The editor is going pretty well, and the customers have been asking about displaying the article in its final form. After some reading and some experimentation, we have something working. Is this a triumph of the process, am I really clever, or was I just lucky?
The current process for writing and displaying an article goes like this:
Type the article into the XML Notepad or some other editor.
Run the article generation process. This is a fairly complex job stream now: it generates the article using XSLT, scans all the articles for indexing information, sorts it down, generates the index, scans for books reviewed, generates the book list, and so on.
Open a Web browser.
Navigate to the XP Web site debug location (the index HTML for the site).
Click the new article s reference in the index.
View the article.
On subsequent edits, it s not so bad. But you still have to run the article generation process. Then you just switch to the Web browser and refresh to see the updated article. The easiest way to run the process is to use the macros and accelerator keys I ve built in TextPad. Even then it takes over 30 seconds to see the result.
The fact that most of the process involves TextPad macros means that it s actually inconvenient to use the XML Notepad, even though it is already more help for editing. The result is that the customer (me) isn t using the tool that he has asked for and received. Seeing the result as I go is pretty important to me, so I suffer somewhat more difficult editing to make the overall process less awkward . This is probably not a good tradeoff , frankly, but it s one of the obstacles that a new product like the XML Notepad has to overcome : the inertia of the user base (me).
It s not really important that the whole site get regenerated on every one of these quick looks ”in fact, it s a disadvantage . I could probably write a new script and macro that would just update the article, but that would be a hassle and wouldn t really advance my Web site, this book, or the XML Notepad product s chances in the market (me).
The result is that I ve been wondering how to get a quick view of the article in finished form, so as to see how I m doing. We ve had that as part of the vision all along. Remember how, way back in the beginning, our vision stories called for a WYSIWYG editor and the programmers talked the customers into holding off on that. Now the pressure for that story is increasing.