Example: Why I believe we need a new HTML editor

Axel Grude axel.grude at gmail.com
Sat Feb 20 18:29:00 UTC 2016

bottom reply:

> *Subject:* Re: Example: Why I believe we need a new HTML editor
> *From: *Matt Harris
> *To:* Tb-planning
> *Sent: *Saturday, 20/02/2016 14:47:33 14:47 GMT ST +0000 [Week 7]
> 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.
> Matt

You can probably do pretty much anything you has described. But you need to know HTML 
and CSS. And probably us the Stationery Addon in order to edit the HTML source code 
(in its mostly broken HTML tab). So in my mind adding a UI for things like colored 
tables, background images. I think a built in HTML code editor (tab) would be a good start

There were some fixes around font sizes (and lengthy discussions on it) so you might 
find this better once Tb45.0 lands.

Clipboard cross compatibility with Microsoft Editors is a big difficult ask, and 
probably not worth the effort if we had built in table formatting.


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