Replicants take their cue from Dolly the sheep in allowing a BView to be cloned and allow you to do Really Neat Things(TM). As cool as replicant technology is, it is only an emerging technology in other operating systems and is unfamiliar to most users in general. As such, it is best left as an extra feature and not the primary mode of operation for a program. Here are some guidelines for using them, however.
- It is appropriate for program to be a replicant if it is a lightweight program which provides information or a feature which the user will want to be able to access frequently.
- Allow for the size of the dragger handle when computing layout
- Be sure it is big enough to not get lost when placed on a busy desktop background. At the same time, do not take over the user's desktop unless he wants this to happen. 32 pixels square is a good minimum size, for example.
- Provide a reliable way for the user to control your replicant. Do not rely on the menu provided by the dragger handle because the handle itself may have been hidden. Instead, provide another means which is immediately obvious or, at the very least, show a pop-up menu if the user clicks on it (with either button) and there are no other clickable controls.
- Place a frame around the replicant's border so that it stands out from its surroundings
- Do not make it too visually distracting. This mainly amounts to avoiding lots of bright colors for the controls and limiting the amount of animation and movement.