Technology Weblogging

Why Wordform needs active users

Wordform is not being developed in isolation, specifically because I hope to capture input from people who could be considered the potential users of the product. It is more fun to go ‘Ta Da!’ and have the application all finished, to ooohs and ahhhs; but an inherent problem with this is that each of us brings our own interpretation of what is an oooh, and what is an ahhh.

A better approach, then, is to communicate as you develop (rather than after), keep your mind open, and solicit feedback as much as possible. And for this, I need active users — people who are willing to step up and say what they want, and how they want it.

For instance, when Marius points out the polished interface to the textarea within Blogger, saying that this is more meaningful than the Quicktags within WordPress, we can quickly show him a screenshot of the prototype for the Wordform edit page, currently in development. This is using the beta of HTMLArea, which is a very rich text editor currently being tested with Mozilla-based browsers, such as Firefox. It, as with Blogger, will work with IE and any of the Mozilla browsers. Unfortunately, it won’t work with Safari; but then, neither will Blogger.

The PHP program will test browser and insert quicktags, HTML tags, for browsers that can’t work with these rich text editors. However, Blogger’s switching back and forth between WYSIWYG and HTML tags, is a very nice feature. Luckily it’s already included as a feature within HTMLArea — just click the button labeled “<>” to toggle between HTML source and WYSIWYG.

As a sidenote, the new Comment Edit window in Wordform will also have a rich text editor, but I’m removing the HTML capability (HTMLArea is completely customizable). Why? So that I can ensure that tags are properly closed and that nothing harmful is added, while giving commenters a very rich editing experience.

Oh, and HTMLArea has plugins that will allow me to add in spellcheckers and various other nifty goodies. Don’t you just love open source?

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