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A couple notes on the new version

First off, it's nice that the iJournal app now uses those nifty slide-out panes more extensively, rather than free-floating dialogs.

iJournal doesn't see to remember settings from older versions of the LiveJournal client. Not a major issue, really.

There are little things... For some reason, where I'm at now (on a client's network), there is a problem accessing the PlanetCryo server which yields the same error dialog that was plaguing other users whenever the version checking code kicked in. Hmm...

The "About" box no longer gives the version number -- didn't it do that once?

When the error dialog comes up after unsuccessfully checking the version, the app becomes responsive and usable, but the progress thermometer in the lower-left of the window continues doing the barber-pole until you submit a posting to one of your journals. Then it resets to its normal (inactive) state.

OK, now for a couple suggestions:
  • It would be nice if iJournal automatically does intelligent escaping of special characters (e.g., quotation marks outside of an HTML or LiveJournal tag should be escaped).
  • Similarly, it would be nice if iJournal allowed you to enter non-breaking spaces in a WYSIWYG manner, and sent them as   when the posting is submitted. Microsoft Word on the Mac uses something like control-shift-space to enter non-breaking spaces. Presumably, there could also be an entry in the Edit menu for inserting special characters, such as copyright symbols (©) and trademark symbols (™).
  • Another MacOS X LiveJournal client does something very clever -- it downloads and displays not only the names of your icons in a combo box, but also displays a reduced version of each icon next to its name, so that the user doesn't have to memorize which icon goes with what keyword. I think this convenience is worth the tiny amount of additional screen real-estate necessary to display.


Don't get me wrong, this is a nice incremental release. I'm just throwing these suggestions out there in the hopes that someone might act on them.

Comments

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
koliver
Mar. 19th, 2002 05:53 pm (UTC)
per your comments on special characters:
just enter them using the keyboard just like any normal non-html mac application. no need to memorize all the html names. on posting, it'll handle all that good stuff for you.

i don't really understand your first comment on escaping special characters. please be more specific.

thanks for the feedback and ideas.
lionmage
Mar. 19th, 2002 08:03 pm (UTC)
In HTML, there are certain characters that must be escaped -- the ampersand, the less-than and greater-than symbols (also known as pointy brackets), and the double-quote. I do not know for a fact that iJournal turns the ampersand, or &, into &amp; for example. Similarly, double-quotes in text need to be escaped -- that's why there's &quot; in the HTML specification. Although a lot of people write broken HTML, it is incumbent upon developers of a user-friendly application like iJournal to fix some of the most common mistakes. Putting double-quotes in HTML outside of a tag is a definite no-no. Same thing for the < and > characters.

I am skeptical of your claim that iJournal automatically converts the © symbol, as typed on a Mac keyboard, into the &copy; escape sequence. (And yes, it's also bad form to put special characters in HTML -- that's why the escape sequences exist. There are several dozen of them, including escape sequences for accented characters and special dingbat symbols like the copyright and trademark symbols.)
cryo
Mar. 23rd, 2002 10:19 pm (UTC)
I think I see what he's talking about in encodeAsHtml (I'm pedantic, can this be HTML?),
where you're doing the right thing with encoding, but there need to be handling for specific things like ampersand, quotes, greater-than, less-than, copyright, etc.

The saving grace has been that the encoding of something like the mac hardcoded keyboard copyright is that the &#XXXX matches, rather than being amp;copy;

When the move to UTF-8 happens, there are going to be issues with the API, since this will be LiveJournal specific, and we'll still need the HTML code, so don't nuke it. ;)
ibrad
Mar. 19th, 2002 06:02 pm (UTC)
Personally, I like how the Mac OS handles special characters (opt-e, e for � (or é in HTML), or opt-g for � (©), for example), and while I usually remember to use the HTML entities for those types of things, few people do, and even those of us who know better can forget at times. It would be great if someone engineered the client to automatically substitute the &value; entities for all of the special characters available (`����?��������?��?��??�?, and so on). I suppose a little menu item leading to a floating window with little buttons of some of the popular/useful symbols on them, which would then insert the code would be good as well, and definitely easier... Good call!

I'm starting to wonder if I should post my 'review' of the client in a new entry... I conscientiously posted it as a comment to cryo's announcement entry, as not to help cause a riot of suggestions/review postings.
koliver
Mar. 19th, 2002 06:12 pm (UTC)
re: your suggestion
please refer to my previous comment. the client does this right now!!! :)
you type in (or any of `?????...) and it'll post it in the proper format to your journal. it doesn't convert the character into the HTML name -- it just posts it properly (as a UTF-8 char i believe). and when you pull up an old journal entry it will still display it in the nice format.

that said, the client will not translate © into , but i believe this is how it should behave.

check it out, and you'll be happily typing opt-e e for all the 's you desire :)
ibrad
Mar. 19th, 2002 06:16 pm (UTC)
Re: your suggestion
So if I use �, every major browser and recent version will show it as �/é? I wasn't under that impression, and I thought that HTML entities were always better than the real character, but who knows.

I really wish someone could explain where UTF-8 comes in and what exactly it does...
koliver
Mar. 19th, 2002 06:52 pm (UTC)
Re: your suggestion
stupidness at the end of a day. my bad. no UTF-8 invloved. heh. way it works is it converts the � into the escaped number form: É (or is that an e with a grave which would be: È)

Needless to say, yes, I believe this works in all (major) browsers.

for reference see w3c's entity references in HTML 4
koliver
Mar. 19th, 2002 06:55 pm (UTC)
Re: your suggestion
doh.... for the � i shoulda escaped the ampersand: &#233; and i also typed in the capital E-actue. and likewise for the �. woops. i should sleep more ;)

note to self — this is what the preview button is for.
Re: your suggestion - ibrad - Mar. 19th, 2002 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: your suggestion - koliver - Mar. 19th, 2002 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: your suggestion - ibrad - Mar. 20th, 2002 10:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: your suggestion - koliver - Mar. 20th, 2002 10:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: your suggestion - ibrad - Mar. 20th, 2002 10:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: your suggestion - ibrad - Mar. 20th, 2002 10:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: your suggestion - cryo - Mar. 23rd, 2002 10:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: your suggestion - lionmage - Mar. 19th, 2002 08:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: your suggestion - rpkrajewski - Mar. 20th, 2002 10:53 am (UTC) - Expand
Citation for previous excerpt - rpkrajewski - Mar. 20th, 2002 10:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Citation for previous excerpt - lionmage - Mar. 20th, 2002 12:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
rpkrajewski
Mar. 19th, 2002 07:32 pm (UTC)
You can see that special characters work now
In both content and subject lines...
ibrad
Mar. 19th, 2002 07:37 pm (UTC)
Re: You can see that special characters work now
They do, but not in a technically safe way. They should be automatically changed (IMHO) from the raw characters on our Macs that only certain browsers, fonts, and platforms can handle, to HTML entities such as &eacute (for é).
koliver
Mar. 19th, 2002 07:50 pm (UTC)
Re: You can see that special characters work now
> They do, but not in a technically safe way.

they ARE. they are getting converted to the w3c's entity references for HTML 4!

please read my post above: http://www.livejournal.com/talkread.bml?journal=ijournal&itemid=24944&thread=94320#t94320 and in particular, the part that says for reference see...
lionmage
Mar. 19th, 2002 08:16 pm (UTC)
Re: You can see that special characters work now
Again, not to beat a dead horse, but this reference you give is very specific to the ISO8859-1 character mapping, and will not work on all platforms uniformly. Furthermore, in some HTML, the character mapping isn't explicitly defined at the head of the HTML, so you have to guess. If the target platform you're viewing on uses some bizarre character mapping other than ISO8859-1, those numeric entities will not render properly.

I've seen combinations of browsers and platforms for which the numeric entities (or escape sequences, since that's what they really are) will not render correctly, but on which the named versions of the entities do render correctly. Just a data point in favor of doing things the way I suggest rather than how they're done right now.
Re: Not Convinced... - koliver - Mar. 19th, 2002 08:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not Convinced... - rpkrajewski - Mar. 20th, 2002 07:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not Convinced... - lionmage - Mar. 20th, 2002 12:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
ibrad
Mar. 20th, 2002 10:23 am (UTC)
Re: You can see that special characters work now
I'm sorry, I was still under the mistaken impression that special characters "don't get translated into any sort of HTML entity" as you put it in this comment.

So every special character which there should be an HTML entity used for is translated to that entity upon posting, and then translated back when entries are edited [within the client]? And instead of using named entities such as &eacute; (or é if you happen to still be using plaintext email, which probably caused some of this confusion already), you're using the escaped numeric values?

Fine with me. :) Sorry to contribute to the confusion, maybe you should make a community post to once and for all clear this up.
ibrad
Mar. 19th, 2002 07:38 pm (UTC)
Re: You can see that special characters work now
&eacute; rather (it won't work without the semicolon).
lionmage
Mar. 20th, 2002 12:38 pm (UTC)
Posted more generally
I posted this as another comment, but wanted this visible to all...

At any rate, if nothing else, the iJournal client should escape all the characters that have named entities in both XML and HTML -- the &amp; entity, the &quot; entity, and the &lt; and &gt; entities. I hate having to type out the entity code for a double-quote, which breaks my train of thought when I'm typing a journal entry. Can't we at least agree that those four basic ones should be supported? (Non-breaking space would be nice too, and is supported in XML as well as HTML according to the docs I have.)

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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