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Forum editor is truly horrible RRS feed

  • Question

  • </vent on>

    The Forum editor is awful. Using IE9, which I (naïvely?) assume should be well supported by a Microsoft forum (though I recall that IE8 behaved about the same), the Forum often...

    * changes font magically,

    * "disappears" a line I've typed

    * adds giant jumps of whitespace (two, three, four blank "lines" - but they're not lines, the cursor skips right over them, forwards and backwards)

    * double-spaces all pasted text

    * loses formatting, particularly leading whitespace on lines, when pasting

    * treats the PgUp or PgDn keys as though the mouse had been clicked outside of the editing window (cursor position is lost; display window with the currently-being-edited body of text re-sets) - or maybe it's just that PgDn moves the cursor without having the display window track it?  I don't know.

     

    With all of the highly competent online forum post editors out there, why does the Microsoft Forum use its own broken, less capable editor anyway?

    </vent off>

     

    Friday, July 1, 2011 1:43 PM

Answers

  • Jay,

    Can you point me to a better forums post editor that supports all our languages (see locale picker in the upper right) and handles code formatting (another one of our requirements)? 

    We're not against switching editors if we can find one that we can use. btw, your posts in this thread seem formatted ok, can you point me to some that you have had problems with? What application are you 'pasting' content from? One issue around double spacing is that the editor does preserve paragraph tags, which (depending on the source editor being used) may be single spaced looking in the source editor but more space (a paragraph) in this editor.


    Community Forums Program Manager
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 6:57 PM
    Answerer
  • I was going to complain about the editor, but it seems to have gotten a lot better lately.  The code insertion function works much better, and it doesn't mess the formatting up when you edit a post with code in, which it used to do.
    If you found this post helpful, please give it a "Helpful" vote. If it answered your question, remember to mark it as an "Answer".
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 5:09 PM
  • Great to hear bigteddy, we are continuing to fix bugs related to the editor and continue to consider other editors that people thing are better or directions we should be considering. Thanks for the note.
    Community Forums Program Manager
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 6:12 PM
    Answerer

All replies

  • The Forum editor is awful.


    At least it still has an HTML button which you can use to help fix its mistakes if you can't figure out how to work around them using just its Edit pane.   And there's a Path: status message at the bottom to help clue you while you're doing that.   The Answers 2.0 forum has neither of those aids but is just as bad and makes more changes after your Submit which might force you to go back and try to work around them in an Edit.   I would love to have this editor back in Answers 2.0.  Looks like it was considered too advanced for the masses.

     

    ---

    Friday, July 1, 2011 2:43 PM
  • I gave up on the "Insert Code Block" feature months ago, because it removes white space, blank lines, and identing, and uses a proportional font. If you don't use "Insert Code Block" and simply paste into your message, it's even worse, with lots of double spacing. I use the "Edit HTML Source" feature now for all code snippets/examples in my posts. I even coded a script that converts my code (saved in a text file) into HTML that I can paste into the "Edit HTML Source" window. I use it all the time. The HTML is not legible, but after I submit, it looks exactly like I intend. Occasionally I'll edit a post using "Edit HTML Source", but it's not easy. If anyone is interested, here is the VBScript program I use to convert any text file into HTML for the Microsoft forums.

    http://www.rlmueller.net/ConvertCodeToHTML.htm

     

     


    Richard Mueller - MVP Directory Services
    Friday, July 1, 2011 4:19 PM
    Moderator
  • I have to amplify my first posting. Just now, it took me far longer to work my way through the %$#%#$%#$% forum post editor than to gather the data for and formulate the post itself.

    Totally unacceptable!

    Microsoft, fix this worse-than-bad forum technology! It's so painful and inefficient to use, that it truly makes me hesitate to participate!

    -Jay

     

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 7:06 AM
  • Jay,

    Can you point me to a better forums post editor that supports all our languages (see locale picker in the upper right) and handles code formatting (another one of our requirements)? 

    We're not against switching editors if we can find one that we can use. btw, your posts in this thread seem formatted ok, can you point me to some that you have had problems with? What application are you 'pasting' content from? One issue around double spacing is that the editor does preserve paragraph tags, which (depending on the source editor being used) may be single spaced looking in the source editor but more space (a paragraph) in this editor.


    Community Forums Program Manager
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 6:57 PM
    Answerer
  • The forum editor can get stuck on hidden pasted fields so that the arrow keys will not move the cursor beyond a particular point. The mouse must be used, with no ability to see why, or to correct, the issue.

    The forum editor took a paste from an HTML document and, apparently (again, invisible) included a large amount of non-displaying content, because when I attempted to submit the post, the editor refused on the grounds that it exceeded 60,000 characters (which it patently did not, except for the aforementioned invisible stuff).

    The forum editor has a truly nasty habit (IE9, Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit) of taking 'Enter' as meaning ADD a newline AFTER the current point, but DO NOT advance the cursor. Quite ridiculous.

    See Richard's post above about how effective the source code posted is. See also the 'Geshi' extension to Mediawiki for a source code highlighter (I don't know if that's what you're looking for). Note also that in the non-programming forums, source code posting is not critical, whereas general usability is always critical.

    There's more, but I can't think of it at the moment.

    -Jay

     

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 9:02 PM
  • The forum editor can get stuck on hidden pasted fields so that the arrow keys will not move the cursor beyond a particular point. The mouse must be used, with no ability to see why, or to correct, the issue.
    I don't understand exactly what is meant by 'hidden pasted fields'. Can you explain exactly what you are doing to reproduce this? Thanks
    The forum editor took a paste from an HTML document and, apparently (again, invisible) included a large amount of non-displaying content, because when I attempted to submit the post, the editor refused on the grounds that it exceeded 60,000 characters (which it patently did not, except for the aforementioned invisible stuff).
    The character count includes html markup, not invisible characters.
    The forum editor has a truly nasty habit (IE9, Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit) of taking 'Enter' as meaning ADD a newline AFTER the current point, but DO NOT advance the cursor. Quite ridiculous.
    I'm not able to reproduce this. ENTER adds a paragraph anchoring the cursor at the next line (for me). I'm also using IE9 Win7...
    See Richard's post above about how effective the source code posted is. See also the 'Geshi' extension to Mediawiki for a source code highlighter (I don't know if that's what you're looking for). Note also that in the non-programming forums, source code posting is not critical, whereas general usability is always critical.
    I'm not looking for a source code "highlighter". Above I was asking if you are aware of editors you would recommend we take a look at that perhaps works much better. We could evaluate those and see if it is possible to adopt them. I realize source code isn't important to all user types.

    Community Forums Program Manager
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 11:34 PM
    Answerer
  • I was going to complain about the editor, but it seems to have gotten a lot better lately.  The code insertion function works much better, and it doesn't mess the formatting up when you edit a post with code in, which it used to do.
    If you found this post helpful, please give it a "Helpful" vote. If it answered your question, remember to mark it as an "Answer".
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 5:09 PM
  • Great to hear bigteddy, we are continuing to fix bugs related to the editor and continue to consider other editors that people thing are better or directions we should be considering. Thanks for the note.
    Community Forums Program Manager
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 6:12 PM
    Answerer
  • </still venting>

    So, today I went to post a simple item in the Outlook 2010 forum. No code samples, no complex formatting. I had created the text within the Microsoft Product Feedback form for Outlook 2010 (in an Internet Explorer 9 window), but as the product feedback form has a(n undisclosedly) short length limit, I couldn't submit it there, so I copied my text and pasted it in to a Wordpad window, and opened up the Partner forums to post here instead.

    I pasted from the Wordpad window into this forum editor.  I tried to press Page-Up to scroll through to make sure it had pasted cleanly.  The cursor did not move.  I tried the arrow keys.  The cursor did not move.  I scrolled with the mouse on the vertical scrollbar and all looked well, so I hit Submit. The forum page popped up the IE "Are you sure you want to leave this page?" prompt, which was quite unusual. As I had my original text still in the Wordpad window, I clicked "yes", and then the forum editor told me that my text length must be between 4 and 60000 characters. Most odd. Clearly the text was between 4 and 60000 characters.

    So, I copied from the Wordpad window into a Notepad window, cleared and re-pasted in the forum editor, and hit submit. This time it took just fine.

    Microsoft, seriously, this is high quality, usable, giving meaningful feedback and actionable error messages? No, the forum editor remains truly horrible.

     

    Sunday, December 4, 2011 8:58 AM