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Nutbush City Limits

Dear all,

some days before I wrote (and thought):

> great thing this CityDesk 2.0.19!

Today I don't think so any more. And I had a hard time changing my mind, because CD was so impressive at a first glance. Be sure, I really spent 3 while days to evaluate many available resources including TK's website (very nice), FogCreeks site and _many_ others.

CityDesk might be good for bloggers (and seems to be written with them in mind), but it suffers, when it comes to sites with a well organized but deep structure.

* The most important limit

There is no documented way to get a site, that reflects the well organized structure into menus and submenus. CityDesk just does NOT support this, as it is. There are ways to mimic that, but they all are WORKAROUNDS.

Most notably here is Peter Mathijssen's "GilaTwo", very well done _inside_ the CityLimits (available at http://templates.fogcreek.com/ ). But it requires plain users without any knowledge to tweak around with several fields in the 'extra' section, else it fails. Note, that this was the very best I was able to find and that it is NOT provided by FogCreek, but an engaged individual!

Others (e.g. Dr. Steinhauser, see http://die-steinhaeuser.de/test.php ) have sort of what one (I) needs, but keep it secret, just telling us: 'use clever keywords'. (Not to offend you Steffen)! Huh? Keywords? When the structure of the site is well known?

This all reveals serious lacks of City Script. Joel's attempt to make things easy is good, as long as end users are involved (and then the quiet rewrite of HTML without warning often comes into the way). But restricting the Designer/Developer is false.

It could be so simple: just give us patterns (at least shell ones, better perl ones) to access files.

Then it would be possible to have loops, that access the current dir only:

  foreaech x in (".")

or the level just beneath:

  foreach x in ("./*")

or this and the next level:

  foreach x in (".  ./*")

or this, the next and the second next:

  foreach x in (".  ./*  ./*/*")

or even the level just above

  foreach x in ("..")

and with this feature it would be (more) easy to do menus and submenus dynamically, without the need to tweak.

Did I step on someones feet?

Yes, I did, sorry to all _users_ of CityDesk. If CD does what you want, simply ignore my opinion and continue your good work! I'll continue to read.

Yes, I did by intention, onto Joels feet. Please wake up, though I'm desperately waiting for a german version of CityDesk for my customers, it is more important to give developers more flexibility!

As I've read some of 'Joel on software' I know for sure, that FogCreek actually uses some source code control system (e.g. CVS). So, when I take Joel's statements for true it should be relatively easy for FogCreek to provide us all with a 2.0.21 out of 2.0.19 without any hassels of ongoing development. (I use CVS myself).

Please note, that I'm still trying to use and sell CityDesk, but more support of user requests is neccessary. I'm really not the first person to tell FogCreek missing features (though possibly the most shouting one) without reaction.

Expecting some flames

yours, for today

Georg

xlerb (Georg Rehfeld)
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Hi Georg,

You say,
"There is no documented way to get a site, that reflects the well organized structure into menus and submenus. CityDesk just does NOT support this, as it is. There are ways to mimic that, but they all are WORKAROUNDS."

Personally I like the workarounds because it makes me work in HTML or Cityscript a lot of the time. So I don't mind that at all.

"Most notably here is Peter Mathijssen's "GilaTwo", very well done _inside_ the CityLimits (available at http://templates.fogcreek.com/ ). But it requires plain users without any knowledge to tweak around with several fields in the 'extra' section, else it fails."

See my answer above. I knew users would have to tweak around when the use the template. That people have to tweak around in the "extra" section is in my opinion no problem. But they also have to tweak around in variables or in HTML view because Citydesk doesn't support <h1></h1> tags. (I know i can make variables of them). That's a much bigger problem.

The following piece is form the Fogcreek website:

"Our customers tell us it has: they're universally ecstatic about the quality of our work. And we're still in business, which actually says a lot these days! Stay tuned, you'll be hearing a lot more about us in the future. "

Two things are not right here. First, when i read this Forum I see people that miss a lot of things in Citydesk. Second, I don't hear a lot, in fact I hear nearly nothing about the development of Citydesk.

Simple questions like the one about version 2.0.20 isn't answered. Why is there so little communication between users and Fogcreek. What if all of us would post there questions here and to citydesk@fogcreek.com? The Fogcreek site says "We answer all email to these addresses within one business day". Maybe we can get more information from that than from this forum.

I still think Citydesk is great and i will keep using it, but the lack of communication is very irritating.

PeterM

PeterM
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I couldn't agree more! But I have given up hope long ago that Fog Creek will ever listen to voices from this forum. And while I wait for CD3 I try out every other possibility in sight – Namo WebEditor (flawless switches from html to normal view and back) , Go Live CS and WebWiz Forum (everything works here) is leading the pack of CD substitutes right now. But so far no other program has given me the ease and (relative) flexibility of CD, I have to give Fog Creek that much credit. But the moment I find a way to make automatic navigation the way CD does ... well, I hope that "way" will be CD3.

Jorgen Brenting
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

@ Georg and the others

I would like to state two things at least:

(1) I appreciate the open discussion and I am not at all offended since the discussions leads to the pro's and con's of CD and doesn't contain any personal critics.

(2) The link to my pages is http://www.die-steinhaeuser.de and not the ugly 'Stopp Spam!' page ... 8-)))

Yes, CD might not be perfect. Yes, CD is at the end not yet well suited for easy use with out any technical know-how. However, the advantages are IMHO more to stay and wait. I also hope to be heared by Fogcreek. There is lot to do and reading in this forum shows me, that there are even people waiting and also paying for it (at the end, if it is well done).

For me as a sales person it would be a perfect situation for my hundreds of developers. However, my customer situations is not as good as for Fogcreek.

I like the idea to summarize the new features wanted and to address Fogcreek more directly. Maybe it helps some day. During this time it is good to know, that there is a lot of constructive critics and help in this forum.

See you again, Steffen

Dr. Steffen Steinhäuser
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

----------------------------

Hi again,

PeterM wrote:

> Personally I like the workarounds because it makes me
> work in HTML or Cityscript a lot of the time. So I don't
> mind that at all.

Hmmm, I understand, that you like to have better control over your output. But wouldn't it be better to have PRECISE control in your templates? And just have one template, where now several ones, mostly identical, are neccessary, just because City Script is so brain damaged?

E.g. when one needs all the 'index.html' files just one level beneath the current directory (to have some submenu) it can currently only be done via specifying an explicit path to the current dir, and then the neccessary '/*' at the end not only delivers the next level, but all levels beneath.

This is stupid.

A way to reference the current dir is needed: the '.', as in every shell, command.exe, cmd.exe!

And a way to access files relatively from the current dir is needed, again as in every shell!

That would make template writing MUCH more easy.

And often would not require to use EXTRA fields, as all neccessary code would be in one template.

> But they also have to tweak around in variables or in
>  HTML view because Citydesk doesn't support
> <h1></h1> tags.

What? Uhh yes, you are right. I didn't notice, but this counts as a very important City Limit.

Jorgen Brenting wrote:

> Namo WebEditor (flawless switches from html to normal view and back),
> Go Live CS and
> WebWiz Forum

Thanks for the hints, I'll have a look at these. Which one do you recommend?

Dr. Steffen Steinhäuser wrote:

> The link to my pages is http://www.die-steinhaeuser.de

Sorry, I noticed my error, but there is no edit feature in this forum ... and it was late in the morning :-)

> I like the idea to summarize the new features wanted
> and to address Fogcreek more directly.

Agreed. So let us add to the requested features here.

See next post and have a nice time

Georg

xlerb (Georg Rehfeld)
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

----------------------
Hi,

the current list of City Limits ak missign features:

* foreach should work with pathes and wildcards as every command line interface does.

* the conversion from NORMAL to HTML view must be fixed

* all standard HTML markup must be available in NORMAL view, especially headings

More to come, but let's Joel understand and implement this first, before overwhelming him (if he ever reads this thread/forum).

regards

Georg

xlerb (Georg Rehfeld)
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

xlerb wrote:
> Namo WebEditor (flawless switches from html to normal view and back),
> Go Live CS and
> WebWiz Forum
> Thanks for the hints, I'll have a look at these. Which one do you recommend?

Well, the trouble is, I wouldn't really recommend any of them. They are good, but you can't give them to clients. They are for programmers.

I use Namo WebEditor a lot. It's a "humanized" version of GoLive. Very Easy to set up and use. Good preview and easy FTP. I also use it to do more complicated things, that I later paste into CityDesk. It doesn't handle css files well so I use NoteTap Pro for that. (Best plain editor in my opinion.)

GoLive has a paralysing learning curve. At least I think so. I've just started experimenting with it. It's like a battleship – huge and hard to handle if you are used to program your way out of problems. GoLive is supposed to be for non-programmers also which means you have to learn a whole new way of thinking the most simple tasks. Not always easy. But you can switch effortlessly from "normal" view to html and back as much as you like. You can set up templates for others to work with through an editing module. Whether or not you can paste to the module from Word I don't know. I wouldn't dream of pasting anything directly from Word – but I wouldn't criticize Word either.

WebWiz Forum is a forums engine, but highly configurable. (and THEY have a users forum that works. You can actually get answers to your questions there!!)

All that said, CityDesk is still the best when it comes to easy updating files (the kind of files that CD can handle that is) and, most important, you can build sophisticated site navigation in CD if you are not afraid of keywords. It also count in favour of CD that it produces static html for the search engines. So the sites I make and manage are always a mixture of CD and handmade stuff. (By the way I still use CD1 which IMHO is more reliable than CD2).

Jorgen Brenting
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

My 2 cents:

Fog Creek does read the list, and sometimes responds. I've noticed that recently they've begun to indicate that they are  in fact with Fog Creek. What they are doing with the complaints and suggested feature improvements is another matter!

Joel never intended CD to be a "full-featured" CMS. It is meant to support smaller groups which publish text articles. It is intended that a contributor use the extra fields -- this is not seen as a limitation, but as a feature of the system and a responsibility that the contributor must accept.

This is about publishing. I have editors at work who will mark-up galley proofs with great precision, but get frustrated that they can't just push a button and magically see wonderful stuff on the web without any detailed involvement on their part. If the contributors are that brain-dead or so irresponsible not to do their job, then they shouldn't be publishing to the web.

CD is what it is. It's great for some things, and not for others. What I appreciate about Fog Creek is that they try to be honest and clear about the limitations of their products.

amos
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

We seem to keep rehashing the same CityDesk issues on this forum: improved scripting language, robust HTML/Normal view switching, and richer editing features (headings, tables, styles, etc) in Normal view.

Joel is a smart guy, and he reads this forum. I'm positive he can see how each of these issues affects us users, and I'm sure they'll be near the top of his To Do list for CD3.0.

I reckon that's why CD3.0 was delayed - these things (scripting and the HTML editing control) are the core functionality of CityDesk, and making them truly excellent will take time. Releasing a CD3.0 without them fixed properly would only cause everyone to whinge more and complain that Fog Creek is unresponsive to user issues. So it's probably a lesser evil to take some flak over CD2.0, and then blow everyone away with CD3.0.

That's what I wish for at night, anyway :-).

Darren Collins
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Am I the only person here who thought this thread would have something to do with Ike & Tina Turner, or maybe Bob Seger?

Dave
Thursday, February 05, 2004

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