Subject: Re: intro + idea for a web enabled Abi
From: Randy Kramer (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jan 24 2002 - 08:23:58 CST
Philippe Jadin wrote:
> I still think it does, but probably I didn't explain clearly enough.
> Look at http://www.ektron.com/ewebeditpro.cfm?doc_id=1841 , for similar
> fucntionality. Here, instead of using java applets, we'd use abiword.
Don't get discouraged. FWIW, I think it makes sense (it's a desirable
goal), and I believe it can be done. That belief is sort of a "fat,
dumb, and happy belief" because I (at this point in time) don't know how
to do it, and am not familiar enough with AbiWord or C++ to help make it
On the other hand, I do a lot of work with TWiki (run a private and
contribute to a few public web sites -- Wikilearn). (TWiki is something
like the thing you described, but uses cgi "technology".) TWiki uses
its own markup language, and adding or editing content is done by typing
into a textarea, similar to what you mention above -- here are just a
few examples of the text markup.
* Mostly, you can type plain plain text into the textarea and it
comes out fine. Skip a line to break a paragraph.
* Make something appear in bold using *bold*, italics using
_italics_, and bold italics using __bold italics__.
* Create a (first level) bullet list item by preceding a paragraph by
three spaces, an asterisk, and a space. (For second level, precede by 6
spaces, and so on -- not sure of the limit -- most I recall using was 9
spaces for third level bullet.)
* Create a numbered list by preceding a paragraph by three spaces, a
numeral, and a space.
* Create an HTML heading by preceding a (preferably short) paragraph
* "---+ " for Level 1 heading (HTML <h1>...</h1>
* "---++ " for Level 2
* and so on, up to at least Level 6
* A Table of Contents is created from the headings by entering %TOC%
(except any set using uppercase HTML tags, like <H3>...</H3>).
* Many "arbitrary" HTML tags can be included, and (see below) are
passed through the "rendering" process.
On "rendering" a page, the markup is converted to HTML and output to the
browser. (They are working to make it XHTML or whatever the right
acronym is -- it may already be there.)
The marked up text is what is stored and edited in the future (not the
"rendered" version with HTML tags).
Editing is normally done in an HTML textarea, but there are four other
* Emacs w3 mode
* An arbitrary external editor from lynx
codes (only tried this once, and don't recall very well)
* I believe they are working on another similar editor popup editor.
(Aside: TWiki also has plugins, including a drawing plugin == sort of a
pop up editor that can edit a drawing and then include it on the Wiki
page. (I'll describe the drawings as "vector type sketches", not
bitmapped, that can be used to create diagrams similar to those that
might be created in Visio or Dia (but maybe not as sophisticated.) I
don't know the details anymore -- I tried it once quite a while ago and
can confirm it works -- several pages on TWiki include drawings created
I'm sure AbiWord could be adapted to do what you describe. (For TWiki,
if Abi can output plain text, it does most of the editing job -- but I'm
sure there are simpler editors around that might be easier to adapt.) I
don't have any real knowledge of the scope involved in adapting AbiWord,
and I don't know much about how to "interface" to the HTML textarea as
you describe in your first post.
On the other hand, I don't know that you'll find an AbiWord developer
interested in trying to make the necessary changes, and it might become
a fork (I'm not suggesting or encouraging a fork, I just recognize that
this is a possibility if someone wants to lead a version of AbiWord in a
direction that the developer's are not interested in). (I am not an
AbiWord developer -- I'm a lurker and wannabee, and I've been trying to
learn C++ (and a bunch of other things (Linux, Perl, HTML, etc.).)
If you are not a C++ programmer / developer, I think you will have to
find some developers interested in the same thing if you really want to
make this happen. I think I'd suggest instead that you find a simpler
editor to start building from.
You might want to look at these pages on TWiki:
You can also find pages talking about Emacs w3 mode and a text editor
from Lynx. (TWiki.org has a search feature, but is also indexed by
Google. Try searches like [site:twiki.org <search keywords>].
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