Letting users change things on the client gives them the impression that they have some control over what they are using. Browser makers already allow users to modify certain aspects of the client. In many desktop applications, the user can also modify colors, fonts, and the basic positioning of objects. You can also incorporate these features into web applications.
One of the major themes of Web 2.0 is interaction between the user and the web application. In essence, this means enabling the user to modify the application in ways that affect how they interact with each other. This could also mean changing the way the application works or interacts with all users of the application. This has far-reaching implications, and you must be careful to ensure that any changes one user makes in an application will not adversely affect all other users.
Changes that affect only the local user of the web application are much safer to make, and quite frankly, are also much easier to implement. For now, we will consider changes for the local user. We will save our discussion of global application changes for later chapters.
When thinking about customizations we want to implement for the user, it’s best to first determine what the browser provides automatically. The first thing that comes to mind, especially in browsers such as Firefox, is the ability to change the browser’s theme. In addition, most browsers also enable users to change such ...