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When I was just entering a comment directed at a specific user, I just noticed the system now has a pop-up "autocomplete" box when the characters typed after @ match one and only one username.

I don't know if I just have poor mouse control, but I often find it tricky to cut&paste a username without accidentally getting whisked of to their profile. So I think this new feature is just dandy.

So I take my hat off to the guys at the code face (as my mark of recognition for their tireless efforts, I won't wear a hat for the next 24 hours! :)

  • My only gripe with it is that it's not there in the mobile version, only the desktop version. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 31 '13 at 20:51
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: That's more due to the limitations of the mobile platform than anything. For one thing, the entry "dropdown" in many cases would have to appear underneath the popup keyboard. And you would have to dismiss the keyboard to even see the list. Don't blame the SE devs for that! – Robusto Jan 1 '14 at 0:30
  • @Robusto, It works fine in the desktop version on the same phone, though. It's a simple HTML element being inserted with an anchor element inside it—surely any modern mobile browser should be able to handle that just fine. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 1 '14 at 0:49
  • Which phone are we talking about? When you engineer a mobile version of an app, there are frequently compromises made for performance and usability. That keyboard really does get in the way, and on iOS devices especially the event handling when the keyboard is "up" can cause some screwy behavior. – Robusto Jan 1 '14 at 0:55
  • I had no idea it worked that way. I assumed it was matching against users that had previously left comments, and then got confused because sometimes it doesn't work. Feel slightly stupid now :D – toryan Jan 5 '14 at 0:58
  • Is this another hat joke? – bib Jan 5 '14 at 23:56
  • @bib: It is. An ill-favoured thing sir, but mine own – FumbleFingers Jan 6 '14 at 0:10
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This feature has been in place as long as I can remember. At the risk of seeming to minimize the achievement of the site's devs, I have to point out that this sort of data-querying "typeahead" feature is pretty common in web applications, and if one can't write such a thing oneself, there are libraries and jQuery plugins available that do the job.

That said, I join you in your somewhat belated praise. Such UI features are essential to a good user experience, and it is pretty clear that such an experience is what the staff seems to have the knowledge, the expertise, and (especially) the intent to provide.

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