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Possible solutions for Normal View in CD3?

After pondering the comments made about Normal View in this forum, I thought I'd summarize some of the suggestions.

1) Transform "Normal View" into a full-fledged HTML editor. It should be possible to define Headings, Font Styles and CSS styles without having to venture into HTML View. CSS styles should be visible.

This will cause a lot of headaches for your developers, I suppose. Especially since CSS style sheets are not directly linked to articles, but connected via templates. It will take some time to do this, at any rate.

2) Get a new HTML Editor control from a third party and integrate it into CD -- preferrably one which doesn't mangle code. This will cause another big headache, I suppose.

3) Take the easy and fast way out: Add a feature to edit articles in an external editor. Make Mozilla Composer the default external editor (it's free and it's halfway decent) so people don't see themselves forced to purchase Dreamweaver (which is getting worse).

When you send the article to an external editor, you can add a link to the CSS style sheet (from the template) into the <head> and create a simple <body> envelope. When the code gets handed back to CD from the external editing app, you'd have to strip the code you get handed back from the external application.

This also poses the problem of how to deal with the fields in the properties and extras tabs. There should be a painless switch to set them to either HTML or Normal view.

I suppose the folks at Fog Creek are pondering the viability of the available choices. Would anybody from the development team be kind enough to make some sort of statement?

(I'm just a lowly user of your application, but I'd sure like to know what direction your thoughts are taking.)

Thursday, October 9, 2003

Time to eat my own words: I have given the Composer component of Mozilla 1.5 another whirl, basically trying to use it the way proposed in 3) above.

You have to specifically direct Composer not to use CSS -- else, whenever you want to italicize something, Composer will create a <span> style instead of <em></em>. There will also be spurious <br></p>s in the code and a lot of white space between paragraphs.

All of this can, of course, be fixed with a parser during re-import -- but I see that supporting a variety of external editors might open a can of worms for CD developers.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

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