00413: horiz frame/preview link for long page edits

Summary: horiz frame/preview link for long page edits
Created: 2005-04-01 07:23
Status: Suspended
Category: Feature
From: Russ Fink
Priority: 5
Version: 2
OS: n/a

Description: I edited a long page this morning, and thought of two ways to make this task better. I actually prefer the second method, but include the first just for completeness.

Horizonal Frames

First, what if my browser could break into 2 horizontal frames to show the effect of my edits. In the top frame would be the edit window, with Save, Preview, Reset buttons. The bottom frame would be a scroll window that I could position to the point of interest. When I click on "preview," it would preview the page in the bottom scroll window showing me the parts that I need.

[Failing an automatic jump scroll on preview (which I'm sure is nigh impossible to support across the browser universe), it would still be useful because sometimes edits in one portion of the page need to point to or discuss information in another part of the page. As an author, it'd be great to have the preview window scrollable for this purpose.]

Preview Link

The second way is to display a "preview" URL in addition to the preview button. How this would work:

  1. Edit a page.
  2. Locate the "preview" link on the edit form, then open a new browser window or tab by right-clicking on the preview link and selecting "new window" or new tab. It opens up a link of the form, "pagename=MyPage#EDIT?action=preview". (There is no #EDIT anchor at this point, so you just see the top of the page.)
  3. Make edits, then click the "preview" BUTTON (not link). Note that all content is previewed below the edit form, same as usual. This time, the software inserts the #EDIT anchor in the temporary edit file at the top of the most recent diff. [The user won't see this anchor in the rendered preview.]
  4. Now go to your second window/tab, and click "reload." This would load the rendered preview copy as if it were a full page and jump-scroll to the #EDIT anchor. It could perhaps have the "don't forget to save" nag on the top, but otherwise it would display in full.

This would be useful because you could independently scroll the preview window when editing a large page. Also, the #EDIT anchor should cause browsers to jump-scroll to the point of the edit.

Now that I think about it, this would be immensely useful and non-intrusive to existing functionality, and not require frames which for some reason people tend to hate. I don't think I've seen any other wiki that does this. It could be a first.

Related Issues

There are other PITS requests on this topic:

  • 00320 discusses long page edits by requesting a way to break pages into sections and edit specific sections. The drawback of this is some invasion into the page (using breakpage directives), plus sometimes when editing, you need to see the entire page to keep your writing consistent. My proposed technique avoids both of these problems.
  • 00308 is a laundry list of changes to the edit features, but doesn't include this topic.

Unfortunately, I don't know of a good way (except via some very fancy javascript) to get the results of hitting a form to open in a new window, and leave the existing window intact. If someone can point the way to do this, we can look into it -- otherwise I think this issue will have to be marked "suspended" as HTML doesn't really have a good way of solving this. --Pm