Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Knowledge Base
Documentation
Terry's Tips
Darren's Tips

CityDesk suggestions/comments/feature requests

Hi CD team,

tried to use 'feedback' for this but your server returned an error...
these suggestions may well be a repetition of those made by others, but in
case that's not so:

I've now been using CityDesk seriously for a week or so post-purchase and
have a better idea of its strengths and weaknesses.

It's impossible to come up with a product that meets all needs: attempts to
do so end up like Chami HTML-Kit - excellent product, but it's quicker to
hand code than remember on which menu what option is. I prefer Arachnophilia
with its programmable macro structure - I can build a toolbar for each
website with its own relevant custom constructs.

For example I use HTML preprocessors (PPWizard & HTMLPP) to process academic
articles to HTML with TOC's and annotated footnotes: one uses
REXX and the other Perl. I have a toolbar configured for each that contains
appropriate macros for expansion by one or the other. For material
previously published in paper mags I
use quite different techniques, with different macros - and their own
Arachnophilia toolbar. For other pages, I use another set of macros in
NoteTab.
It'd be nice if there was one product that did all these things but there
isn't.

These pre-processors are much more powerful than CD. But CD offers a nice
interface that makes it easy to keep the overview,
which is not available in these preprocessing tools. It has many limitations
(I'm cursing the uppercasing of my XHTML tags at the moment!) but it's still
an aid to more rapid working and less mistakes, and its templating meets 80%
of the requiremtns I have, at any rate.

The point of this ramble is that with CityDesk 2 you *won't* be able to meet
all user's needs - whatever macro language you use (JavaScript/ECMAScript?),
and any attempt to do so will lose the simplicity. Moreover, something new
will pop up RSN - who knows what? But you
*could* allow users to extend the functionality themselves if you permit
some open-endedness.

There's been discussion here on CD eating PHP tags and so on. Open-endedness
would just require something along these lines:

- a CD code for 'include the contents of this tag as-is but otherwise ignore
them' to embed codes fro other tools

- the ability to run an external process on a file BOTH [a] as part of the
compilation process - and before CityDesk does its own macro
substitutions/expansions, or [b] subsequently but pre-publish. Thus an
external pre-processor could do variable substitution, calculations and so
on, prior to or after the processing done by CityDesk.

I previously suggested that right-click variable insertion would be neat,
and indeed a further degree of programmability of the right-click options
would also
be very useful.

Anyway, thanks for the product so far!

James

James Roberts
Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Hi all,

These words are wise. I'd like to add that if CD 2 architecture will allow building plug-ins in third party dev tools, many experienced users will supply you with rich gamut of interesting tool while inexperienced users will be fully satisfied with default capabilities of your app.

Best regards
Lukasz Pogoda

Lukasz Pogoda
Thursday, October 03, 2002

From the other end of the spectrum (manager/non-programmer), I'd be sorely disappointed if CD2 lost its obviousness of use. Please don't succumb to the feature-bloat temptation!! Make a new product, if need be.

Amos Satterlee
Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Just like the designer mode, I think they may be able to add (metaphorically) a super-duper designer mode.  And, I expect future releases to make it easier for non-designers as well, eg. making it easier to select the correct keywords for a new article.

That is my hope anyway.  I think they've left room for improvement in both directions.

tk
Wednesday, October 09, 2002

<From the other end of the spectrum (manager/non- programmer), I'd be sorely disappointed if CD2 lost its obviousness of use. Please don't succumb to the feature-bloat temptation!!

Well, sure, and that's just the point. By adding some open-endedness and pluggability, the tool can be expanded indefinitely *without* adding complication and indefinitely recursive menu lists to confuse those who are happy with the built-in features :-)

<That is my hope anyway. I think they've left room for improvement in both directions.>

I'd surely agree. It's a very effective first attempt.

James Roberts
Wednesday, October 09, 2002

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home