I can’t recall the last time I’d been this excited about building a new feature.

My client has a high-touch, high-visibility application — and I mean “high-touch” more in the sense that a lot of people use it, rather than it gets used often (quantity as opposed to duration, I guess). At the top of my clients’ Christmas list this year was a new feature for building and persisting reports that can be used to monitor the progress of work items through their process.

I wanted to build them a reporting engine that was flexible enough to provide insight from multiple data sources, and with an interface that was as familiar and intuitive as possible.

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Web technologies sometimes need a little help to be as useful as people think they should be. And I think that bar was set by the Microsoft Office desktop application years ago. Particularly with the advancement of Web technologies over the past 20 years, the line between web and desktop applications is becoming ever more blurred, making it harder for users to discern what is still not natively possible on the Web.

One small way in which desktop and web technologies still differ is in actioning a form. It’s pretty common for a user to submit a form in a desktop app with the strike of an enter key instead of clicking on a Submit button; so users find it irksome when a similar form isn’t submitted with the enter key in a web application.

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