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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorBruce
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2009
    I was always quite frustrated with the small textarea for the "Edit page" in Instiki. So I've made a Stylish extension for Firefox, which makes this textarea bigger. It can be installed at this page.

    It would be nice to put this into the CSS for Instiki, except I needed to adjust the "id=content" div, and one only wants to do it on the edit pages, not on all pages (otherwise you'd get wide text on all pages, which is probably not desirable). In Stylish you can select the "edit" pages by stipulating that the theme only applies to url's with /edit in their title. Does anyone know of a workaround to this?

    There are a few other things I find frustrating too. I'd like to be able to adjust that sidebar, to remind us of how to insert query boxes, etc.

    Any thoughts on customizing the nLab?
    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2009

    I always do my editing in an external editor (Emacs in my case) using this firefox extension. (There are also other similar extensions.) I have Emacs configured to edit such buffers in latex mode, with a few appropriate modifications and a key-command to automatically insert a query-box; I can share them if anyone is interested.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorBruce
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2009
    Hi Mike, hey that's pretty cool. Just installed that plug-in. Bye bye to draconian textareas!
    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2009
    Web pages should never set the width of the main content. Sidebars OK, but main content never. This includes edit boxes when those are the main content.

    Of course, one should rarely say never, and there's probably an exception, but I haven't seen it.

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2009

    That's not obvious to me, Toby. Isn't text easier to read in paragraphs of limited width, since your eye doesn't have to travel so far horizontally between lines, hence has less risk of getting lost? I thought that was one reason the default TeX margins are so big.

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2009
    This comment is invalid XHTML+MathML+SVG; displaying source. <div> The default TeX margins aren't particularly big. I suppose that you meant the default LaTeX article class margins; these are big so that the text width matches normal widths of journal articles but standard paper can be used for printing. (It reminds me of galley proofs of books, but this may be unintentional.) But journal page widths are smaller than letter or A4 paper for the reason that you cite: it's easier to read that way; so I don't dispute that fact.<p>So what do you do if the main content on a web page is not conveniently set to a fixed width? Well, you adjust your browser window, of course; easy!<p>And what do you do if some dang fool sets the main content to a fixed width that is smaller than what you'd like? Then you're in trouble; you have to figure out how they did this with CSS (or worse, without CSS) and fix that; very annoying, not particularly simple.<p>(Of course, fixed <em>minimum</em> width is <em>really</em> bad.)</p></p></p> </div>
    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2009

    I would much rather not have to be continually changing the width of my browser window when I view different web sites. Especially since I usually have lots of tabs open in one window and switch between them frequently. I've never run across a site that had the main content width set so narrow that it bothered me.

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2009
    This comment is invalid XHTML+MathML+SVG; displaying source. <div> <blockquote>I've never run across a site that had the main content width set so narrow that it bothered me.</blockquote> That's the difference between you and me, I guess.<p>Incidentally, when I first wrote ‘Web pages should never set the width of the main content.’, I thought that I remembered some arguments from places like the W3C and Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox to back me up, but it turns out that they were only complaining about <em>minimum</em> widths. So while I still find maximum widths more annoying than useful, I am more alone in this than I thought (except for TEXTAREAs, I guess).</p> </div>
    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2009

    In an ideal world, the web page would set a suggested width which the user could easily override. But since we don't live in an ideal world, and I think few people would end up doing much overriding even in an ideal world, I think it's okay for web pages to set widths in a way that's not easy to override.

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2009
    Of course, you only think that because you've never run across a site that had the main content width set so narrow that it bothered you. That said, it should probably count as easy to override if it's done properly with CSS, which puts it on the browser to make it easy to override (say with Stylish or some even more user-friendly CSS-management tool).
    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2009

    Mike wrote (presumably in Emacs):

    I always do my editing in an external editor (Emacs in my case) using this firefox extension. (There are also other similar extensions.) I have Emacs configured to edit such buffers in latex mode, with a few appropriate modifications and a key-command to automatically insert a query-box; I can share them if anyone is interested.

    Thanks for the information on this! Just installed and used it to edit an n-lab entry and the whole thing was much easier (partly because when editing a textbox in firefox I keep hitting my emacs shortcut keys by mistake so by the time I'm done I have about 56 new windows and have loaded about 103 websites). Please do share your modifications. I don't know if here is appropriate (start a new thread if you do) but if it doesn't easily paste into a comment here, either email it to me or n-lab it.

    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2009

    I put it at the HowTo.

    • CommentRowNumber13.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2009

    Back to the stylish thingy that Bruce wrote. Here's an idea for you: can you design it to make proofs expandable? That is, each proof is originally collapsed but has an "expand" button that can be clicked to show it (and afterwards collapse it again). This is the sort of thing that sounds more javascripty than CSS, and also probably not many people would want it so we wouldn't want to install it on the lab itself, but might be a useful feature to make available.