Web Slices Usage – A Firsthand User Experience

28 Aug. 2012 Software Development

At times when you are working on your computer and your hands are occupied with some munching and sipping you do feel life is much easier with the click-click option. To make life more easier Microsoft launched Web Slices which is a striking feature as part of Internet explorer 8 in the year 2008. Web Slices are snippets of the content of a web page.

It provides you the option of accessing all your favorite content at one click. This avoids you visiting your favorite web page every day and checking for the updates. Web Slices provide you access to the relevant information of those web-pages in a small unit, that you can add in your Favorite bar.

Web Slices

Web Slices contain four major features or steps: Discover, Update, Preview and Navigate. Let’s have a look at how it works. When a user hovers the mouse on a Web Slice, IE discovers it and adds it to feed discovery. Secondly to notify about a change it changes the format of the Web Slice button to bold and gets refreshed in every 15 minutes. To preview the change you can click on the button and it will fly-out to display the cached content. If you find the updates as interesting and want to go to the web page for details simply click on the small arrow/open button.

Most people confuse it with RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, but in reality both are different. RSS feeds are duplicate content of a website that are stored as XML files. Any news reader application can download these XML files and check for the updates. On the other hand web slices are simple HTML to represent a part of your web page.

As a tester I have had the opportunity of testing these web slices. Testers have to perform usability testing, performance testing and integration testing for these web slices. Usability testing comprises of checking whether all relevant information is included in the web slice. It should be simple but useful. Performance testing comprises of the time involved in fetching and refreshing data. Integration testing comprises of checking whether the data is shown in relevance and up to date as well as whether it properly navigates to the website. Huge number of test cases needs to be created and executed if testing of web slices are involved in your project.

Web slices has a lot of potential but unfortunately due to lack of effective advertizing by Microsoft most people consider it as one of the invention that came up with a boom but then quickly blew away. It was too good, enjoying the web slice updates with one click. I use them even now as time saving and energy saving options. So go ahead and subscribe to a few, Enjoy your slices!

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