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who else never uses Normal View?

There's been a lot of complaining lately about Normal View and its tendency to output slightly different HTML than what it received as input.

I never use Normal View. I use HTML View all the time. I never have to worry about my character entities being replaced with Unicode equivalents, or my eccentric tag usage (<p> inside of <small>, that sort of thing) being tidied up for me, or any of the other things people are grumbling about.

Am I the only CityDesk user who never uses Normal View?

Pat Rice
Friday, August 29, 2003

That's an interesting question.

The way we always imagine CityDesk being used:

* Web designer uses favorite tools (photoshop, dreamweaver, etc.) to produce the look and feel of a site.
* Web designer creates a CityDesk site, mostly using HTML mode but also using external editors like Dreamweaver, but hardly ever using Normal View.
* Web designer gives site to a total novice end-user
* End user never leaves Normal View, only editing articles and using CityDesk like a rather intelligent word processor.

The more we (at Fog Creek) can learn about how CityDesk is really used, the better we'll meet the need of our users.

Joel Spolsky
Friday, August 29, 2003

I use normal view.. All I ever do to my articles is paragraphs, bold, and italics.. the occasional table I import. What more do I need?

Adding pictures and such sleightly offends my control-freak sensibilities, but I figure... as long as whatever's going on doesn't break in some browsers, then why not let CityDesk decide what's best?
Friday, August 29, 2003

Now that my template is set up (, I use Normal view most of the time.  The only times I switch to HTML view are when I need to create tables, or I want to apply a class= statement to some elements.


David Watts
Friday, August 29, 2003

I only ever use html view to put acronym tags around things, and the odd caption on a picture (I've got a tool that produces the html I need). Apart from that it's normal view all the way.

The less I have to think about the underlying html the better as far as I'm concerned. It's like writing an rtf document and continually opening it in notepad to make sure the tags are laid out neatly - you just wouldn't do it (I hope)!

John C
Friday, August 29, 2003

I try to use the normal view as much as possible but there are options lacking (CD V1) that don't allow for what I want to do. 

1. Putting in 'code' snippets that are in a monospaced font and space formated. 
2. Tables of information as there is not other way to do it with the editor.
3. Where I just want a new line and not a new paragraph or other formatting issues.

Other than that I'm happy in the normal view.

Robbert de Groot
Friday, August 29, 2003

The process I used for my site, using CityDesk 1 to 2.05 beta* has been:

- use Dreamweaver and Fireworks/Paint Shop Pro to produce the initial templates and graphics.

- use Notepad to tweak the templates as required.

- use Normal view to write articles but then switch to HTML view to tidy them up. For me this means things such as adding the title attribute to links, adding acronym tags and removing redundant non-breaking spaces.

- publish locally and check that the page validates using A Real Validator.

(* I'm upgrading to 2.0 gold this weekend!)

John Topley (
Friday, August 29, 2003

Until I'm satisfied with my templates (which may take a long time <g>) I use HTML view only for the templates. To be honest, most the time I open the templates with my favorite programmer's editor. Articles are being written in Normal view with the exception of headlines because the arcitle editor has no support for H1-h6 tags (or am I just to dumb to find them?).

Having said that it brings up a feature request: I would like to see the "HTML View" button being disabled or made a settable option for the designer. Nove users can be soo creative when they stumble over HTML view :-)

Friday, August 29, 2003

Sorry for the typos, but writing with one hand only at them oment - carpal tunnel syndrome :-(

Friday, August 29, 2003

I use both HTML view _and_ Normal View. Developing the sylesheets and templates is the best in HTML view, while creating the articles goes best in Normal view. And I develop the sites for co-workers without any knowledge (and interest) for HTML so I want to be sure they get a simple tool.

Sometimes I need to use the HTML view to add tags you can not insert otherwise, for instance "TARGET=", "mailto[...]?Subject=foo" etc.

Menno Tillema
Friday, August 29, 2003

Current process: I create templates and edit scripts in HTML view. As for the articles, I usually write and edit them in Normal View and only go to HTML View to paste tables.

Friday, August 29, 2003

In CD v1.0 I could switch from Normal to HTML views when editing the templates, and it would not affect them.  With V2, regrettably, this is not possible.  I keep them in HTML view only (so that they open in that view) and never go to Normal view because doing so invariably screws them up hopelessly.  To get around that, I paste the HTML into a temporary file using Frontpage, check that it's what I want, and paste any changes back to the CD HTML view.  Laborious, but I haven't found an alternative approach.  I also keep a backup of each template in a dummy template file in case I accidentally switch to Normal view, because in that event closing without saving actually saves the CD-changed template nevertheless.  Could this be a bug???

Friday, August 29, 2003

...or, more likely, is my HTML all #$@#-ed up???

Friday, August 29, 2003

George, what sort of html are you writing that gets screwed up by the normal view? It's been nothing but the perfect gentleman with my sites. Even if I add some code in html view and switch back to normal it keeps things perfectly in order.

John C
Saturday, August 30, 2003

John, everything I know (and don't know - which is a far bigger list) about HTML I learned at the school of trial and terror.  So I *know* I'm making mistakes of all kinds, but it's interesting that switching from "normal' to "html" views in FP has no effect, but doing the same in CD does have an effect.  My templates have a number of images (15 or so) with javascript rollover effects <a onmouseover='chgImg...'> as well as several nested tables and then a big blob of  javscript in the head as part of an interactive calendar, which gets dumped into the template via a CD variable.  Methinks the nested tables are possibly the cause of the problem and/or CDs preservation of which space.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Does FrontPage preserve your HTML even if you make changes to it? Maybe it's doing the same HTML -> DOM -> HTML process as CityDesk, but skipping the last step if no edits were made.

Pat Rice
Saturday, August 30, 2003

I use normal view about 75% of the time. I switch to HTML view to edit tables and insert <H?> tags. In fact, I would really like to see normal view support the use of table and header tags in some future version.

All the style sheet stuff is taken care of in my templates, but it would still be nice to be able to use these styles in CD's normal view as well.

My fantasy - CD goes in and parses the templates, looking for style sheet tags. It then goes and puts these on a drop-down menu, that automatically inserts opening and closing tag pairs for any style defined in the template. I believe this would be quite consistent with CD's philosophy.


Robert Pawlak ( )
Saturday, August 30, 2003

I'm not sure what you mean by preserving HTML even if I make changes.  Do you mean, "Does FP accept all HTML changes" or do you mean "Does FP not accept all HTML changes"?  (Sorry, as I said I'm self taught and some concepts/terminologies are over my head:  e.g. "DOM"  no idea what that is.)  Essentially, anthing I do in FP stays just as I do it (at least I think it does!)

Saturday, August 30, 2003

I personally never use Normal view, and I've always been appreciative of the fact that once I save an article in HTML view, CityDesk remembers that fact and never returns to Normal view unless I click on it (which I never do).

My site is a CSS site, so my articles generally only contain simple HTML tags like P, DOV, SPAN, B, I, UL, OL, etc.  Some content I type in directly as HTML, hand-coding the tags as I go.  The way I do articles might be different from most people.  I publish most of my articles in both HTML format (via CityDesk) and PDF.

To facilitate this, I first produce the article in MS Word, using a set of custom styles.  Once the article is perfect in Word, it's an easy conversion to PDF from there.  Then I save the Word doc as HTML.  Since I use only my custom styles, the resulting HTML is predictable.

I then use a freeware tool called ReplaceEm (thanks to someone in this forum who pointed it out to me) to convert the Word HTML to the P, DIV, and SPAN tags that match my CSS styles.  The way ReplaceEm works is through a series of regular expression search-replace pairs that run in a certain order.  I had to create all of the expressions myself, which was a bit of a pain, but now that I have them my publishing process is a breeze, and when I'm done with an article I have perfectly formatted Word, PDF, and HTML.


Daniel Read
Saturday, August 30, 2003

I use both HTML & normal view.

I didn't really realize that if I never use normal view, my HTML will be preserved, if I'm reading these threads right. I'll test that out.

Maybe there is a workaround. Give me an option that DISALLOWS normal view, so that I don't accidentally click it. Then I'll just type away in FrontPage.

And yeah, FP does some stuff to my HTML, but nothing on the scale of CD.

It sucks to have to disable normal view, but I'd rather live with that then have my html messed with.

And is it true that I can look at my templates in another program?

Now that I think of it, does normal view in the templates "validate" my html into xhtml?

There seems to be a way to give me back control of my html. Spell out how!

Bob Bloom
Saturday, August 30, 2003


I tried it out and there is a workaround, almost!

* Templates can be edited in an external program. Click on the template and RIGHT CLICK, "choose program".

--> Excellent feature Joel!

* If Normal view is NOT selected, the HTML is preserved. Use "Save and Preview" to view.

--> Excellent Joel!

--> However, please add an option that DISABLES normal view.

* Right clicking on the article's name does NOT offer an option to edit with an external editor.

--> Joel, allow this option. External editor + disabling normal is an acceptable workaround to me.

Another option is to just give an option to VALIDATE TO XHTML or NOT VALIDATE TO XHTML.

At the least, consider programming a warning box when Normal view is selected to warm us that validation will happen and our html code will change. Have a box to switch off the warning box.

I didn't know that NOT selecting normal view = preserve html.


Bob Bloom
Saturday, August 30, 2003

In CD1 I tried desperately to avoid normal view because it naffed up my XHTML.

This should not be the case in 2, but I've only just installed it with the release version.

I design page layouts in FrontPage (sometimes DW), then recode them from scratch in AceHTML with all the code bits I don't like left out.

Then I convert them into template fragments in CD, until I can build the master page perfectly, then I add the content - using NoteTab or Arachnophila, usually.

I may now start trying the normal view in CD for some content addition, but without the easy ability to drop in h1 etc, styles, and the rest, probably won't use it much.


James Roberts
Sunday, August 31, 2003

I use CSS a lot.  HTML View is about all I work with.  If I want to go into normal view I do what I do with Visual Studio .NET while working with an ASP.NET solution.

Hit CTRL-A, CTRL-C.  Switch to normal view.  Do what I want to do.  Switch back to HTML view, inspect how the GUI did it, hit CTRL-A, CTRL-V, manually reproduce what the GUI did without the GUI reformatting and mauling of my code.

(For those of you who aren't programmers -- if you think CityDesk screws with your HTML you should see what the HTML Designer in Visual Studio .NET 2002/2003 does to HTML code when you switch between HTML and Design mode.  If you consider CityDesk's modifications to be "nuclear strikes" Visual Studio's would be Mars and Earth colliding.  And according to Microsoft it "can't be fixed because it's too tightly integrated into the editor."  Yea, good OOP practices there.)

Brian Schkerke
Saturday, September 13, 2003

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