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Heading tags - suggestion

In the HTML editor, I can easily specify the font size and color size.  How about a similar control to make it easy to specify a heading level (ie H1, H2, etc). Would save having to enter these manually in the HTML view.


David Watts
Sunday, October 27, 2002

Yeah, this is a popular one!

John C
Monday, October 28, 2002

Since this keeps coming up, I should explain a little something about the philosophy of CityDesk which is why we didn't think <H...> tags were so important.

First of all, CityDesk was not designed to compete with WYSIWYG page editing software. It's a content management system. For page layout and design, use a full-featured editor like Dreamweaver.

CityDesk was designed to make it easy to add content to an already-defined page.

In particular, we thought it was important that a complete novice adding content should not be able to do anything that screws up the design of the site. In fact they should not be making any decisions about design -- those decisions are made by the template designer.

So for example, the way we imagined you put a headline in a site is that the DESIGNER writes <h1>{$.headline$}</h1> and the CONTRIBUTOR just types text in the headline box.

Arguably you could say that the contributor needs a way to put subheadings in their article. In this case the contributors could be told to simply make the subheadings bold, and then the page designer creates a style mapping STRONG to the exact appearance they want for subheadings.

If the CityDesk HTML editor gets any more flexible, you're going to end up with FrontPage, with no separation of design and content. This is not what we intended.

Joel Spolsky
Monday, October 28, 2002

I can understand the desire to keep the CityDesk editor simple for non-techies. But I don't think the absence of heading tags is achieving this, because many of us techies have to instruct non-techies on how to switch to HTML view, create heading tags, and return to Normal view.

Headings and subheadings are more than just bold/italic/larger text. Heading tags are used by search engines to index sites more accurately, and using font tricks instead of proper heading tags impacts usability for some people (e.g. those using screen-readers or customised font settings/CSS files).

It's good that CityDesk works more or less like a word processor for the non-techies. But most word processors that they've used have heading formats, so they really won't be that confused when they see them in the CityDesk article editor. Those that don't like them can still use fonts, just like some people do in Word.

Darren Collins
Monday, October 28, 2002

I agree with Darren. And besides heading tags, subscript, superscript and insert symbol are missing as well. I expect this wish is noted by the FogCreek people. They did a great job on Citydesk 1.0, and my expectations for Citydesk 2 are high ;-)

My preferred way of work would be:
- designer can define styles
- styles are available like in word
- a style contains a opening and a closing tag.

A style could be
'heading 1' <H1></H1>
but also
'menufont' <P class=menufont></P>

Even better would be if Citydesk was aware of CSS properties, that the
class='something' (or id='something')
could be set at the appropriate tag (e.g. a <P> for paragraph, but also <TD> for a cell, or <SPAN> for a text selection.

This way, the designer gets a very powerful tool, without confusing the article editor with HTML tags or anything. Because sometimes, the designer may not want H1 to be available to everyone whilst other times it should be available.

My remaining question: what if the styles change? Ideally CD would change all articles accordingly (like with the magic names for references).

Adriaan van den Brand
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Don't turn CityDesk into FrontPage! The separation of template and page body is what makes it the cool piece of software that it is.

I've found with CityDesk that whenever I find myself thinking "if only it could do this", I try to stop thinking about how I would write the page in an HTML editor and think more from CityDesk's point of view. It forces me to concentrate on simpler and more consistent pages - which is always a good rule of thumb for website design.

John C
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I don't understand why people think adding Heading tags would turn CityDesk into FrontPage. We're not asking for stupid themes, drag-n-drop graphical page layout, margin adjusting, image positioning, automatic button creation, rollover effects, etc.

We just want to be able to mark a piece of text as a heading. The CityDesk template and/or a CSS file can decide how to render it. It's a constant frustration for many users that they need to switch to HTML view just to mark up headings.

Darren Collins
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

You're right. What about user-defined markup? So you could have a few items off a toolbar that you can control (such as 'Open With') and customise the HTML that's generated. You could have one that adds this: "<H1>...</H1>" and another "<H2>...</H2>" and everybody's happy...

John C
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I think the decisions should be up to the designer.
Right now, Citydesk features a text size and color. I have never used those, as I use css-classes for this purpose.

I just want to be able to specify which style goes with the text. And yes, John, I agree with you; separation of templates and body text is important. However, this is not the strongest point of HTML. I want to be able to specify the look&feel in the template/design and the content in the articles.

Adriaan van den Brand
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I don't know quite where the sweet spot is.  We've discussed locking a user out of design mode.  Maybe there could be two editor modes.  For a given site the designer could specify the "ordinary editor" or the "better editor that is still less than FrontPage."

I think that many if not most publishers are really designer - publishers.  That is, they design and publish their own site.  They'd like a little more juice in the editor.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I think tk is right that many or most publishers are designer-publishers. They should have no problems with switching from 'normal' view to html view and do their stuff there. That way things can be kept simple – but of course that is not a pleasant thing to do when CD has made at solid block out of ones carefully written html. I expect that to work better in CD2.
If you want the full set of choices (to mess up your pages) there are plenty of programs out there already. Please keep it simple in CD.

Jorgen Brenting
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Headings are very standard - as people have said, even Word has them.

You say, "Arguably you could say that the contributor needs a way to put subheadings in their article. In this case the contributors could be told to simply make the subheadings bold, and then the page designer creates a style mapping STRONG to the exact appearance they want for subheadings."

But there are H1's through H6's. And, although you don't usually use 4,5, and 6, after STRONG, there is no way to do H3's.

Make it like Word. Select the text, click "H1", (this is a document term, not an HTML term. Anyone who writes should be familiar with it) finished.

Including the deprecated FONT size tags and _not_ including H1 is very illogical . . . almost hypocritical.

R. C.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Please don't ignore Jorgen's hidden suggestion either:

"CD has made a solid block out of one's carefully written html. I expect that to work better in CD2."

This is VERY IRRITATING. I guess it might save space, or something, but it is un-user friendly. Compress the whitespaces (big deal) during publishing, if you must.

Otherwise, leave my markup alone!

R. C.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

The reformatting is done by the html edit control.  This is a bug, not a desired result.  My recollection is that this control is from Microsoft, and that the CD v2 will provide a better editing control.

Its kind of an automatic "ugly-print" feature!

Joel C. Goldstick
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

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