2010/12/28

Christmas present: WriteArea 1.0 is available

Last night, Jorge Villalobos as Mozilla reviewer approved the 1.0 version of Write Area as an update, so now you should start getting update notifications for this version.

What do you get with Write Area 1.0?

With Write Area you can use the best WYSIWYG web editor inside your Firefox: in any site that allows to input HTML, either with a textarea or even from other not-so capable editors, you can launch Write Area using the context menu and that way you'll get full editing capabilities.

This version has been adjusted to avoid the existing problems with Firefox 4, so the upgrade of Firefox should not cause you any trouble. Some other details have been improved like focusing existing instances.

The internal editor core has been changed from the old FCKeditor 2.6 to the latest CKEditor 3.5, so future upgrades should come out sooner now that the used editor is again one under very active development. Nevertheless, updates in an extension requires review by a AMO editor, so instead of releasing an upgrade with every CKEditor release I might publish a "beta channel" version for minor updates and a full one where there's a new milestone or some important bugs fixed.

Besides that, you can keep using the internal Firefox spellchecker in a normal installation of CKEditor if you install the Gecko SpellChecker plugin.

Go ahead, click and install this extension.

(another post powered by Write Area)

8 comments:

petra said...

Thanks for the update. Tried it out and works great.

Any chance of hooking this into session saver? This currently is the biggest weakness of WriteArea, as Firefox is quite prone to crashing.

Pete said...

This is by far my favorite plugin. Is there any chance you can release a version for Chrome?

Alfonso said...

@Petra
First of all, Firefox is very stable for me. I don't know if you might have some problem due to an extension, plugin or corrupted profile, but I would suggest you to try to find out if there's something wrong in your setup (it might be also a problem with nightlies, since very long ago I only use the stable releases of Firefox)

Anyway, I thought about this before, but I'm not sure about what's the proper behavior here.
I don't think that when Firefox crashes it remembers the state of add-ons, I guess that's part of the job that we should perform ourselves, but I haven't searched for the API to learn if there are some rules about what to do.

But even if such an API exist, should it be used in Write Area?
The problem that I see is that it might have been used in a new form, so when Firefox is restored that form might not exist (I should really check how well does the session saver works) and hooking again with that textarea might fail.

So maybe the solution is to keep a simple standalone draft system. Using something like localStorage, keep a copy updated after every change (or with some timer to avoid clogging the CPU with the HTML serialization of the contents) and when a new instance is launched, check if the storage exists and then prompt the user to use that draft or discard it. It would be better if that prompt could be done automatically upon restoring a session, so the user can know right away that his data hasn't been lost.

Other options include performing synchronization with the textarea whenever there's such auto-save and that way if the web app includes it's own auto-save it provides extra reliability.

Alfonso said...

@Pete

Thanks. Don't forget to add a positive review at AMO so other people can check that it's full of stars :-)

I don't know if the Chrome API provides the ability of opening a dialog with my own content or showing a bottom pane. If there's some extension that uses this kind of features I can try to learn how it's done, but for the moment I'm very happy with Firefox and I always find that Chrome is lacking features and reliability.

petra said...

Alfonso, thanks for the response and all the great ideas.

Actually, what you said at the end seems to me to be the simplest and most straight-forward way to go. Then you don't need to know any APIs and Firefox can continue saving the text like it currently does.

All the autosave function would need to do is write changes back to the textarea, just like it does now when "Save" is pressed. The only difference is that autosave would not dismiss the WriteArea interface, so the user can continue editing.

Of course, the autosave interval should be user adjustable -- just in case there are performance issues with whatever default interval is chosen. Also, it should be possible to disable autosave.

Kevin & Debbie said...

This is a Great plugin and has really made life much easier.

One thing we seem to always have trouble with is line spacing. Is there any to adjust the line spacing? It seems like write area kinda does its own thing with line spacing and we have a hard time making it how we want...which is usually tighter.

Alfonso said...

@Petra:
I'll try to publish a test version with that feature, but I don't like to put too much preferences as they tend to confuse people.

@Kevin:
The line spacing is usually the default one, but if it's replacing an existing editor, then it tries to reuse its css. I haven't noticed any problem, but if you have some case where it's doing something wrong I would like to know about it.
Ideally it should use the CSS from the final page, but in places like this blogger where the editing page and the published page are different that might be a little more complex.

petra said...

Sounds good. Thanks, Alfonso.