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Reveal Codes macro - feedback required
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Iannz
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 3:29 am    Post subject: Reveal Codes macro - feedback required Reply with quote

I am writing a reveal codes macro for Writer. I would like it if I could bounce some ideas around as to what people would actually like.

I already have a dialog with two pages:
The first shows the current paragraph's "codes" in line (an approximation of WordPerfect's approach) and the ability to reset direct paragraph attributes.
The second shows each text portion of a paragraph and on clicking on a text portion shows that portion's direct attributes. You can reset selected attributes here too.
You can move up or down a paragraph at a time without leaving the dialog.

The macro and some rough documentation is available in a document called RevealCodes.sxw available from the site in the signature.

Please reply to this thread or private mail me if you prefer. If what I have done is useless let me know so that I don't waste any more time on it.
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cwchia
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ian,

Great work! I visited your site just 3 days ago and I must have missed that macro. Am a big fan of the reveal code feature of WP. Thanks.

Just a few suggestions:-

1. Is it possible for users to set the font size of the revealed codes?, its a bit too small for old man like me. Confused

2. can the pane be dock at the bottom just like WP does (well at least up till WP7 they are still doing it that way, not sure about 9 and 10 etc.)?

Thanks. Cool
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Iannz
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really only started writing the RevealCodes macro yesterday and felt that I had reached a point where I wanted more input.

I have updated it so that you can select the font size on the dialog.

I don't know how to create dockable windows. I know that DannyB has been experimenting with awt tools so he may have some ideas.

As with most of the macros on my site what I would like is to get discussion going so that when the real developers implement these features they are not having to work out how the users would like it to work as that has already been discussed. I guess you could consider the macros to be working prototypes.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reveal Codes macro - feedback required Reply with quote

I've been using WordPerfect for a while (version 6.0a, 8 ,9 and 10) and I'm a big fan of Reveal Codes. I'm not a programmer by any means, however, I'm familiar with the behavior of Reveal Codes.

I looked at your document and I believe your of the right track with the paragraph view. You're right about trying to change the color the code to help distinguish between the code and text. However, if you could impliment a "button-style" to represent the code, like in WordPerfect, would be even better.

Reveal Code features I like:

1. Drag-n-drop code out of window to delete.
2. Click insertion point, press and hold SHIFT and click second insetion point to select a block of elements.
3. Double-click the element's button (tag) will open a properties dialog in order to edit the element's style (attributes).
4. Click an insertion point and deleted code or text.
5. The window being docked at the bottom of the application.
6. Being able to scroll through the doument without having to close the Reveal Codes window.

A feature that Reveal Codes doesn't have, which I would like to see, is the ability to click, drag and drop a code any where within the window (i.e., to move a graphic box from in between the bold tags).

Speed Issues:

Try to limit the amount of information the macro tries to parse when it first initiates. Limit it to the viewing area of it's window and the focus (starting point) should be the position of the cursor. Incorporate the ability to parse on the fly without having to close the macro.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reveal Codes macro - feedback required Reply with quote

I just registered. I was the "Guest" that made the entry above. Just in case you would like to discuss Reveal Codes..
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Iannz
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2004 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hadn't used WordPerfect since the DOS version (very briefly helped someone once with the first Windows version) - so I have setup a Windows machine, downloaded the trial version of WordPerfect 12 and had a brief play.
Some comments:
* OOo doesn't actually have codes like WordPerfect, so the "revealing of codes" is more a conceptual way of looking at what OOo is doing.
* I don't know how to make buttons with pointy ends to indicate that this is the "start code" and this is the "end code". So far I have just used a leading / to say this is an "end code". Any suggestions?
* I have simply used a dot to represent spaces. Do people prefer WordPerfect's diamond, stay with the dot, or should I have this user configurable?
* I personally don't like the way that WordPerfect's buttons can span past the end of a line. I would prefer the button to wrap to the start of the next line. I'll try coding my preferred way unless I get a strong neagtive reaction.
* I intend to only display the "codes" for the paragraph that has the insertion point (as it does now).
* Currently all "codes are closed" at the end of a paragraph. So if a user selects text from the middle of one paragraph to the middle of the next paragraph and applies the attribute bold <CharWeight = 150> then at the end of the first paragraph will be the code <\CharWeight = 150> and the start of the second <CharWeight=150>. Again, unless I get a strong negative reactrion I think I will stick with this approach.
* Currently "codes" for a portion of text are presented in alphabetical order. This means that where the start of a paragraph has the bold attribute then the codes look like: "<CharWeight = 150><ParaStyleName = Text body>" which may not at first appear to be a logical order.
* Does anyone know how to create a dockable window in OOo basic?

I will have a play with coding the buttons in the next few days
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian, it's great to see someone making a start on bringing Reveal Codes into OOo. Perhaps you could get in touch with the people working on this issue:
http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=3395

If work is starting on bringing Reveal Codes into OOo proper, your macro maybe a useful aid to the developers.
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Iannz
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks maxqnz I have posted a link to this thread and my web page in the issue.
I have a second version available for feedback.
I'm not sure if this approach is better or worse, but it is closer to Wordperfect's approach.
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nom
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ian,

I downloaded and played around with version 2.

I would like to comment on a few things:

1) I saw your post on the AWT thread. You mentioned that reveall code was too slow, so is the project dead or where you referring to version 1?

2) Getting feedback from people is very tricky and at times mildly frustrating. I don't know what it is but most people don't know how to give feedback or can't be bothered. As general rule for every one person giving you feedback about 10 other people intended to but didn't... (for example thousands of people read this forum every day, only 100 make a post.)

This means that if you are going to code something it is because YOU want it done. I know and really appreciate your willingness to help, but how can you help people that don't tell you what they want.... (And here I am giving you feedback about something I don't really have a need for !!! Question Confused

3) Had a look at the reveal code. It looks interesting. THis is what I noticed:
a) I tried typing stuff in the textboxes but it acts very stange... it seems to mess up what I type. (especialy the first text box, for the demo paragraph.) (Only when you type fast...)
b) I noticed that clicking on some buttons actually removes the property, whereas others ask you for a prompt. (this is interesting)
Clicking on the closing button of a property does not work properly.
c) I think something that would be useful is to be able to drag buttons.

Actually this is what I thought reveal codes was all about. Being able to fix problems by draging buttons into the right location. (before or after a word.)

Some ideas:

1) Could buttons have colours?
2) have a list box on the side like in version one where the user can change parameters of a property, rather than automatically deleting the property.


Another project worth thinking about: A plug in manager!
One thing that is annoying for newbies is to install macros. IF you caould find a way to install macros in much the same way they would install any other program ... it would be useful. SO instead of downloading a OOo file and messing around with the macro manager, they could download a .exe file (yes a standard windows installer) which will ask them about menu structures and icons etc... and install the macro AUTOMATICALLY!

My 2c worth,

Nom


Last edited by nom on Thu Jun 17, 2004 7:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is another thought.

Instead of deleting a button when clicking on it, could you display the other button it corresponds to?
E.g. when clicking on the start button the close button will also be pressed (or perhaps have a red colour.) Clicking on a close button the start button will become green.

Might be good to have left click and right click attributes. Left click will show the corresponding buttons. Right click wil allow the user to chage the properties in the list box.

You could also have DELETE and SAVE buttons beneath the list box.

****************
Another thought.
It may not be a good idea for people to type in a text box. The reveal codes would only be used to drag buttons around.

Nom

P.S: Whether implementing this is worthwhile is another question.... I personally will not feel bad if you stop working on this project.
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Iannz
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nom wrote:
1) I saw your post on the AWT thread. You mentioned that reveall code was too slow, so is the project dead or where you referring to version 1?

My macro is currently too slow, in my view, to be used in real-time. What I mean by real-time is having a Window that shows the "codes" and is updated as the user works. The macro could be rewritten so that it is more efficient for working this way - a major rewrite. I hope that my macro serves a useful purpose in diagnosing and fixing "problems" rather than something that is available all the time. So is the project dead - not yet. What I would really like is for the developers of OOo to take some of the concepts and incorporate them into new versions of OOo.
nom wrote:
2) Getting feedback from people is very tricky and at times mildly frustrating.

Not only are people having to change the software that they use when they change to OOo they also need to change their perception. With proprietary software users had no control or say in what happened so realizing that they have not only the right but the responsibility for making a change in OOo is a large ideological step. One that you, Nom, have obviously taken - thus your giving me feedback.
nom wrote:
a) I tried typing stuff in the textboxes but it acts very stange... it seems to mess up what I type. (especialy the first text box, for the demo paragraph.) (Only when you type fast...)

I thought that I had fixed this problem Embarassed
nom wrote:
b) I noticed that clicking on some buttons actually removes the property, whereas others ask you for a prompt. (this is interesting)
Clicking on the closing button of a property does not work properly.

In the documentation I have tried to explain how each button is currently working - are you saying that it doesn't work as documented or that the documentation is unclear or that it is not remotely intuitive.
nom wrote:
c) I think something that would be useful is to be able to drag buttons.

Actually this is what I thought reveal codes was all about. Being able to fix problems by draging buttons into the right location. (before or after a word.)

Coding of dragging the buttons would be difficult (and take more time than I am currently willing to commit to this project). WordPerfect doesn't have the ability to drag buttons and it is based around having underlying codes where as the "codes" being "revealed" by my macro are conceptual.
nom wrote:
1) Could buttons have colours?

Yes - suggestions for colour coding anyone?
nom wrote:
2) have a list box on the side like in version one where the user can change parameters of a property, rather than automatically deleting the property.

In version 1 the list box at the side showed the directly applied attributes for the whole paragraph or for the selected text portion. Clicking on one of those attributes reset that attribute. So I am not sure what you are suggesting here. Right clicking an edit box with a text portion displays the format character dialog for adjusting any attributes.
nom wrote:
Another project worth thinking about: A plug in manager!
One thing that is annoying for newbies is to install macros. IF you caould find a way to install macros in much the same way they would install any other program ... it would be useful. SO instead of downloading a OOo file and messing around with the macro manager, they could download a .exe file (yes a standard windows installer) which will ask them about menu structures and icons etc...

Definitely not an exe as OOo is across platforms, that is why I have stuck to only using OOo BASIC as that way I can guarantee that it will be available for someone running OOo1.1.1 or above regardless of platform. An OOo BASIC macro installer has already been developed so maybe I should start using it. That way people could install my macros at the click of a button. I have resisted doing so, as I felt people would want to have control, but maybe I restricted their choice. Next week I think I will update all my macros so that the documents include a button for installing them.

nom wrote:
Instead of deleting a button when clicking on it, could you display the other button it corresponds to?
E.g. when clicking on the start button the close button will also be pressed (or perhaps have a red colour.) Clicking on a close button the start button will become green.

This is possible and not too hard to code, I'm interested to know what more people think.
nom wrote:
Might be good to have left click and right click attributes. Left click will show the corresponding buttons. Right click wil allow the user to chage the properties in the list box.

See above comments about buttons, I have used middle click for the edit boxes as right click is already used for a context menu relative to the edit box.

Thanks for the feedback!
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nom
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
nom wrote:
Might be good to have left click and right click attributes. Left click will show the corresponding buttons. Right click wil allow the user to chage the properties in the list box.

See above comments about buttons, I have used middle click for the edit boxes as right click is already used for a context menu relative to the edit box.


I must admit I didn't read your instructions Embarassed. I generally dive right in and see how things work. (Also as already mentioned I have never really used reveal code before)

Great work! middle clicking and right clicking in the TEXT BOXES is a very nice idea, and pretty much does what I was thinking about when right clicking the BUTTONS.

However I am asking myself... what does reveal code do that can not be done from the user interface?

Quote:
Not only are people having to change the software that they use when they change to OOo they also need to change their perception. With proprietary software users had no control or say in what happened so realizing that they have not only the right but the responsibility for making a change in OOo is a large ideological step


This is a very interesting thought.

Quote:
nom wrote:
b) I noticed that clicking on some buttons actually removes the property, whereas others ask you for a prompt. (this is interesting)
Clicking on the closing button of a property does not work properly.

In the documentation I have tried to explain how each button is currently working - are you saying that it doesn't work as documented or that the documentation is unclear or that it is not remotely intuitive.


It wasn't intuitive to me. Doesn't mean it won't be for others Wink

Quote:
WordPerfect doesn't have the ability to drag buttons and it is based around having underlying codes where as the "codes" being "revealed" by my macro are conceptual.

This makes it even harder for me to understand what reveal codes could be used for then. Rolling Eyes

Quote:
I have resisted doing so, as I felt people would want to have control, but maybe I restricted their choice. Next week I think I will update all my macros so that the documents include a button for installing them.


Wrong assumption Smile People are after simplicity first and formemost,... "control" only comes after. (If you need proof of this look at how many people use Windows compared to Linux, say.)

Cheers,

Nom
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian, I think RevealCodes2 is a great start! I hope that eventually it can have a simple installer, and drag-to-dekete functionality, but it is fantastic to see how much you've achieved already. In answer to a question you raised, I think that the WP use of a diamond to represent a space is probably better, if only because it eleiminates any possibiliyt of thinking that the space placeholder is actually a fullstop. Also, I may simply have missed it, but I did not see in the Reveal Codes window an indicator of the cursor's position ewithin the demo paragraph. This is a useful feature of WP's Reveal Codes. Very picky I know, but that's my $0.02
Thank you SO MUCH for starting this, I hope it shows the developers what can be done. Whakawhetai!
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 5:07 am    Post subject: Reveal Codes macro Reply with quote

Ian -

Nice work. I was a beta tester for WP from versions 5 - 11, so I can appreciate what you've accomplished. I thought I'd comment as you have requested on a couple of issues.

One of the really huge advantages to the reveal codes feature was that by viewing all the codes at once you could search for an offending code that might be responsible for effecting some format issue you didn't want. You could search the entire document and then either remove it or replace it with what you wanted.

Another set of functions inherent in the RC as implemented by WP was the ability to drag off a code you didn't like or right click on it and have a dialog pop up that allowed for the changing of any attribute theoretically "controlled" by that code.

In my opinion these 3 features were what gave it (RC) the majority of it's power. Obviously just being able to see what is happening is great all by itself, but the additional functionality provided by what I've described made it, for me, THE reason for staying with WP.

Thanks for all you've already accomplished. As for the word seperators, user configurable is probably nice but no show stopper. However, whatever you select should be an ascii character not normally used in typing text from my perspective.

If I can help let me know.

dave
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Reveal Codes macro Reply with quote

dcjohan wrote:
One of the really huge advantages to the reveal codes feature was that by viewing all the codes at once you could search for an offending code that might be responsible for effecting some format issue you didn't want. You could search the entire document and then either remove it or replace it with what you wanted.

In Writer there isn't the same concept of codes flowing through the document, so displaying the codes of the current paragraph I hope will be sufficient.
dcjohan wrote:

Another set of functions inherent in the RC as implemented by WP was the ability to drag off a code you didn't like or right click on it and have a dialog pop up that allowed for the changing of any attribute theoretically "controlled" by that code.

For direct attribute "codes" clicking on them should delete them (see documentation for more info). Right clciking an edit text box will display character format dialog.
I am after suggestions as to what dialog or what should happen when clicking on other text portions. This is an area that I would really like help on.
dcjohan wrote:
Thanks for all you've already accomplished. As for the word seperators, user configurable is probably nice but no show stopper. However, whatever you select should be an ascii character not normally used in typing text from my perspective.

Will make some changes, such as user configurable characters for space, tab and shift+Enter, when I get back to working on this macro - hopefully with some more feedback.
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