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• CommentRowNumber1.
• CommentAuthorAli Caglayan
• CommentTimeSep 18th 2018
Can we have tab insert 2 or 4 spaces into the text box when pressed instead of selecting the next item on the webpage which is the default behaviour? I am doing this on Chrome. I will also add this to the technical matters page.
• CommentRowNumber2.
• CommentAuthorMike Shulman
• CommentTimeSep 18th 2018

I would rather that tab continue to behave like it always does on web pages. I find it annoying when web sites hijack the way I expect a web browser to behave.

• CommentRowNumber3.
• CommentAuthorAli Caglayan
• CommentTimeSep 19th 2018
If we can change the visual style of the nlab why not make this a "style" option too?
1. Yes, I think it is reasonable to allow this as an option, one way or another.

Ideally I would like to improve the text editor a lot. For example, I personally would like to be able to use Vim keybindings. Not quite sure at the moment how best to achieve this.

• CommentRowNumber5.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeSep 19th 2018
• (edited Sep 19th 2018)

Hi Richard,

your dramatic improvements of the $n$Lab in recent months have the effect that we all begin to voice more and more wishes for what further improvements one could dream of. I am enjoying that. But, since you are finite, and while we are still waiting for more people, like Jake, to lend a hand, I’d like to suggest that before you invest energy into features that would be nice conveniences for $n$Lab authors, but mere conveniences nonetheless, we try to first get rid of remaining bugs that effect specifically the $n$Lab readers.

In other words, if or when you have a minute to make the tocs and refs in the geometry of physics-series re-appear, I’d be very happy, and all the readers of these pages will appreciate it, too! :-) Thanks!!

• CommentRowNumber6.
• CommentAuthorRichard Williamson
• CommentTimeSep 19th 2018
• (edited Sep 19th 2018)

Hi Urs, I 100% agree, I always prioritise fixing of significant bugs. Just not had the opportunity for a week or two, apart from setting up the SQL dump stuff so that Jake could get started, which I felt was very important, because there is not an abundance of people willing to get involved. The bug you mention is top of my list :-).

• CommentRowNumber7.
• CommentAuthorMike Shulman
• CommentTimeSep 19th 2018

I wouldn’t put lots of effort into creating a text editor inside a web page. If you want a good text editor, use a real one! I’ve never used any editor inside a web page that was half as good as simply copying the text into Emacs (or Vim or whatever, YMMV) and editing it there. (In the past there have been browser extensions that can do this automatically; I’m not sure of their current status, but even just copy-paste is only a few keystrokes.) As a bonus, that way your work will be saved locally even if something goes terribly wrong with the webform.

• CommentRowNumber8.
• CommentAuthorRichard Williamson
• CommentTimeSep 19th 2018
• (edited Sep 19th 2018)

Absolutely! My thinking was more whether there is some way to launch or embed vim, say, if one wished to do so, for the convenience of it (and drafts could be saved on the server, maybe appropriate macros could be defined, etc; also the textbox does have functionality limitations, which Urs has run into when the content is very large). But clearly it’s not remotely a priority, just thought I’d mention it whilst we were on the topic. :-)

• CommentRowNumber9.
• CommentAuthorMike Shulman
• CommentTimeSep 20th 2018

One potentially nice way to interact with external editors would be to create an API that they could call for editing and saving pages. Then anyone who wants to could write a plugin for their favorite editor that would call out to the nLab server for a page to edit, load the page text in a buffer, and save it to the server when an appropriate command is given; no browser required. I’d be happy to write such a plugin for Emacs; I’m sure a Vim expert could do the same for Vim.

2. Good point! Yes, one of the main things I’m aiming for in the medium term is to separate the backend and frontend components of the nLab, so that the backend APIs can be called from any number of frontends. We will have one or more ’default’ frontend that we host, of course, but what you describe would be another good example. I believe that Ingo made something along these lines once, if perhaps not quite as ambitious.

On the other hand, just a few basic Vim commands in the text editor would improve the experience immensely for some (and of course one could have Emacs or any other keybindings as well), so it could be reasonable to have an option to switch those on. The idea would be to make things very modular, so that if somebody is motivated to add their favourite vim or emacs command, they can just make a pull request and do so, without worrying about the rest of the nLab code.

• CommentRowNumber11.
• CommentAuthorAlexisHazell
• CommentTimeSep 20th 2018

Re. #7,

In the past there have been browser extensions that can do this automatically; I’m not sure of their current status

i currently use GhostText, which works in both Firefox and Chrom[e|ium], with a variety of editors.

• CommentRowNumber12.
• CommentAuthorMike Shulman
• CommentTimeSep 20th 2018

In general I’ve found in-browser editors that offer “Emacs keybindings” to be more frustrating than not, since once my fingers think they are in “Emacs mode” I eventually find myself typing Control-W to kill a piece of text and end up closing the browser tab. d-:

• CommentRowNumber13.
• CommentAuthorMike Shulman
• CommentTimeOct 28th 2018

i currently use GhostText, which works in both Firefox and Chrom[e|ium], with a variety of editors.

I have tried GhostText in Firefox (with Emacs atomic-chrome, which seems to be the recommended way to connect it to Emacs), and found it to be terribly unpredictable. Sometimes it works fine, but other times the connection completely fails and every time I switch from my editor back to the browser all my changes are lost with no apparent way to recover them.