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Providing a preview pane

I just bought my copy of Citydesk.  Now, I am not limited
by fifty items anymore.  Cool!

In the main window of Citydesk, I can see that the content
of the treeview hierarchical structure only occupies the left
side of the treeview control while all of the center and right
side are blank.  This is a waste of screen real estate.

Could Joel perhaps split the window into left and right half;
put the treeview control on the left and provide a preview
pane on the right to render the content of the chosen
treeview node.

I am thinking of a UI that looks like Outlook Express.  If I
am merely browsing, I don't have to open and close
the articles.

Amour Tan
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Ooh, that's really nice, I like it! What say ye Joel?
A preview pane should live up to the name too, and have have the CityScript already be parsed. That would be the shizzle.

Israel Orange
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

OTOH that's not such a hot idea. Why duplicate the preview functionality? There's gotta be a better use of the space.

Israel Orange
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

I never thought of that. I've always wanted a tabular type view so I could see more at once. And I'd like change things like keywords in the tabular view. Sorting in the tabular view (I wouldn't want the sort to affect the site tree though) would be nice. I often want to see all of the fields from the three article views at once, including the magic name. CopyBoy aims in that direction.

The magic name of images caused a problem for me today. I downloaded the "Shadow" template from and tried looking at the template and stylesheet to figure out the images. It was nearly hopeless in the stylesheet. So, if we could see a tabular view of images that includes the magic name and a thumbnail, that could be very handy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

>OTOH that's not such a hot idea. Why duplicate the
>preview functionality? There's gotta be a better use of
>the space.

You are right, it certainly will duplicate the preview
functionality, so does Outlook Express preview pane.

The advantage is convenience.  Using the preview
functionality requires 3 extra clicks. 

The empty space is there anyway, why not make good
use of it.  It will make Citydesk look more sophisticated,
certainly a good marketing ploy.

Amour Tan
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

I like tk's magic names/thumbs idea much better. What I was saying was, there are many aspects of CityDesk that are known to the user as an abstraction only. It would be cool to have some visual cues to things that we don't already have. We do already have preview so that shouldn't be it.
Bill's feature request for a table of user variables and their content would fit the bill nicely too. So would an html editor for those fields that don't have one in article edit view.
There's all kinds of stuff you can do with the space. Why use it as your webbrowser when there are CD specific things that would be better?

Israel Orange
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

>The advantage is convenience.  Using the preview
>functionality requires 3 extra clicks. 

I miscalculated, should be 6 extra clicks

- 1 double click to open the article
- 1 single click to activate preview generation
- 1 single click to launch IE
- 1 single click to close IE after previewing
- 1 single click to close preview generation dialog box
- 1 single click to close article

Now, if Joel would kindly provide the feature, it will be...

- 1 single click on the node to provide preview

Amour Tan
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

That's a good point Amour. Also, you have to move your mouse all over the place to get all those clicks in.
Using it as a preview pane would really be most ideal if it acted like TopStyle's preview pane, which lets you see the effect of changes to your css live. You could have the top 2/3rds of it provide the preview, the bottom third an edit pane.

Israel Orange
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Interesting.. CityDesk as an outliner. This got me thinking....

Rather than Normal / HTML views, why not do a split screen like Dreamweaver with the code on top and the preview on the bottom. Hit the "refresh" button and the bottom WYSIWYG half refreshes... Edit the WYSIWYG half and the top half refreshes...

Dreamweaver MX had this functionality and it was the best.... but it'll probably be hard to bring this into CityDesk, the DHTML Edit control being what it is, and they've wrestled enough with it already.

Otherwise, I'm not really for the two pane design, it limits you to editing 1 article at a time.
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Another nice thing TopStyle does is that it has the product's blog as a pane in the program. CD could have CDnews or this forum appear in there.
Nah, screw that. Duplicating the browser, again.

Israel Orange
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

hi Israel,

all the features can co-exist all at once.  For instance,
Outlook Express has 3 panes.  Also, Outlook Express
can remove the preview pane from the UI if you don't
like it.

Its not an either you or me kind of thing.  I think the
current preview functionality design could be improved.

Amour Tan
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Of course it isn't me or you ;-) It's software, nothing is scarce except Joel's (& other fog creekers') time.

Israel Orange
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Oops, Bob above was talking about keywords, not variables. I'd still like a more info-packed variables view.

Israel Orange
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

I don't know if you have used FrontPage (2002)or not but it has article tabs and the 3 editing function tabs (normal, html, and full preview, including css and script). If that could be the CD UI along with CD's fabulous scripting, site building and managing functions WOW!

Have CopyBoy import pages from FrontPage (or Dreamweaver) into the CD engine.

OTOH, I haven't given myself time to get accustomed CD, and I see wonderful sites built from it, I hope I can do as well.

One other thing, FP tracks the movements of files without visible magic names.

Ron Lane
Tuesday, August 5, 2003

... madly taking notes for CopyBoy 2.x ...

Mike Gunderloy
Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Attaboy Mike!!

Israel Orange
Wednesday, August 6, 2003

I'd sure like to see a SDI (as an option for those 'open windows all over the place' types ??) as well.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

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