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  #1  
Old 05-18-2007, 12:55 PM
cnewtonne cnewtonne is online now
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Extended RTF Editing Features... a workaround

Hi all,
I spend 2 days trying to figure out how to be able to use what Kinook terms as 'extended editing features' in UR without the current hassle. I just got tired of having to 'cntrl+j' just to apply a text style or indent a line. I totally believe it is not fair on Kinook's part to suggest to their users to purchase and us MSWord to be able to perform such basic RTF operations. What is even more perplexing, is that the RTF control used does support these features, it is just that Kinook's did not build the interface to them. I have no idea why is this the case. Any how, I can not whine too much because UR remains one of my favorite apps and I do appreciate all the ingenious work behind it. It is just I expect this app to be the best always.

To work around this issue, I was able to come up with a solution that allows me to do the following right in the native text editor ...
- create and apply text syles
- indent in both directions
- insert tables
- do whatever else I like to do that I can do in MSWord.

On the downside, it will cost you some money i.e. $30 to be exact.

This solution is based on the fact that If you paste formatted text in the editor then delete it, the editor will retain the formatting. If you follow that with any typing, the new text will acquire this format. To do this, I wanted a tool that allows me to capture the format, save it, and retrieve it in an efficient way i.e. hotkeys or shortext at most. Once done, the tool needs to be a able to automate some key presses to go back and do some cleaning like backspaces and deletes and so forth.

The only automation tool I found (and I looked at 10 of them), is one called Perfect Keyboard (http://www.pitrinec.com/pkindex.htm ). Simply put, I copied all my header styles, paragraph formats, tables, ...etc. Then created macro that apply them on existing text as well as new blank lines using windows Clipboad calls. It worked flawlessly and I'm happy with it.

If you are fed up and tired of UR RTF restrictions and can not wait till Kinooks come up with a decent RFT alternative in the 21st century, try this trick. If you have questions, just reply and I will be happy to follow up.

Lastly, I would like to appeal to Kinook, please, please, please, put this feature request on top of your list. It is just to much pain to cope with the lack of it. I saw a post on this forum somewhere where you replied that you are working a enchaining RTF editing features in the next release. This post was in 2005. It is 2007 now and the 3rd generation of UR and we still have to use word to indent a line or format text styles.

Please share your thoughts.

Thank you all.
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2007, 01:25 PM
TMF TMF is online now
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Thanks for inspiration.

Did you also try Autoit http://www.autoitscript.com/autoit3/ and Macromaker http://members.ij.net/anthonymathews/MacroMaker.htm ?
Just wondering because if you did and they didn't work, that would save me time exploring them.
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  #3  
Old 05-18-2007, 01:41 PM
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some people on this forum mentioned that they use Macro Express with UR ...
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  #4  
Old 05-18-2007, 01:46 PM
cnewtonne cnewtonne is online now
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Only if they support RTF text via clipboard or natively. Otherwise, you're out of luck. I did not see from my quick check on the web site that they do. AutoIt, however, does support clipboard operations, but you still need to try it. Most of the ones I saw, strip the formatting when they handle the text.
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  #5  
Old 05-18-2007, 01:48 PM
cnewtonne cnewtonne is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by quant
some people on this forum mentioned that they use Macro Express with UR ...
I have ME and I've been using it for over 2 years now. I'm a big fan of this very fine application. However, I sought their support and they did confirm to me that RTF operations are not supported. I tried myself and I could never get it to handle the formatting. It always stripped it.
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  #6  
Old 05-18-2007, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by cnewtonne
I have ME and I've been using it for over 2 years now. I'm a big fan of this very fine application. However, I sought their support and they did confirm to me that RTF operations are not supported. I tried myself and I could never get it to handle the formatting. It always stripped it.
I see, what about using some freeware rft editor for the cases when you need "advanced " editing?
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2007, 02:47 PM
kinook kinook is online now
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A few comments:

1) Some versions of the MS rich edit control (used by UR) do support some extended RTF editing features, but
a) their license precludes us from installing it with UR. We can copy a newer version if found on the system during installation, but the fact that we can't guarantee that the extended functionality will work properly for all users is less than ideal.
b) Different versions of the control have different bugs, requiring some users to not user certain versions of the control (a support headache). Newer versions support more extended features but also seem to have more bugs.
c) MS has never actually documented the control's extended formatting support or provided an API to it, and implementing it requires reverse engineering every extended feature via a back door (as you found, by pasting the magical sequences of RTF codes). Since we don't have a definitive list for #3 below, doing this in a comprehensive and robust fashion is very difficult. It doesn't mean we won't eventually get to it, but it's not trivial.

2) We did look at alternative RTF editor components that were accessible from our programming environment (Visual C++), but all the ones we found were either buggier than the MS one, required significant rewriting to incorporate (completely different API), and/or didn't replace all of the existing rich edit functionality.

3) Exactly what constitutes extended RTF editing seems to vary from person to person. It would be nice to have a detailed, prioritized list of extended RTF features that users need (and documentation/examples on how to actually product them), but each user's list would probably differ.

4) If you could provide whatever details you can on how you accomplished what you have so far (sample macros, steps you followed to divine what these macros should do, a complete list of extended formatting features you require, etc.), it would put us one step closer to implementing enhanced RTF editing within UR (ZIP and send the info to support@kinook.com or post a thread in the User Tips forum for our and other users' benefit).

Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 05-18-2007, 03:21 PM
cnewtonne cnewtonne is online now
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kinook,
I appreciate your attention on this matter.

I still do not understand why is Kinook making this issue sound impossible, buggy, unstable, or even non-trivial. I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree with that. This is why ...

1) In the process of trying to work around this issue, I visited 4 download sites looking for 'rich text editor'. There is a billion of them out there. Personally, I used open office, Atlantis, Abiword, Wordpad, msword for years. None of them was buggy or unstable (other than what you would expect from any software) to the extent that these features were stripped off. Why is UR any different?

2) I recently built a CMS solution for a customer and used TinyMCY and FCKEditor to provide RTF features in a web browser. These 2 controls have features that are advanced like tables, styles, links, highlight (forground/background), spell check and so many others. If technology allows us to provide such features in a web browser, we can't we provide it in a full blown fat client running on windows XP or Vista in year 2007.

3) Most of the vendors in this software category provide it as 'for granted' feature. It has become so expected that it really does not do any good to brag about it. MyTreeDB, MyBase, Treepad and so many others have it at much even cheaper cost of ownership. Why should we lower our expectation using UR at $100 price tag?

4) For my own usage, this the minimal I expect as far RTF features (in addition to what we currently have in UR)...

- create and apply text styles. Just allow me at least to do 10 of them and I'm happy.

- Indent lines both directions.

- Modify line spacing. I just could not believe it when you suggested to some of your users that they have to copy their content to some other app, adjust spacing, then put it back in UR. This is just not acceptable.

I really can not offer any more compromises or lower my expectation any more. This is the bare minimum I use on a daily basis.

I do realize more can be offered but I will not ask for it. I did not mention native table support even though others provide it. I can live without it for now.

For some reason, Kinook can not get past this RTF issue. I do not see it mentioned in any of the app I have and all do support it. From PIMs, to clipboard extenders, to IDE's, to web editors, to web publishing tools, to automation utilities, to simple note taking apps, to even Wordpad. None of them has issues with it. Why is Kinook so stuck on it?

Finally, please remember that all my comments and contributions on this forum are ALL within the context of my admiration and respect to you. However, things won't change till you hear from your users.

Thanks again
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  #9  
Old 05-18-2007, 04:03 PM
kinook kinook is online now
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Unfortunately, we can't use just any application that has a rich text editor--it must be available as a component that can be plugged into and installed with our app and accessible via a programming API. Other than WordPad (which uses the same underlying component as UR), the others you mentioned are applications which implement a rich text editor internally (and is not available as a component).

What do you mean by 'apply text styles' (something other than Item | Format | Font?), and how do you access it in WordPad? And how is_line spacing modified in WordPad? WordPad also uses the MS rich edit control and this information might shed some light on our situation. Thanks.
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  #10  
Old 05-18-2007, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kinook
Unfortunately, we can't use just any application that has a rich text editor--it must be available as a component that can be plugged into and installed with our app and accessible via a programming API. Other than WordPad (which uses the same underlying component as UR), the others you mentioned are applications which implement a rich text editor internally (and is not available as a component).
I suppose cnewtonne suggests that you build you own rtf editor it other billion could do it, to which I agree if there is no other option. Couldn't you look at and use some parts of the code where rft editor is implemented? I don't know how are the licensing issues, I suppose there are many rft editors at sourceforge, where you can download the whole code and see how the shuff is done, if not directly use parts of the code. Say Abiword, the whole SDK can be downloaded here http://sourceforge.net/project/showf...group_id=15518
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  #11  
Old 05-18-2007, 06:40 PM
janrif janrif is offline
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Jarte -- a pretty talented RTF editor -- is based on Wordpad I believe. http://www.jarte.com/
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  #12  
Old 05-19-2007, 12:35 AM
cnewtonne cnewtonne is online now
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Ok. Let tackle it one by one ...
"...we can't use just any application that has a rich text editoR...". I realize that, but my point was if all these apps and there are lot were successful in implementing RTF features as evidenced by my own use for years, why is difficult for UR to do the same?

"...What do you mean by 'apply text styles...". This is the ability to save MULTIPLE format attributes of a text (not text) and apply them on an other selection. This includes font size, color, indentation, bullets, ..etc. This saves you from having to reapply all these attributes individually.

"...and how do you access it in WordPad?..." It is funny how some one mentioned Jarta. I mentioned this part because Jarta was built using same engine of Wordpad. This is an excerpt from the web site ...
...
At the heart of Jarte sits the same word processing engine used by Windows' WordPad. The difference is that Jarte builds far more capability around the WordPad editing engine than the WordPad program itself does. The significance of this fact is that Jarte users are secure in the knowledge that Jarte is making use of the same reliable, time tested editing engine used by millions of other Windows users all over the world. If you have tried other alternative word processors and found them to be unstable that may be in part due to their use of unreliable, home grown editing engines.

Microsoft is continually upgrading the WordPad editing engine, although you would never know it by examining WordPad. The WordPad program itself has not changed since it was first introduced. Jarte, on the other hand, continues to evolve and take advantage of useful features as Microsoft adds them to the WordPad editing engine.
...

Yet, Jarta provide so many features on top some which are ...

Format brush tool quickly applies formatting to paragraphs

Optional paragraph spacing before and after paragraphs

Paragraph indentation including first line and hanging indent styles

See here for complete list http://www.jarte.com/features.html
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  #13  
Old 05-19-2007, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by cnewtonne
Yet, Jarta provide so many features on top some which are ...
See here for complete list http://www.jarte.com/features.html
uff, that's an ugly interface, like in the old Win 3.1 age ...
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  #14  
Old 05-19-2007, 08:16 AM
cnewtonne cnewtonne is online now
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Kinook,
I believe this discussion can lead to some good results. From what I have seen so far, I think we can get UR to provide support to these editing features. To be productive and focused, I would like, first, to propose a list of features to add so we can all agree on. Once we do, I think we can work together to implement it.

So, this is the list (to recap) ...
1- Create and apply text styles.
2- Change line spacing.
3- Allow multi-level indentation.
4- Pick up formatting: pick format attributes of existing selection and apply it on target one.

So to move forward on this, I did some research on the available API docs for RICHED20.DLL and it looks like all these features are already supported and they DO have the APIs to do them. Here are some details ...

Reference available here http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...itcontrols.asp

Format syltes (available as of version 3)
-------------------------------------------------------
Normal and heading styles Built-in normal style and heading styles 1 through 9 are supported by the EM_SETPARAFORMAT and Text Object Model (TOM) interfaces.

Format painter (RTF 4)
-------------------------------------------------------
- You can apply paragraph formatting by using the EM_SETPARAFORMAT message. To determine the current paragraph formatting for the selected text, use the EM_GETPARAFORMAT message. The PARAFORMAT or PARAFORMAT2 structure is used with both messages to specify paragraph formatting attributes.

- You can apply character formatting by using the EM_SETCHARFORMAT message. To determine the current character formatting for the selected text, you can use the EM_GETCHARFORMAT message. The CHARFORMAT or CHARFORMAT2 structure is used with both messages to specify character attributes.

- You can also use EM_SETCHARFORMAT and EM_GETCHARFORMAT messages to set and retrieve the character formatting of the insertion point, which is the formatting applied to any subsequently inserted characters. For example, if an application sets the default character formatting to bold and the user then types a character, that character is bold.

- The character formatting of the insertion point is applied to newly inserted text only if the current selection is empty (if the current selection is an insertion point). Otherwise, the new text assumes the character formatting of the text it replaces. If the selection changes, the default character formatting changes to match the first character in the new selection.

Default shorcuts
-------------------------------------------------------
I was kind of surprised to know that this control supported a default set of shortcuts. I tested most of them and they work just fine in Wordpad. For example, 'cntrl+1|2' in Wordpad will change line spacing. Also, 'cntrl+=' will apply superscript format. The least you can do is to allow users to use them in UR. Why override them and delete an entire functionality out of UR. If the control supports 'cntrl+1|2' for line spacing, why are you asking users to copy/paste their content to an external app to do it.
Here is the full list of shortcuts http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...itcontrols.asp

Kinook,
As a deliverable out of this discussion, can we proceed with these steps ...

- Can we first of all agree on this list of editing features.
- If we can, can we get a commitment from you to escalate this issue on top of your feature list for next maintenance release.

Whatever this might end up being, please do not give up on us and just ignore it. It can be done, you do have the expertise to do it, and we will do whatever it takes to support you doing it. So, again, do not give up on us.

Thank you again.
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  #15  
Old 05-19-2007, 08:28 AM
janrif janrif is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by quant
uff, that's an ugly interface, like in the old Win 3.1 age ...
Perhaps so but the point of mentioning Jarte was/is that it has a lot of functions built on top of Wordpad

Quoting Kinook on the subject of Wordpad:
|---------------------------[ Start ] -------------------------|
Other than WordPad (which uses the same underlying component as UR), the others you mentioned are applications which implement a rich text editor internally (and is not available as a component).
|--------------------------- [ End ] --------------------------|

If Kinook decides to improve UR' RTF editor, then here is an example of one that works based on a component that is already compatible with UR.
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