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Preliminary Feedback

The photoish toolbar icons are hard to understand in their small view.  The picture one is especially undecipherable.  This may just be me, but I thought the magnifying glass at first was the preview button.  A picture of a computer monitor intonates nothing about a preview.

Close the preview window after the browser window is opened, or at least clear the text box when a new preview is built.  Cutting down on window clutter is nice.  Also, it would be handy to be have the default browser selection the default button so I can just hit enter to fire up the browser.

What's the purpose of the . in a variable name (e.g., {$.Example$}?  Is it to delineate a variable to the parser?  When describing how to use variables in the help, you might want to say that CityDesk code goes inside {$$}, and variables are specified with a . before them (although given the conventions of other programming languages, it would've made more sense to choose the $ as the variable delineator and gone with something else for the code sandwiches).

I like how an entire site is stored in one big file.  Good for local file management.  My only concern would be that it would get too monolithic and take too long to work with when its size gets out of hand.

I doubt I could test it, but it's cool that teams can work on a site.  Especially that the cap is at a conspicuous 255...

Designer mode was a very good idea.

Despite my being from the Boston area, I still find the Red Sox bashing throughout the help files very amusing. :)  In general, I found the help to be very clear and easy to read.  Congratulations.

I'll have more feedback when I get more time to really sit down with it.  I think it would be neat once people get cranking with it to post links to their CityDesk generated sites.

Adam Baratz
Monday, October 15, 2001

Thanks for excellent feedback!

The reason we keep the Preview window around after you bring up the browser is in case you are in the habit of testing with different browsers (e.g. Netscape and IE)... but that it a rare case, so I agree with you that most of the time it causes unneccessary window clutter. One secret of CityDesk is that if you just keep that window around forever it doesn't hurt.

The . is necessary to signal to the parser that you want to print a variable. Without it, we wouldn't be sure if you were printing a variable or using a keyword. So far, we only have three keywords (foreach, next, and setDateTimeFormat) but it is likely that we will have more, and we don't want keywords to collide with variable namespaces.

The file type we're using is Microsoft Jet, it's supposed to work well up to 2 gigabytes. The way CityDesk is designed, it will be very easy for us to allow SQL Server or Oracle back ends in the future for people with gigantic sites.

Thanks a million for looking at the documentation! (I wrote it.) I appreciate it.

Joel Spolsky
Monday, October 15, 2001

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