 'tags' or 'keywords' or 'labels' to items, and allowing a user to apply 'select all' to an arbitrary subset based on keywords. The drawback of this alternative is that it ordinarily does not allow the user to combine multiple subsets.

(UPDATE: posting is shorter and took out CTRL key reference).

drefty, Jan 24 2006


       This is a bit long. Any chance of shortening it, please?   

       I am confused. Do you mean use a literal GUI rubber band to select items by dragging a box around them, or simply a more flexible system utilising the ability to press CTRL and select multiple subsets? Or is it both? Or am I just completely confused?
dbmag9, Jan 24 2006

       I was thrown off a bit by the mention of the CTRL key as well. I eventually assumed that it was the traditional rubber band that also allowed non-contiguous selections of additional items by using the CTRL key.   

       With sufficient client side scripting, I imagine that this could be done as presented.   

       For ultimate flexibility, I guess you'd want the boxes to be selected and their desired state be specified once they're selected.   

       I wouldn't mind combining the checkbox with the rubber band and having all checkboxes within the boundary of the rubber band go to "checked". Automatically unchecking via rubber band might be less intuitive.
half, Jan 24 2006

       [half] yes you are right on all accounts. I would have sworn that someone had already scripted something like this, but so far I have seen *nothing* in a Web-based app that uses this approach. Not even in 'rich client apps' that use fancy flash or svg.
drefty, Jan 25 2006

       this is shorter than the original post ? what's it missing ? can we have the original back?
neilp, Jan 25 2006


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