Example: Why I believe we need a new HTML editor

Axel Grude axel.grude at gmail.com
Sat Feb 20 13:02:53 UTC 2016

Dear Ben,

> *Subject:* Re: Example: Why I believe we need a new HTML editor
> *From: *Ben Bucksch
> *To:* Tb-planning
> *Sent: *Friday, 19/02/2016 17:37:54 17:37 GMT ST +0000 [Week 7]
> 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.


absolutely agree. We need styles in /addition /to the toolset we have. In Outlook I 
have to make a custom style to "pretend quotation" in HTML mail. In Thunderbird we 
have the brilliant "Paste as Quotation" which is probably one of the most useful tools 

>> 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. 
The thing with paragraph level styles is that they should be perpetual.. ONce you are 
in a paragraph which is a certain style and hit "Enter" this is just splitting it into 
2 identically styles paragraphs. More to the point, after headings Outlook returns to 
paragraphs.  Word has the concept of "next style" which means you can pick what the 
"follow-on" style is (it is usually a paragraph, which is what they call "Normal")

> Highly annoying. TB composer does that much better.
I am not sure what you mean, can you give an example? If I type in red, this will be 
persistent in Thunderbird. What I really like about Word is the "Format Painter" tool 
which allows applying a set of styles from one passage or paragraph to another.

> 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".
I think conversation view does soemthing similar; it basically gives a dumbed down, 
primitive (almost text) version of the email. That's clearly not what I would want as 
a default HTML editor, where I frequently have to quote and insert screenshots and use 
styles for clarification and emphasis. Those emails take longer to craft but they are 
also a lot easier to read. And templates should help with containing preconfigured 
styles that can be used from the dropdown.

> That's not to say our Composer was perfect. But please don't copy the mistakes of 
> other applications, where we are miles ahead.

Again I absolutely agree (and said it before) that the quoting feature is probably one 
of tools that makes Thunderbird emails stand head and shoulders above the competition. 
I would like a dedicated paste as quotation button to make this feature more visible.

Unfortunately quite a few users who exclusively  top-post in true "Outlook fashion" 
want quotes to look identical to their own text so not everybody will appreciate the 
finer points of a nested conversation.


> That's not to say our Composer was perfect. But please don't copy the mistakes of 
> other applications, where we are miles ahead.
> Ben
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