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CD Feature Requests

Been thinking about what new features I'd like in CityDesk 2.0. After some thought the following points would be useful for me. As a caveat, I already have workarounds for these points, they're not the most important things in the world, but they'd be good for me. In no particular order then...

1) View folder properties in a windows explorer way. I.e. be able to see how many files are in a folder and how big they are. This would be useful just for analysis of what's in there. Would also be good so that you can quickly count how many entities exist in a CD file (without cracking open the mdb) so that you can see how close you are to the 50 limit for standard, or 500 limit for home edition (assuming the root node was considered a folder too)

2) Be able to perform basic scripting with images - say find out their name so that you could iterate through a directory of images without explicitly getting the maginc name etc. Just done a site with (haven't counted - see point 1) about 400 images in. Would have been so much simpler with scripting. Perhaps this already fits with the unofficial proposal to integrate JScript.

3) Be able to specify where the citydesk.xml file gets written to. Here's why. I have a few sites where the content uploads html to one top level directory (say /html/), and realaudio gets written to another top level directory (say /media/), but the root level directory is read-only so you can't put the xml file in there. My only current solution is to FTP the audio separately and make the upload directory the /html/. Sure it's ok - and it's definitely better than not using CD at all, but it means I have to get my hands dirty in the publish process.

Anyway, just thoughts. Keep up the great work.



Sam Strachan
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Things I'd like:

1. Global search/replace, i.e., replace text in all articles in one go, instead of doing separate replace operations in each article.

2. Script functions. Specifically, I want to put {$ foo(XYZ, "caption") $} in an article (where XYZ is the magic name of an image), and have it expand when published to whatever picture-frame HTML I'm enamored with this week. (Maybe this is already possible, and I just haven't RTFM'd enough?)

Pat Rice
Thursday, November 14, 2002

My feature request, a nice-to-have:

Modify Paste without Formatting so that it strips all the character formatting (bold, fonts, etc), but leaves the line breaks intact.  Currently, those are stripped out too, which means I have to first copy/paste text into Notepad to strip the formatting, then copy/paste from Notepad into CityDesk.

David Watts
Friday, November 15, 2002

I would like to see:

1) Support for tables and header tags in the editor.
2) Some sort of easy archiving solution for when I bump up against the file limit (I have the home edition). Seeing the size of a folder (as was suggested by a previous poster) would also be nice. This would be in bytes, and in number of objects.
3) Support for external HTML editors in the article (and not just template) editing process.

Overall, I think the 500 object limit is a bit severe for the home edition. 500 articles is ok, by not 500 objects. One page can easily have 5 or 6 graphics. When I originally purchased CD I did not understand that 500 was an object limit, and not an article limit.

Robert Pawlak
Friday, November 15, 2002

Yeah, that 500 file limit is biting me again, too. I don't need all the collaboration stuff that Pro has, so it's uneconomic for me to pay $270 extra just to be able to publish some more photos.

In the meantime, I'm splitting my site up into topics, where each topic will be a separate CityDesk file, and they'll publish to subdirectories. It's a hassle, but I don't have much choice.

Joel, is there any chance that this file limit might be removed (or at least increased) in the next version?

Darren Collins
Sunday, November 17, 2002

I'd like to be able to select a whole bunch of articles (either entire folders, and/or by shift-clicking articles) and then set the template on those articles.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Ah yes - selecting multiple entities for group operations would be great... shift / ctrl clicking followed by template changes or moves / deletions. Multiple deletes currently involves one finger over "delete" and one over "Y" followed by a reminiscing the 100m sprint in Daley Thompson's Decathlon Arcade game :-)

Sam Strachan
Monday, November 18, 2002

500 items is a ridiculous barrier to have to overcome for an extra $270.

You need more features to charge that kind of money, and let the one-man shops stick with their 80-99$.

R. C.
Monday, November 18, 2002

Sam’s post got me focussed enough to come up with some feature requests.

In doing so, I am trying, Joel, to keep in with the spirit of what CityDesk is all about.

I have just used it for my two companies’ sites. Great, great tool Joel. BTW – I am introducing it to some corporate clients to it as intranet CMS tool.

I would like to see the following:


Just say I have the same bit of html appearing here and there throughout the site (but not everywhere, and not in a pattern that fits in with how I want to use templates). At present, I have 3 options:
1.Use variable
2.Use article and point to it using loop or work-around of variable
3.Use javascript to write it.

I would like to be able to call it by using the variable syntax (option 1 strength), but like having the dual normal/html view (as I do with option 2). Perhaps a type of article called a panel?

<site storage>

Every site has a links page or something like it. If I want to store a site url, name and description as I do here ( ) and then loop through it to produce my links page, I have 2 options:
1.Use article (eat up space, speed etc)
2.Do what I do – store them in a mdb and use VB to write out the html to paste into the CD article for my links page.

Option 1 is sledgehammer to crack a nut. Option 2 seems a funny thing to be doing to work with a Jet database that uses a script to loop through items.

You should be able to add links like you can on, say,  without using an article. I think that this fits the ethos of CityDesk. Can’t be that hard – I could almost write it if I could pass Fog Creek’s interview questions ;)


I know we have window dates on articles, but can we have a plain old draft toggle (so I don’t have to anxiously remember when that half-finished article is about to appear on my site in 5 months time)?

I know people will say “Use a drafts folder”, but some people like having them in the same folder they will eventually sit in (we all organise the shape of the site differently in our heads).


If an image is removed from your site or an article retires, does ftp pull it off the server – I have seen a few things where this does not. Will reproduce it if you think it is a bug.

<site organisation>

This is the flakiest of my suggestions, thus the last.

Following on from Joel’s “leaky abstractions” article ( ), I have been thinking about the folder structure in CityDesk.

In a way it is great, as it ends up being how your site is organised on the server after you ftp it. It also represents how your html is generated (or one of them – you can get your claws on data through folders or keywords).

Pretty cool for the web-savvy, but it might not suit the poor little old content manager.

Just say I design a site for a client using CD. I would have three layers to it. The first layer would be 100% content. The second layer would be a mix of content and design. The third layer would be 100% design.

The beauty is how it sits in the client’s hands.

They are fine to go into zone 1 and go crazy. They have their web-monkey (or person trained up by me) go into Zone 2. Zone 3 is for me, when they want to change structure. I says “me” because it won’t be their web monkey. Why? – if the web monkey could do it, they would not need me in there in the first place.

Zone 2 is for tweaks and Zone 3 is for heavy plumbing.

I am thinking aloud about this at the moment, but I am hoping you can see where I am coming from.

Why clients love CD is that they don’t have to call me in every time I want to add a page. Take it a step further – they can play around with the style sheets without calling me up. They can make changes to a page where there is a short narrative (they wish to change) and some loop script (they don’t wish to – but it is on the same page to stop design getting too abstruse).

When they open up into the current folder system, they see a folder structure. If I am using that to help them feel comfortable about where they can go as well as it being how the html gets rendered, something has to give.

It leads to the dilemma where some design compromise is done to suit the content manager’s experience, or vice versa.

I will keep thinking on this one and will post further if people think this is worth looking at.


Patrick FitzGerald
Thursday, November 21, 2002

I'd like to see a blogging template that handles archiving.

John London
Sunday, March 2, 2003

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