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a few suggestions

Travel Forums System Talk a few suggestions

1. Posted by myrrhlin (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

I found this site and started b-logging after i found that most b-log sites (and in fact urls containing those four letters) are being firewalled in china, where I am writing. And that's also why I keep inserting that dash there, to avoid attention of automated censors. I like the site and see a lot of potential here, but have several suggestions or issues i've experienced in the 3 weeks I've been using it.

  • Preview does not save a draft ?! This is a big one. While editing a post, please make "Preview" button automatically save a draft, before showing you the preview. Rename it "Save and Preview" if you need to.
  • preview shows edit form again, but the edit box is _much_ narrower (and less useful). The preview is somewhat useful, but the edit form you put on the Preview page is pretty cramped for large posts. I'd rather have a Preview in a new tab, and the original form still sitting there for me to work on. Can you make Preview just open a new page without edit dialogs? Bonus: you could use the existing b-log style in the Preview and show text wrapped the same way it would be when published! (Current previews wrap differently, probably because they don't inherit the full style of the existing b-log.)
  • need a setting to make all links open as a new window (or tab). I want links in my b-log posts to open in new windows, by default.
  • need a soft-wrap tool for unwrapping wrapped (such as emailed) text. I have copied text I've written in emails and pasted into the editor for a post, but found no easy way to "unwrap" the hard-wrapped text from an email. Now I'm having to go through an intermediary local editor to fix this. I'm guessing a lot of people would appreciate some sort of tool for doing this on your site. (Perhaps a draft, once saved, can be "processed" by others scripts from the Write pane of the control panel, then the result shown as a preview, and a button to "accept" the result would update the draft?)
  • using obsolete google analytics code (urchin.js instead of ga.js). Please update.
  • Notify subscribers? Unclear exactly how this works, sitting next to the "Preview" "Save as Draft" and "Publish" buttons. I am assuming it works only on first publish, right? It does not notify anyone when you hit "preview" or "save as draft," and I hope it doesn't notify when you republish an edited post -- I don't want to spam people just because I've corrected a typo. If the user interface was clearer, I wouldn't be wondering.
  • insert Google maps. I would like to be able to use Google Maps in my posts. Your mapping tool is okay, but Google is better. And you can paste urls to include them directly in other web pages... please consider allowing this?
  • export all content as archive for local backup? I want to be able to download a zip of everything I've uploaded and edited on your site. Just the content, of course, not the styling. But package it in a way that I could upload it again in future, say with an xml file describing the locations and metadata with each content object. I like your site and all, but I can't be sure it will still be around in 20 years, and I want my kids to be able to read everything I write.
  • cannot select alignment of images in text, or show captions? Okay, I saw in this forum that there is some control by editing the style sheets. Not great, but at least there's some possibility, so i've moved this to the bottom of the list.

Thanks for your attention to the time I spent making these suggestions.

2. Posted by myrrhlin (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

Oh, I got one more I forgot to mention:

  • Travel Photos: can I view them in alphabetical order?

Thank you.

3. Posted by Peter (Admin 5807 posts) 8y

Hi myrrhlin,

Thanks for taking the time to list these suggestions - they are much appreciated and will certainly be considered. We are currently quite heavily working on the accommodation area of our site, but undoubtedly will get a chance to do some more updating to the blogs at some point. Although some of these are actually pretty easy fixes and so I've gone ahead and tidied them up.

* Preview does not save a draft ?!

Good idea, not sure why we didn't already think of that. Be aware that it does automatically save your entries on a regular interval. But it still wouldn't hurt - will just have to wait till we can allocate some time towards it.

* preview shows edit form again, but the edit box is _much_ narrower

Right you are and I've fixed that. No separate tabs or anything, just properly sized form inputs.

* need a setting to make all links open as a new window (or tab).

I'm not so sure we want to go down this route to be honest - it would mean making the site non-standards-compliant (or using a JS hack to achieve the same thing) And the fact of the matter is that opening links in a new window is a pretty big intrusion into the reader's browsing as it disables the use of their back button in that new window. For people who don't understand where this new window came from, that can be seriously disorientating. We've moved well away from this way of doing things for that reason and I'm not so sure we actually *want* to spend time adding that back in as a *feature*.

# need a soft-wrap tool for unwrapping wrapped (such as emailed) text.

Yep, nice idea. Will have to wait to be tackled though.

# insert Google maps.

Ditto.

# export all content as archive for local backup?

That would indeed be nice and probably should be achieved at some point. In the meanwhile, you can set it to publish a full feed and save the XML generated from that feed. A formatted version, you can use the "Print" link and download a PDF of your entire blog.

# using obsolete google analytics code (urchin.js instead of ga.js). Please update.

Huh, you really got me on this one! I updated that basically the same day that ga.js came out, so am quite bemused that you would be seeing an old version in the code. Where are you seeing this outdated code?

# Notify subscribers? Unclear exactly how this works, sitting next to the "Preview" "Save as Draft" and "Publish" buttons.

Fair point. I've reworded to say "Notify xx Subscribers on First Publish". Hopefully that is clearer.

# cannot select alignment of images in text, or show captions?

Same as with the others really - obviously a popular request and will have to be tackled at some point in the future.

Travel Photos: can I view them in alphabetical order?

I'm assuming you're meaning within the Travellerspoint site, not your blog? But no, it's not possible in any case. Haven't ever really thought of a reason to sort them alphabetically, although now you mention it, it could be handy if they're just named by filename or something similar. Will have to consider whenever we next look at the photography gallery.

4. Posted by myrrhlin (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

Thank you very very much.

I'm not so sure we want to go down this route to be honest - it would mean making the site non-standards-compliant (or using a JS hack to achieve the same thing)

I understand completely.

Huh, you really got me on this one! I updated that basically the same day that ga.js came out, so am quite bemused that you would be seeing an old version in the code. Where are you seeing this outdated code?

I'll take your word for it. I can't remember -- perhaps I saw it on your instructions pages (FAQs)? Maybe that's what needs updating...

I'm assuming you're meaning within the Travellerspoint site, not your blog? But no, it's not possible in any case. Haven't ever really thought of a reason to sort them alphabetically, although now you mention it, it could be handy if they're just named by filename or something similar. Will have to consider whenever we next look at the photography gallery.

Well, if I haven't uploaded photos in chronological order, then the order in which I uploaded them begins to be pretty messy and useless for sorting. And I haven't. The filenames ARE in chronological order though. That's why I want to sort that way! :)

I notice and appreciate that your photo upload code reads timestamps out of the EXIF data... perhaps you can also sort images by (3) date/time, as another alternative to (1) order uploaded (not sorted), (2) alphabetical by filename. That's assuming all images have timestamps, of course...

One more place to look at this is in code for pasting an IMG into a post you're editing. The drop-down menu of the travel photos i've uploaded is in no useful order, either. I wish they were alphabetical. As it is, I keep a copy of every photo i've uploaded in a local folder, and browse those to find the name I want, and then finding it on the drop-down list is getting gradually more time-consuming.

Thanks again.

5. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

I just wanted to zero back in on one of the requests, specifically "export all content as archive for local backup". Peter already mentioned the Print link which is located under the MANAGE tab and that it allows generating a PDF of your blog (or just certain entries). It actually also allows you to generate a HTML version of your blog, albeit not with the same styling as your live version, but with some CSS knowledge you could make it look however you wanted after saving locally :) Once you generate the html version all you would need to do is save it locally and you have a backup.

When generating both you can set a few settings like font size, type, pic for the front page etc. as well.

6. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

Quoting myrrhlin

Preview does not save a draft ?! This is a big one. While editing a post, please make "Preview" button automatically save a draft, before showing you the preview. Rename it "Save and Preview" if you need to.

When reading this I was wondering if you have your Autosave set to 'on'? If you have ever unticked the box that autosaves (right under your new entry), then it remembers this and keeps it switched off until you switch it back on again. With Autosave in place, a draft is saved every 2 minutes of typing (well, not a new one of course, the old ones drafts are just replaced), so that would be the most you could ever lose (regardless of how it happens, ie. harddrive failure, internet going down etc.).

7. Posted by myrrhlin (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

When reading this I was wondering if you have your Autosave set to 'on'?

Well first there's the issue of not having javascript available, which has happened to me. But on my own laptop, with javascript, I've always had the "Automatically Save" set to on.

However, I still managed to lose edits because I assumed Preview would update the saved draft. This was a result of an insidious combination with another point I made above: the Preview page had such a tiny text edit box, I clicked away from the Preview (back twice) to the Control Panel then click Edit to get a valid Edit page again, without the Preview and its tiny box.

After I realized several changes I'd made were not saved, I changed my working pattern to the following painful process: hit "Save Draft", then from the Manage page I hit "Edit" again, then at the bottom I hit "Preview". Then I can click back to a Manage screen and hit Edit yet again, to continue working.

Very happy these issues are fixed (I didn't confirm yet) so I don't have quite as much pain... :)

Thanks for your attention.

8. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

Quoting myrrhlin

Very happy these issues are fixed (I didn't confirm yet) so I don't have quite as much pain... :)

Just wanted to point out that the 'Preview' still doesn't save a Draft copy in case that wasn't clear (wouldn't want you to have more pain with this!). However that issue with the edit form being tiny underneath the Preview is fixed, so you can just edit there and keep hitting Preview to see changes.