Introduction To Editing (v2)

 

This is the first in a series of introductory articles intended to help new contributors become familiar with the Users’ Knowledge Base (UKB) publishing procedures, so that they can quickly move to productive endeavors.

Posts intended for the main body of the UKB need to be written in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), although contributions can also be made in other ways e.g. by attaching a word processing document to a post.

WordPress, the software behind the UKB, contains a built-in, albeit limited, editor that allows authors to enter their posts ‘online’. This provides, arguably, the quickest and simplest way to write and publish articles. Advanced programmers will have no trouble understanding, using, and extending the capabilities of the WordPress editor. On the other hand, those who are new to programming can quickly learn how to enter basic posts, via WordPress, using the examples provided in this ‘series’.

Note: It is possible to ‘publish’ without the need to learn HTML or other programming languages.

Third party editors can also be used. Authors with an IT, or programming background, will be familiar with third party editors. Authors, with the experience, can use their favorite editing programs to publish to the UKB by pasting code from them into the WordPress editor. At the other end of the scale, most people would be familiar with Notepad, or programs like it, that can be classed as simple third party or text editors. Posts can be written ‘offline’, using text editors, and copy/pasted into the WordPress editor at a later date.

The advantage of third party editors, in general, is that they offer a range of features that make code writing easier and faster for programmers e.g. syntax highlighting, auto-correction or completion of commonly used terms, find and replace ‘text’ etc. Other editors provide authors with a visual writing mode, that facilitates the creation of graphical and interactive web pages in a ‘What You See Is What You Get’ (WYSIWYG) environment.

The UKB is far from a fully featured web-site. It belongs to a special class of web-sites known as Web-logs or Blogs. As a rule of thumb, Blogs have a limited scope compared to a ‘web-site’. In general this reduces the need for their creators, or contributors to the Blog, to learn advanced programming skills. This maxim holds true for the UKB. In addition to that, because the UKB is a Knowledge Base, the emphasis has been placed on content rather than format. Because of the ‘restricted’ nature of the site, advanced editors, are a level above what is required to publish to the UKB.

A special class of third party editors, known as Blog Editors (Weblog Clients), provides software that is suitable for UKB authors who prefer a visual ‘writing’ medium . They are designed to synchronize with popular blogging software, in this case WordPress.

Features of Blog Editors (in general):

  1. portability
  2. save drafts offline and publish at leisure
  3. visual editing
  4. additional formatting options compared to the WordPress editor 
  5. insert and format images using graphical tools
  6. graphically insert and manage links
  7. automatic synchronization to the WordPress format
  8. automatic login to the UKB Administration Center
  9. bulk uploading of image files (automatic) 
  10. downloading of published posts
  11. HTML view, including editing capabilities
  12. offline web preview 

Depending on the software used, there are additional features that can be useful to authors:

  1. copy and paste rich text formats as plain text (suitable for publishing to the UKB)
  2. copy and paste word documents, including images, directly into the editor
  3. maintain offline backups 
  4. bulk uploading of file attachments
  5. save copies as portable HTML files (with contained images)
  6. insert and format tables
  7. insertion of custom HTML snippets
  8. spell-check
  9. automatic appending of titles to uploaded files

Unfortunately all of those features don’t come in one single software package.

Note: The author of this article has successfully posted to the UKB using BlogDesk, Post2Blog (ByteScout) and Windows Live Writer (Microsoft) as well as the WordPress Code Editor.

CAUTION – AUTHORS WHO ARE GOING TO USE BLOG EDITORS NEED TO BE AWARE OF THE FOLLOWING CAVEATS:

  1. As a rule of thumb, they are incompatible with the WordPress Visual Editor (the WordPress Visual Editor should be turned off).
  2. Code written in the WordPress Code Editor might not be compatible with Blog Editors and will not necessarily download correctly into them.
  3. Code written in some Blog Editors uses different HTML ‘formats’ to the WordPress Code Editor, especially with regard to paragraphs and line breaks (use either a Blog Editor or the WordPress Code Editor; not both).
  4. Blog Editors can produce code that is not compatible with other Blog Editors (do not mix and match Blog Editors).
  5. Some Blog Editors provide rich text formatting as an option. This is in conflict with UKB defaults and may introduce unwanted behavior to the UKB server. DO NOT use rich text formatting features.
  6. Some Blog Editors capture web-pages, or parts of a web-page, for transmission to a Blog site (DO NOT capture or copy and paste any ‘pages’ that contain, or might contain, HTML code as it may introduce unwanted behavior to the UKB server).

Note: All of the Blog Editors tested by the author of this post, have produced ‘exceptions to the rules’ that had to be managed without support (novices should limit Blog editing to the basics and heed the cautions in this post).

AGAIN:

  1. TURN OFF THE WORDPRESS VISUAL EDITOR.
  2. USE ONE BLOG EDITOR AT A TIME.
  3. USE A BLOG EDITOR 100% OF THE TIME OR USE THE WORDPRESS CODE EDITOR 100% OF THE TIME.
  4. LEAVE OUT THE FANCY STUFF (SORRY, I KNOW ITS NOT AS MUCH FUN BUT IT WILL SAVE A LOT OF HEADACHES IF WE KEEP IT SIMPLE_SALLY OR SAM).

Tutorials, covering all of the core skills required to achieve basic competency as a UKB Author, and articles on a variety of publishing topics can be found at: AmiBroker Users’ Knowledge Base >> Contributors 

For additional information and links to publishing resources refer to: Wikipedia >> HTML Editor

Please read on!

 Note: The posts contained in the Contributors category only cover ‘publishing’ basics, with a limited range of publishing software and utilities provided as examples. Like everything ‘IT’, the programs and procedures are subject to rapid redundancy. They will be maintained into the future, to the best of the ability of the volunteers who ‘help’ out at the site. Visitors to the site are invited to help correct errors, or omissions, and suggest improvements, or alternative ways of going about it, by adding comments to the posts. Where enough new information comes to light, to warrant an extension or a separate article, please become an author and post to the site or email one-off articles to support [at] amibroker.com for uploading to the UKB. Ditto for specialist topics beyond the ken of the average person, or if you are ‘hot to trot’ on a particular topic or program. This will help the authors, and the editor, in their efforts to maintain this as a dynamic site.

 

RESOURCE LINKS:

HTML Editors

Link to a free ‘text’ editor with HTML capabilities (‘NotePad on steroids’): Fookes software >> NoteTab Editors >> NoteTab Light

Blog Editors

 

 

  • Version 1 – Aug 04/2007 – by Brian_z – written using Windows Live Writer beta 1
  • Version 2 – Aug 13/2007 – by Brian_z – draft rewritten and links section added
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3 Responses to “Introduction To Editing (v2)”

  1. Daniel LaLiberte
    July 19th, 2007 | 2:44 pm

    One feature that I consider critical when posting code is preservation of indenting whitespace. How can we do that? The HTML PRE tag preserves whitespace while also acting on other tags. Use of fixed width font and colorized keywords also helps but these are not as critcal.

  2. Herman
    July 22nd, 2007 | 9:22 am

    Hello Daniel,

    As Brian appears to be off line for the moment I’ll answer your question. After considerable research WordPress was selected as the publishing tool for the UKB. Our requirements are somewhat different from the usual blogging/publishing tools and Tomasz had to write a custom formatting plugin to ensure that AFL would at least appear in a consistent format. Formatting of code is thus done automatically (no user formatting possible) for all text that appears between the [ AFL ] and [ /AFL ] tags. Tabs and spacing for code, as well as many other improvements, are on the UKB-ToDo list however they are not simply “turn On” features; they all require a significant amount of work to implement.

    best regards,
    Herman

  3. brian_z
    September 27th, 2007 | 1:48 am

    The Contributors section is only half finished and many posts are in draft form or waiting to be written. I’ll leave it like that for now as what is there already is overkill for the level of enquiry (we are in decimal points on that one). While I am around I am likely to update the posts, or add new ones, as well as add clippings from anything new that comes up in the forums.