Example: Why I believe we need a new HTML editor

Matt Harris unicorn.consulting at gmail.com
Sat Feb 20 14:47:33 UTC 2016

On 20/02/2016 4:07 AM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
> Axel Grude wrote on 17.02.2016 01:55:
>> In our Company people often use colors for showing "quote level" (*) 
>> - you may argue because Outlook is too stupid to show real quote levels.
> Exactly. Outlook cannot quote properly.
> Using color for something semantically critical - as who wrote what 
> and what is part of the message what is not - is a really really bad idea.
>  1. red appears unreadable on my screen
>  2. people might be color-blind - particular red and green, because 5%
>     of males are red-green color blind
>  3. it's not machine-readable. <blockquote> or plaintext "> " are,
>     which allows nice recipient-side formatting, collapsing, trimming etc.
>> (*) one person may reply (inline) in red and then the next one in 
>> green. One may say that this is "retarded" but we should not ignore 
>> the way the ordinary user is going to use a tool.
> They do that only because Outlook gives them no other reasonable 
> option. It's not what the users want, but what their tool enforces!
> Do not copy Outlook. Esp. in this area. We win hands-down in this 
> area. I think TB quotes in our reader look lovely and clear. 
> ***Please*** do not break or delude our excellent quoting. It's 
> essential, all of the above.
>> we could build a really cool UI and better features than Outlook if 
>> we embraced the concept of customizable styles 
> Personally, I struggle with all editors, including LibreWriter and 
> Outlook. They always seem to get it wrong by continuing a style that I 
> intended only for 1 word or one paragraph, sometimes just by pasting, 
> but it continues for the rest of the doc like that and I have to 
> manually change it back. Highly annoying. TB composer does that much 
> better.
> Consider that email is something we write more quickly than documents. 
> The direction is rather to go even quicker, see SMS, WhatsApp, and 
> GMail and Apple are emulating that for email with "quickresponse".
> That's not to say our Composer was perfect. But please don't copy the 
> mistakes of other applications, where we are miles ahead.
The composer is terrible, users complain about it all the time.  It was 
ok a decade ago,  but the last ten years have really put some age on it.
The users do not like it.  They are particularly vociferous about the 
size issue.  They want numbers.  Windows has numbers for font sizes, so 
does everything in their experience except Thunderbird, and they want it 
for their email.  They do not care about standards, HTML Vs printing or 
Interoperability.  They do their correspondence in XXXX font and XX 
size.  And god help you if you tell them that the font they have chosen 
is unlikely to be visible to the recipient, let alone that the size they 
sat might look different as well
They want to be able to do pretty tables with pretty borders.
They want to do background images.
They want to paste tables and text from word and excel and have them 
arrive looking like when they left the Microsoft product. (sans table 
formatting anyone.)
They want to specify line spacing and length.
They want to set tabular tabs and even decimal tabs
The want images to auto size and respect the orientation information in 
the exif data.  Lots of complaints about upside down images over the 
years.  The email looks fine on an iPhone or pad

In a nutshell they want a word processor that can turn their creations 
into email.

The composer might do quotes and do them well,  but we offer no 
customization of that either.  You have to have an add-on to change the 
layout of the quoted header information to the more business styled 
(outlook) four lines.  While you might strongly disagree with coloured 
quote levels, I like them, almost as much as I like Thunderbird's block 
quoting with lines.  But we offer no customization at all,  after all it 
is up to the user if they want to do something stupid with the 
customization like white text on a white background, or try and retrieve 
mail very minute.

> Ben
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“Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.” /― Friedrich 
von Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orleans /
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